I mentioned in the previous post that Team Romney had been making a big mess of things over the last few weeks, to the chagrin of Republicans who feel like he’s losing what was once a very winnable race. It’s still winnable for him; a four-point national lead ain’t insurmountable, but it becomes a tougher climb as the clock runs out. (Mixed metaphors, FTW.)
Yeah, some of these errors are head-scratching. (What was the perceived upside of that dig on Obama after the attacks on the embassies last week?) But these are par for the course; think of all of the silly missteps made by Hillary Clinton’s camp in 2008, John McCain’s epic miscalculations and then-Senator Obama’s big foot-in-mouth moment. Very few people get to the later rounds of a presidential campaign without saying or doing something cosmically dumb. There’s too much time, too many live mics, too many undisciplined surrogates, too many not-completely-thought-out (or conveniently adopted) policy positions.Obama’s 2008 missteps get downplayed because he won. Basketball metaphor time: if Jordan doesn’t go bananas in the last two minutes of Game 6 in 1997, the Bulls would be remembered as an old team that ran out of gas. But he did go bananas, and so they’re instead remembered as basketball gods.
The folks in Chicago are no longer the wet behind the ears — remember, many of the big-name, battle-tested Democratic strategists and fundraisers were solidly on Team Hillary four years ago — so there’s more message discipline. And of course, there’s the whole weight-of-the-office thing. So when Obama snarks at Romney, he’s doing it offhandedly from a lectern in the Rose Garden. The game done changed. And that experience matters a whole lot. If Romney’s team seems like they’re on some J.V. steez, it’s because, relatively speaking, they actually are.