I wouldn’t want to be in Mitt Romney’s shoes right now. The punditocracy is pushing the conventional wisdom that, despite having an empty account in the personality bank, all Romney needs to do is trumpet his business experience and sit tight while the economy continues to tank. No amount of Obamic charisma and charm will be able to save a president who can’t deliver the goods. In frustration, we will even turn to a stiff like Romney to save us. At least, that’s the theory.
Neither the chatterers nor Romney appear to have thought this thing through. Since he’s offering little or nothing in the way of specific solutions to our economic problems, what remains is a strategy that consists of betting on the president to fail. Unfortunately, if Obama fails it means the country has failed as well. This puts Romney in the uncomfortable position of cheering for higher (or at least, sustained) unemployment and deepening misery.
His campaign and legitimacy evaporate with our recovery, so if the jobless figures start to fall, he will be the last to join in the celebration. It reminds me of an ancient time, five or so years ago, when Americans still remembered we were fighting a war in Iraq. Since it was a major campaign issue, we were treated to Republicans accusing Democrats of wishing the war to go badly for their own partisan advancement.
Romney, from what I can tell, is a decent guy. I’m sure that, as a patriotic American, he wants things to improve for his country. For Romney the candidate, it isn’t quite so simple.