Trying to make sense of the trending in national polls throughout this presidential election cycle has been a painstaking task. While most Americans who’ve been polled consistently cite the economy as their most important issue, it seems that the worse the country’s economic numbers get, the stronger President Obama fares against Mitt Romney.
The only explanation that observers can come up with is that Mitt Romney has been so effectively slandered by the personal attacks against him, that the majority of the electorate would rather re-elect a failed leader who they personally like over a competent leader who they’ve been told is an insensitive creep.
Political analysts and campaigns have long concluded that negative advertising and personal attacks are quite effective, and there may be no better example of that than what we’re seeing right now in the 2012 presidential campaign. The Democrats have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can pound home outrageous narratives that their opponent is a tax cheat, a felon, a chauvinist, a racist, and even a murderer… and actually have them work!
Now, I’m not saying that the public is buying into each and every one of these charges, but when that’s all they continually hear about Mitt Romney, the indictment certainly takes a toll. Most voters simply aren’t engaged enough in the political process to know what’s real and what isn’t, and they’re too lazy to research the truth. They just absorb whatever messaging trickles down through the filters of their everyday lives, and the most provocative stuff is what sticks in their minds.
I’d suggest that Mitt Romney and the Republican party take off the gloves and fight fire with fire if they want to stay in this race, but the reality is that they could simply never emulate what the Democrats have done. There are two specific reasons for this:
First of all, the media would never shrug off false Republican charges or rationalize them as “just politics” the way they do for the Democrats. If ANY Republican or conservative group ever put out an ad stating that President Obama killed a woman, the media would be in an absolute uproar. They would be hounding Mitt Romney and members of his campaign day and night, demanding that they forcefully condemn the ad.
One only has to go back a few months to recall how many prominent Republicans (including Mitt Romney) were called upon by reporters to denounce Rush Limbaugh for his derogatory comments against Sandra Fluke. They did the same thing when Donald Trump was fueling the Birther movement. In both of those cases, the media was incensed over a guy who was acting like a jerk, and they demanded accountability from the Republican party. But when President Obama’s super PAC (the one that he has endorsed and directed his donors to) accuses Mitt Romney of murder, the outrage just isn’t there.
Secondly, prominent Republican leaders don’t have the same willingness as prominent Democrats have to self-mutilate in the interest of their party.
You have Stephanie Cutter (Obama’s deputy campaign manager) calling Mitt Romney a felon. You have Harry Reid (the majority leader of the U.S. Senate) calling Mitt Romney a tax cheat. You have Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the head of the DNC) telling people that Mitt Romney wants to kick elderly people to the curb and keep women from obtaining contraceptives. You have Howard Dean (former head of the DNC) likening Mitt Romney to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You have Bill Burton (former Obama spokesman and current head of the Priorities USA super PAC) accusing Mitt Romney of murder. It goes on and on and on.
For whatever reason, there is a staggering surplus of high-profile Democrats who freely stake their names and reputations on spreading incendiary, untruthful garbage for the sole purpose of keeping their political party in power. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t Republicans who are far too comfortable spreading untruths and half-truths. Both parties play that game. But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone of significance in the Republican party who would falsely accuse political foes of committing felonies and carrying out crimes against humanity.
To add insult to injury, all of this inflammatory campaign rhetoric coming from the Democratic party is a double-edged sword for the Romney campaign. Whether the media is broadcasting or responding to the wild vitriol, it’s the vitriol itself that is hogging the news cycles and distracting the public from the serious issues that require a national debate. The result is Mitt Romney’s message getting lost in the static.
The unfortunate reality is that ANY distraction from the abysmal state of the Obama economy is helpful to the president’s re-election bid, even when that distraction exposes the appalling shamelessness and masochistic behavior of his surrogates.
President Obama clearly enjoys having a large fleet of supporters ready and willing to light their hair on fire and run around screaming hysterically if it helps his cause. Sadly, that’s exactly what their atrocious conduct does.