May 12, 2012
Don’t be surprised at an early shake-up among the core group of Mitt Romney’s GOP campaign team leaders, with some being directed to move over or possibly step aside, to share primary influence on the campaign’s strategic direction with RNC establishment campaign professionals. No longer with intra-party rivals competing with him for pre-eminence, Mitt’s campaign is still struggling to define his public image to voters for the stretch run up to the general election. As much as GOP campaigners still try to avoid anything they say being linked to an old George W. Bush administration policy position and perceived as a current one, quite a few Bush 43 alumni staff have assumed critical roles in association with the rest of the Romney team.
By all appearances, the Obama campaign has pitched a shutout in the first two weeks of the formal general election presidential campaign. They have succeeded in being the first to define the main opposition, while simultaneously getting their message out, that the economy is improving slowly but because of the President’s actions, job growth has been steady, even if slow, while being impeded at every opportunity by GOP members of Congress.
Regardless of whether this week’s events happened from a combination of deliberate planning and/or being lucky and turning a gaffe into found money, for the past few weeks, the Romney side has been caught flat-footed and taken aback with weak attempts to have their “definition” of the Obama presidency resonate and stick in the minds of the general public. They have failed to get their message out convincingly, that things would somehow be much “better and different” under Mitt, without painting a picture describing how that scenario would appear. They have been preoccupied with fending of inquiries pertaining to his prep school behavior and possible bullying of a gay schoolmate during his teenage years, which resulted from a Washington Post investigative reporting effort.
Further, how they hope to define Obama hasn’t done much damage to his image and standing in polls, as the more trustworthy of the two candidates. With the week’s focus on same-sex unions, the previous week’s ouster of openly gay (and a former neo-con) Richard Grenell from the Romney campaign team made Mitt appear to be a gutless former bully (possibly). A conservative radio commentator, Bryan Fisher, challenged Romney and pushed for Grenell’s dismissal, then turned and bashed Romney when he agreed, as lacking the leadership qualities to hold the office and for allowing a “yokel” like him (Fisher) to bully him into agreeing to dump Grenell. We should expect an increased barrage of criticism coming from the radical right in the next few weeks, pertaining to the deliberate misleading of the public by the “liberal media”, by causing irrelevant distractions from the relevant discussion of the dismal economic situation, to compensate for their public-facing operatives fumbling over tough media questions at week’s end.
With Karl Rove or his protégés taking an active role in directing PAC-paid attack ads against Obama, it remains to be seen whether his ego will allow him to not be seen as a major driving force in a wishful Romney/GOP victory, or to be content with simply orchestrating the attacks on the opposition’s image and messaging, in advertising spot purchases, remaining behind-the-scenes. However, after the big breaking Wall Street news on Friday, the public will be left with the entire week end to cogitate and let sink in the $2 billion trading loss reported by JP Morgan Chase bank (thankfully, a loss of their own money, reportedly while still netting $6 billion in total profits).
The same regulators (reporting through the Fed) under whose oversight the 2008 crash occurred were either napping at the switch or quietly looking the other way while the firm continued to conduct its business as it pleased. Its CEO has been one of the biggest critics of the 2010-enacted Dodd-Frank legislation, insisting it would be too costly for institutions’ compliance, but in this case, not as costly as the loss sustained from being left alone to operate. Republican Congressional voices are likely to be muted somewhat, plus ad spots referencing too many regulations strangling business institutions and being a drag on economic recovery possibly held back, or at least employing very carefully worded messages over the next few days and weeks, most likely fearing that a close review of JP Morgan Chase’s practices, performance and results will convince a majority of the voting public that there’s a need of even closer oversight by the government as protectors of the people.
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Sources, resources and references: CNN, MSNBC, ABC
 The Star-Ledger (print ed.), Newark, NJ, May 12, 2012, “‘King of Wall Street’ humbled” by Hall, Kevin G., MCT News Service, p. 8.