In Talking to the Unconverted, James of England notes that he has spent much of the last few days "stunned by the terrible political news"--polls have shown a rebound in support for Obama--then asks for "criticisms...[and] improvements" in the arguments James himself advances on behalf of Romney. My view? That if he lives to 100 Romney will never find a more ardent or articulate supporter than James. What needs criticism and improvement is the Romney campaign itself.
In a word, Romney needs to show some fight.
Since, as James notes, Romney is running on his credentials as a businessman, perhaps the Romney campaign would listen to two business figures who have proven even more successful than has Mitt himself: Rupert Murdoch, who, starting with part ownership of a regional newspaper in Australia, built the News Corporation, one of the biggest media companies in the world, and Jack Welch, who transformed GE.
"Met Romney last week," Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted. "Tough O [Obama] Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful."
"Hope Mitt Romney is listening to Murdoch advice on campaign staff," Jack Welch then tweeted. "[N]o room for amateurs."
Tweets don't amount to campaign memos, obviously, but taking these in context--Rupert Murdoch has tweeted about the Romney campaign several times now--these represent, I think, a frustration with Romney's reluctance to go on the attack, to fight.
Just consider what happened over the last several days.
When the Supreme Court handed down its decision, Republicans in Washington immediately said, in effect, "Okay, if the Court calls ObamaCare a tax, we'll make the most of it, attacking the program as just that, a vast tax on the middle class." But Romney himself flubbed the opportunity, insisting that ObamaCare represents not a tax but a penalty.
Let's grant that Romney was correct on the merits. Just as the Romney campaign insisted, the Scalia dissent was correct as a matter of constitutional law while the Robert's majority opinion was wrong, very wrong.
But Romney is running for president, not for a seat on the Court. Attacking Chief Justice John Roberts is beside the point--heck, Mitt can leave that job to Richard Epstein and John Yoo. Romney should instantly have grasped the opportunity to use the Supreme Court decision in attacking president. It took the Romney campaign a good 48 hours to recognize its mistaken, announcing that Mitt would join his fellow Republicans in attacking ObamaCare as a tax after all.
To quote Jack Welch once again: "No room for amateurs."