As Gingrich attacks Romney for being successful, and Romney proves too slow on his feet to talk about his admirable business career without apologizing or making gaffes, the Republicans cede the narrative to Obama. Intrade shows Obama’s reelection odds creeping up as Republican candidates, egged on by hostile media, bog down in discussions of fairness and the appropriate cap-gains tax rate for “the rich”. Romney in particular doesn’t seem to understand the political dynamic. He ought to put much more effort into attacking Obama, whose record in office is terrible. In this environment no Republican is going to win the presidency by being a nice guy.
Part of what’s happening is that the economy is recovering, to some degree because the Fed is signaling that it’s going to keep suppressing short rates and buying up long-term govt debt for the foreseeable future. This is an insane policy that funnels money to Obama’s Wall Street cronies while killing low-risk investment opportunities for middle-class retirees. It seems likely to lead eventually to significant inflation. Romney, as the likely Republican nominee, should be hammering the Fed for ineptitude and corruption, for running an unsustainable monetary policy and trying to goose the markets into the election. He should be hammering Obama for trying to reinflate the credit markets to buy votes. (The residential real estate market seems to be picking up, perhaps to some degree in response to Obama’s mortgage-subsidy vote-buying scheme. But it may also be that people see inflation coming and want to exchange cash, especially borrowed cash, for real assets.)
Obama has been very bad for the country. His high tax, high regulation, high cronyism, high uncertainty policies suppress productive investment and throw vast amounts of private capital down politically favored sinkholes. Conservative and moderate/uncommitted voters alike yearn for a Republican candidate who forthrightly defends free enterprise and the opportunity society against Obama’s decadent, stratified socialist ineptocracy. Romney, the great businessman, the man who has been running for president for six or seven years, is tongue tied. My first thought is, This is the best our country can do? My second thought is that maybe Romney will pick up his game as the nomination becomes increasingly certain and he focuses more on November. Hope springs eternal.