With Romney trailing in the polls, conservatives have already started the post-mortem, looking for ways to explain Romney's loss while absolving their ideology of any blame. George Will has the most unbelievable explanation I've read so far. Voter's are sticking with Obama because he's black.
After criticizing some of the administration's actions, George Will shares an anecdote of baseball manager Frank Robinson, an African American who according to Will, achieved an important milestone in racial equality when the Indians felt comfortable enough to fire him. Will ends his article with this gem:
Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pin-up. Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant not to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.Wha-? I have now officially heard it all. While dismissing actual dog-whistles and less subtle forms of racism (Gingrich's "not a real president" and "I don't understand his rhythms" comments come to mind), Will chalks up Obama's current success to a collective discomfort at having to fire the first black president. Now, I think it is actually an interesting question the degree to which racial attitudes are affecting this race, but to suggest that that should be the take away from the 2012 election is downright ridiculous. It's possible to suggest that a group of core supporters are hanging in there because of the race thing, though Will clearly has no evidence to back that up. But how would that explain the movement in the polls towards the president across many different demographic groups, some of whom weren't nearly as supportive of the president before taking a closer look at the Romney/Ryan ticket? Are there people that are gradually discovering the president's race? Romney has the highest net unfavorables of any modern candidate for goodness sakes. Isn't it more likely that that is a bigger reason for the state of the race.
Romney is losing for some simple two simple reasons 1) he hasn't outlined with specificity what he'd do better then the president and how that plan would help the average voter. People don't get excited about promises to cut taxes and lower regulation, we've been there and done that. If there's a magic formula to making it work, it needs to be spelled out. 2) Because Mitt hasn't been detailed, he's essentially asking for votes based on the fact that he's Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney is a wealthy, secretive, awkward guy who has difficulty conveying empathy and who has embraced virtually every aspect of the (historically extreme) modern republican party, not to mention 47%-gate. Other than his business success, which he hasn't been very forthright about, what is there about Romney to convince a voter that he'd be a better choice? Despite criticisms of the Obama administration, he's clearly doing a better job than president Bush, so voters are acutely aware that things can be worse. Absent a compelling pitch from Romney there's no reason to make a change.
Lastly, it's been the belief within the African American community that you had to be "twice as good" as a white counterpart to get ahead, I'm sure this extra leniency that Will describes would come as a surprise.