This is a common example of this fallacy in the Washington Post regarding the recent Newsweek front page photo calling Romney a wimp:
"Romney’s right not to worry — yet. In an election about the economy — and nothing but the economy — the most important thing for the GOP nominee is to appear to be a credible alternative to the incumbent on that front. If Romney can’t make that sale between now and mid-October, he likely won’t win. But he’s still got plenty of time to do it."
What I don't get is who exactly told them this election is going to be "about the economy and nothing but the economy?"
I think this is a media narrative, nothing more. It's the media trying to carry Mitt Romney's water for him. The idea is that 'the economy stinks and it's all Obama's fault.'
One of the biggest laughs is reading a phony like David Brooks whine about how this election isn't about the obsessions of his very serious people. Brooks would have us believe that the to candidates should be debating who's tax and budget plan comes closet to Simpson-Bowles. This we can call the Very Serious People Fallacy (VSPF).
In fact Krugman nailed this weeks ago:
"A lot of people inside the Beltway are tut-tutting about the recent campaign focus on Mitt Romney’s personal history — his record of profiting even as workers suffered, his mysterious was-he-or-wasn’t-he role at Bain Capital after 1999, his equally mysterious refusal to release any tax returns from before 2010. Some of the tut-tutters are upset at any suggestion that this election is about the rich versus the rest. Others decry the personalization: why can’t we just discuss policy?"
"And neither group is living in the real world."
"First of all, this election really is — in substantive, policy terms — about the rich versus the rest."
This is key. That is the substance of the campaign. Paradoxically the painstaking carping about an unserious campaign out of "sensible centrists" like David Brooks is in fact not substantive though they insist on thinking it is. The irony of the VSP is that they aren't serious at all in reality. What it's about is vanity-the appearance of being serious.
As Krugman puts it:
"The point is that talking about Mr. Romney’s personal history isn’t a diversion from substantive policy discussion. On the contrary, in a political and media environment strongly biased against substance, talking about Bain and offshore accounts is the only way to bring the real policy issues into focus. And we should applaud, not condemn, the Obama campaign for standing up to the tut-tutters. "
Those like Brooks who demand that we get serious really aren't about anything serious and deserve to be ignored.
Here is yet another media piece that shows how desperate the media is to maintain this facile narrative that
1. This election is about the economy and nothing but the economy
2. This election is going to be very, very, very, very close. Did I mention it will be very, very close?
In this piece, Jonathan Chalt admits that the President had a good month-we were hearing that none of this was hurting Romney at all. But notice at the end that he shows himself up, by being to quick to dismiss the two latest polls each which suggest the President may be pulling away from Romney
"In campaigns, unlike actual horse races, it can be tricky to tell who's winning at the moment it is happening. But the evidence is starting to pile up that President Obama has had a better month than Mitt Romney. Consider a few straws in the wind (along with a pile of disclaimers):
1. FiveThirtyEight's ultra-sophisticated forecasting model has Obama's reelection odds reaching an all-time high (it now gives Obama just over a 70 percent chance of winning.)
2. After weeks of bold bluster, Republicans are quietly beginning to acknowledge that attacks on Romney's business career have hurt. Zeke Miller and McKay Coppins have a report today describing, without quotes, the belief of Romney advisers that they have had a bad stretch (they hopefully look forward to the vice-president rollout as a reset moment.) The same belief is evidenced by Romney's bringing in a veteran operative to handle its Bain message, a clear sign it believes the old strategy has not worked. Likewise, Virginia Republican researcher Mike McKenna tells the Associated Press that the anti-Bain assault "has done a lot of damage."
3. Yesterday's Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll has Obama strongly leading by six points in Ohio and Florida, along with a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania. Likewise, a Pew poll today has Obama leading by ten points nationally.
"Now, it's important not to over-interpret any of these data points. Quinnipiac and Pew, the latter especially, tend to find Obama faring better than do other polls, and Pew's sample projects an unrealistically Democratic-heavy electorate. [Update: Quinnipiac actually has a slight Republican lean, making its results somewhat more meaningful.] Obama is almost certainly not up by double-digits nationally. But the fact that a poll with a general Obama lean now has him leading by ten, when the same poll had up by four to seven points in the previous four months, does suggest some movement. Part of what's happening is that we just have the more Democratic-leaning polls coming out, but another part is that those polls have Obama doing better now than they did before."
Love that update. He had to admit that Quinnipiac is not a biased Democratic poll like Ramussen is for the GOP-I'm far from wholly persuaded even about Pew, but even he can't deny Quinnipiac.
The pundits keep being shown to be as out of touch as Governor Romney.