You're not supposed to talk about those things! (Reuters)
It's been clear from Day One that Mitt Romney is not comfortable selling himself to voters. His campaign has openly admitted that their entire strategy is to make the election a referendum on Pres. Barack Obama.
How does someone go on a "foreign policy tour," yet refuse to talk about foreign policy?
How does someone claim to be running based on knowledge of business, then refuse to talk about his business?
How does someone carry the banner of the moralist Republican Party, yet refuse to talk about his own faith?
How does a former governor run for president, yet does everything in his power to erase those four years from the debate?
You strip away those things, and what's left? The fact that he has perfect hair?
He has to know that he lacks the charisma to captivate a nation. House Majority Leader John Boehner has admitted as much, saying that Americans won't fall in love with him. He views the voters with such blatant disdain that he can't even pretend to hide it—he can't spend 30 seconds with normal Americans without insulting their ponchos or cookies. He says things, like his obsession with the height of Michigan trees, that just make people scratch their heads in puzzlement. After decades of obsessing about the candidate that Americans would want to have a beer with, Republicans nominated a guy who can't even drink a Bud. If the shoes were reversed, Republicans would've already painted that as un-American.
Romney's own base hates and distrusts him. Media coverage hasn't been as fawning as is usually the case with Republican candidates. His own high school friends sold him out.
So where does that leave the Romney campaign? With a desperation to put the spotlight entirely on Obama, hoping the rest of America develops the Obama Derangement Syndrome that afflicts his own side. Good luck with that. Just as we learned in 2004, when the public likes the president, it's hard to convince them otherwise. And if the opposition can't make a case for themselves on their own merits (like Kerry was unable to do), the incumbent has all the advantages.
But as bad a candidate as Kerry was in 2004, the American people flirted with him. At this point of the campaign, he actually led George W. Bush by a couple of points. As of now, the American people haven't given Romney any benefit of the doubt. And given his refusal to talk about himself and his past, that isn't likely to change.