After all the WSJ editorial page is as close to the un/official organ of the Republican party as you get. Today they have to admit this:
".Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years. But Mr. Romney hasn't been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground.
"The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault. We're on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that "Obama isn't working." Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President's policies aren't working and how Mr. Romney's policies will do better."
There is also an admission that-Bill Clinton and Cory Booker notwithstanding-the Bain attacks are working:
"All of these attacks were predictable, in particular because they go to the heart of Mr. Romney's main campaign theme—that he can create jobs as President because he is a successful businessman and manager. But candidates who live by biography typically lose by it. See President John Kerry."
Still, if the WSJ has correctly diagnosed the problem they don't seem to have much of an answer for Mitt Willard Romney. They think he could gain by latching onto Chief Justice Roberts calling Obamacare's mandate a tax, and they think he made a big mistake agreeing with the Obama Administration on Monday in calling it a "penalty."
"Why make such an unforced error? Because it fits with Mr. Romney's fear of being labeled a flip-flopper, as if that is worse than confusing voters about the tax and health-care issues. Mr. Romney favored the individual mandate as part of his reform in Massachusetts, and as we've said from the beginning of his candidacy his failure to admit that mistake makes him less able to carry the anti-ObamaCare case to voters."
"Mr. Romney should use the Supreme Court opinion as an opening to say that now that the mandate is defined as a tax for the purposes of the law, he will work to repeal it. This would let Mr. Romney show voters that Mr. Obama's spending ambitions are so vast that they can't be financed solely by the wealthy but will inevitably hit the middle class."
So let me see if I get this straight. Romney attacking the mandate as a tax rather than a penalty will work for him as he can always answer the charge that he's a-big, really the biggest ever-flip flopper in political history by saying that it wasn't a tax when he passed it in Massachusetts back in 2006 but that it's only a tax now that Judge Roberts has decided it's a tax?
If you buy this puzzling rule of thumb then why can't Obama be similarly absolved as he too passed it in 2009 before the Judge's ruling-ergo, back then it was still a penalty as it had been back in 2006.
Of course now Romney is trying to call it a tax. And the WSJ quite rightly sees the problem with this:
"Perhaps Mr. Romney is slowly figuring this out, because in a July 4 interview he stated himself that the penalty now is a "tax" after all. But he offered no elaboration, and so the campaign looks confused in addition to being politically dumb."
So he did what the WSJ says he should, but they admit this makes him look confused and dumb. So where does this take us. Oh, I see, Romney should offer "elaboration." Is it that it wasn't a tax because in 2006 Judge Roberts hadn't yet called it that but it was a tax in 2009 even though this was still prior to the very same Judge Roberts?
Indeed, the WSJ really doesn't leave Romney any out by admitting that Romney's advisers had not "gone rogue" on Monday, to the contrary they had called it a "penalty" in line with what their boss told them to say:
"For conservative optimists who think Mr. Fehrnstrom misspoke or is merely dense, his tax absolution gift to Mr. Obama was confirmed by campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, who tried the same lame jujitsu spin. In any event, Mr. Fehrnstrom is part of the Boston coterie who are closest to Mr. Romney, and he wouldn't say such a thing without the candidate's approval."
So what is Romney really supposed to take from this-again this is unofficially the voice of the RNC speaking to him? Basically he's losing, wrapping himself in Bain Capital while saying the economy stinks isn't working, and that nothing he's tried on Obamacare has worked either-but of course they want him to keep pounding Obamacare rather than do what Romney himself would prefer and just stop talking about Obamacare.
After all, it's a major Obama victory, why would you possible want to keep flagging this. It's almost like flagging when Obama killed Bin Laden as a reason to elect Romney-it doesn't make much sense. So he's losing, and the WSJ wants him to stop losing. But they don't have any real solution, and flagging Obamacare which now that it won in court has already become more popular and which the majority of Americans want to put behind them is a losing strategy, kind of like spitting into the wind. And of course we have the pink elephant in the room-perfect metaphor when discussing the Republican campaign!-and that's the fact that Romney supported the individual mandate before he was against it. Sean HannityWSJ does want him to keep doing that.