Monday, April 16, 2012

Why the Hilary Rosen Scandal Means Romney is Screwed

By now everyone should be pretty familiar with the Hilary Rosen scandal.  A Democratic commentator said that stay at home mom Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life."  While maybe not the biggest scandal in the world, it was pretty much exactly what Mitt Romney needed.  It was an attack on his far more human half humanizing him, it was the type of story that would appeal to the socially conservative base of his Party that he's still trying to woo, and it gave him a potential in with women who he's down in the polls against Obama with by 20 points.  Now it's true that because Rosen doesn't work for the President or his campaign meant that this story probably wouldn't last until the Fall, but immediately following Santorum's exit from the race it was perfect for the first few weeks of Romney's shift into general election mode.  And it took two days for this video to surface:

“I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

That video is from three months ago.  And you're going to see it a couple dozen times in the next few weeks.  Now the far Right is going to keep harping on Rosen, but the media narrative is already shifting back to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party once again being anti-woman.  Two days for a perfectly good line of attack to backfire on Romney because of video of something he'd said in the past, and I'm pretty sure it only took that long because the weekend got in the way.

And that's a serious problem for him.  President Obama is a notoriously tight campaigner who doesn't really make gaffes.  So Romney is likely only to get opportunities like this, a random Democrat saying something stupid or if he's lucky maybe a campaign surrogate.  And just when the story starts gaining some steam, video of Romney saying something counter to his current position is going to surface.  It doesn't even really matter what the issue is, between trying to run to the left of Ted Kennedy for Senate, as a moderate for Governor, and trying to woo the Tea Party in his run for President, Romney has pretty much taken every position on every issue.  And that's before you get to his increasing tendency to make gaffes (see for example, a few weeks ago with Obama's hot mic moment: just as it was starting to gain some steam, Romney said that he should release transcripts of all private conversations with all foreign leaders and the story became about Romney's lack of foreign policy experience).  And Romney's own campaign provided the perfect term for it: an Etch-A-Sketch moment.

Romney's got an uphill battle for the general election, and if his attacks keep backfiring on him it's going to be impossible.

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