Politico has this up:Defining moment eludes Mitt Romney:
Mitt Romney could use a big moment.Romney has been defined - he is a robot like plutocrat with no discernible ideology except for the one he needs for a particular day or particular audience. He has "rebooted" more often than a three year old DOS 6.0 computer.
Since he began stumping, the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign events have been nearly identical — perfectly staged and choreographed, but forgettable. If it weren’t for the occasional state flag hanging behind him, those watching wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the GOP nominee’s rallies in Pueblo, Col. and Vandalia, Ohio.
But as Romney tries to reignite his campaign following a slew of polling showing him trailing President Barack Obama, some Republican strategists argue that he should stage a dramatic campaign trail moment designed to break through the clutter and move the needle.
The advice to be “something dramatically real” takes for granted that a “dramatically real” Romney would be more attractive than whatever he is at the moment. Romney’s trouble is that his reputation as a phony and a panderer is so well-established now that any change that he makes is immediately dismissed as a new attempt in pandering. Perversely, Romney’s seemingly endless capacity for pandering makes it more difficult for him to break out of bad campaign habits. No one has tried to fake authenticity more than Romney, and everyone expects whatever he does to be contrived and put-on for their benefit. Romney has already had his defining moment or moments, and they have defined him variously as an international bungler, a cynical opportunist, and a living caricature of a Republican candidate. The time for him to define himself passed many months ago, and stopping off in a few more diners isn’t going to change that.For the most part Romney has avoided specifics - perhaps he doesn't actually know what he's going to do. What few hints we have gotten sound like George W Bush 2.0. Actually his campaign has reminded me of Bob Dole's campaign in 1996 which consisted almost entirely of "I'm not Clinton." Didn't work out for Mr Dole and it's not working out for Romney.
Romney looked like an attractive candidate in the primaries but only because he was the least clownish passenger in the clown car that was the Republican primary.
In the end I think Romney killed his own campaign, not because he’s a bad person – he may be – but because, in addition to his ineptness, he came to symbolize what’s wrong with our economy, in every way. The tax rate he pays is a scandal. Shoveling millions of tax-free dollars to his sons is, too. Bain Capital was no job creator (unless you count Bain execs); the firm borrowed money to buy companies, saddled the companies with their debt and made huge fees, whether or not the firm survived.
I said long ago that Romney “is the poster boy for the top 1 percent,” and that it would hurt him with struggling voters. But I didn’t know how much it would hurt him. In the end, maybe he’d have survived coming off like a cross between Thurston Howell III and Montgomery Burns, if we hadn’t heard his remarks about “the 47 percent.” Together, his sheltered wealth, high finance career and plutocrat’s sneer are making it nearly impossible for him to be elected.