That Mitt Romney’s shaky credentials, inexcusable demeanour and political acumen are rather less than presidential has become painfully obvious even to his own rightwing base. His defiant secrecy over his tax returns and his involvement in Bain has made voters suspicious, while his contrived aw-shucks efforts to appeal to the ordinary American have backfired, leaving him looking even more plastic and out of touch than ever.
His multitude of embarrassing overseas gaffes has left voters wondering how well he can handle international diplomacy. Romney’s deceptive attack ads, his recurring flip-flops, his failure to stand up for the rights of Americans who happen to be women, gay, elderly, poor or even middle class is turning many voters off.
But it’s his intransigent, inexplicable vagueness that really has the right wing pulling out their hair. Romney and his advisers are almost pathologically averse to divulging tangible specifics that might give an opponent a basis on which to attack him. This arrogant “just shut up and trust us, and we’ll tell you what our secret plans are after the election” approach isn’t really resulting in a surge of voter enthusiasm or confidence. Even with Republican effort to rig the election, both by disenfranchising voters as well as delegates to their own convention, conservatives seem increasingly resigned to the likely possibility that their candidate will lose this election.
Conservative columnist John Podhoretz of the New York Post reproached Romney for his lack of policy agendas. Romney’s strategy of saying nothing that might offend the minority of uncommitted and independent voters means he’s saying nothing, period. Despite his quite laughable claim that Obama has the advantage of “a lapdog media,” Podhoretz practically begs Romney to supplement the “sugar rush” of spirited speeches, potent soundbites, or a lively interview with “more substantive nutrition in the form of substantive policy addresses, position papers, etc.”