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The Two Major Views About Why Romney is Losing, and Why the Second is More Convincing

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I've spent the past few days debating right-wingers -- among them, Grover Norquist and Ann Coulter. This isn't my idea of fun. I do it because apparently many Americans find these people persuasive, and it seems important to try to show why they're profoundly wrong. 

There are two major theories about why Romney is dropping in the polls. One is Romney is a lousy candidate, unable to connect with people or make his case.

The second is that Americans are finally beginning to see how radical the GOP has become, and are repudiating it. 

Many Republicans -- including some of the right-wingers I've been debating -- hold to the first view, for obvious reasons. If Romney fails to make a comeback this week, I expect even more complaints from this crowd about Romney's personal failings, as well as the inadequacies of his campaign staff. 

But the second explanation strikes me as more compelling. The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the "compassionate conservatism" the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that's been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier. 

These regressives were there in 2000, to be sure. They lurked in the GOP in the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich took over the House. They were there in the 1980s, too, although Ronald Reagan's sunny disposition gave them cover. In truth, they've been part of the GOP for more than half a century -- but never before have they held so much sway in the party, never before have they called the shots.

The second view about Romney's decline also explains the "negative coat-tail" effect -- why so many Republicans around the country in Senate and House races are falling behind. Scott Brown, for example, is well-liked in Massachusetts. But his polls have been dropping in recent weeks because he's had to carry the burden of the public's increasing dislike of the Republican Party. The same is true with regard to Republican senate races in Florida, Virginia, and every other battleground state. 

Romney's failing isn't that he's a bad candidate. To the contrary, he's giving this GOP exactly what it wants in a candidate. And that's exactly the problem for Romney -- as it is for every other Republican candidate -- because what the GOP wants is not at all what the rest of America wants. 

 

http://robertreich.org/

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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I too have watched and waited to see when people i... by Peter Wedlund on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 9:04:36 AM
The DCCC just this past week is finally circulatin... by manifesto 2000 on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:00:01 PM
Politics can tolerate much, but it cannot embrace ... by Peter Wedlund on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 7:57:56 AM
 Exactly!  According to the extreme crud... by hilarie malmberg on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 9:53:23 AM
All according to the plan - the more rightwing and... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 10:25:12 AM
I was writing for years that  the whole game ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:13:01 AM
Obama's a snake oil salesman. I think both parties... by 911TRUTH on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:20:35 AM
and Bingo... by Textynn N on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 8:06:33 PM
Well said, or as Cynthia Mckinny who recently agre... by Davey Jones on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 6:04:41 PM
well said... by Textynn N on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 8:05:55 PM
if they wish to hold on to the white house in 2016... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 2:00:39 AM
Obama not coming clean on energy or foreign pooicy... by Neil Levine on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 4:33:55 PM
"  because what the GOP wants is not at all... by Textynn N on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 7:54:40 PM
But it won't stop the GOP from passing hurtful and... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 1:44:10 AM
not the "let's support militias" dude! ... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 1:47:06 AM