Sunday night, Politico published this article, full of anonymous sources and backstabbing kind of quotes pointing fingers at staffers in the campaign as being responsible for its full-tilt implosion.
All of it is a distraction intended to yank attention away from the fact that the third poll has come out showing President Obama pulling away from Romney and solidifying his lead, particularly in the swing states.
The Romney campaign, eager to snatch news cycles with any news, good or bad, appears to have opted for the "everyone is fighting with everyone else inside the campaign" narrative, with Stuart Stevens being the named staffer appointed to fall upon the pre-appointed sword.
Despite the obvious attempt to distract people from Romney's abysmal performance, there are some basic truths that emerge, like this:
As mishaps have piled up, Stevens has taken the brunt of the blame for an unwieldy campaign structure that, as the joke goes among frustrated Republicans, badly needs a consultant from Bain & Co. to straighten it out.
“You design a campaign to reinforce the guy that you’ve got,” said a longtime Romney friend. “The campaign has utterly failed to switch from a primary mind-set to a general-election mind-set, and did not come up with a compelling, policy-backed argument for credible change.”
To pin recent stumbles on Stevens would be to overlook Romney’s role in all this. As the man atop the enterprise — in effect, the CEO of a $1 billion start-up — Romney ultimately bears responsibility for the decisions he personally oversaw, such as the muffling of running mate Paul Ryan’s strict budget message and his own convention performance.
Sure, they can throw his staff under the bus. But look at what's really happening here. You have a campaign that's imploding because the guy in charge isn't holding up under pressure, and has made some really stupid decisions.
That's all you need to take away from it. Not worth a lot of attention, but that one point is worth reinforcing.