In a bit of political satire in Politico, Paul Ryan is now calling Mitt Romney “The Stench”, as in stench of defeat, and Team Romney refers to Paul Ryan as “Gilligan”. While it may be just humor, it has the air of hitting pretty close to the mark. Ryan and Romney don’t look too comfortable with each other these days.
Where is the bromance we saw in August?
Apparently the bloom is off that rose.
There is an old saying on the trail that you can’t spell campaign without “pain” – while not literally true the pain of the campaign was broadcast across Paul Ryan’s wincing face when Mitt Romney had a moment of unguarded honesty in Ohio.
Romney said, accurately, that President Obama had not raised taxes in the last four years. That moment of candor undercut the Romney/Ryan tickets messaging big time.
Team Romney quickly issued (another) so-called-correction on behalf of their presidential candidate.
But the video of Romney saying what is true and Ryan reacting to it cannot be rolled back with a blasted out email from the Romney Self Inflicted Wound Rapid Response Team.
Ryan, however, is not the only Republican to go rogue on his boss.
Perhaps the relationship began to unravel in a moment of Paul Ryan’s unguarded honesty when he called Romney’s words at a Florida fundraiser “inelegant” and “inarticulate”.
It’s not like Paul Ryan did not witness the Romney disaster of a primary campaign where every time he popped up in the polls he shot himself in the foot. With all the money he could need, Romney was unable to easily dispatch of a former speaker of the House who resigned in disgrace or a former senator that sat at one percent in the polls for over a year and was voted out of office in Pennsylvania by a landslide.
Is Paul Ryan so delusional that he thought he could fix the campaign?
The answer, apparently, is yes.
Ryan is part of a flotilla of Republicans abandoning the Romney ship in September.
In the history of Presidential campaigns it is unheard of for a campaign co-chair to leave the campaign seven weeks out to take a job in the private sector. But that is just what Romney co-chair, two-time vice presidential nominee runner-up and Minnesota Republican Tim Pawlenty did.
He left to take a job as a Wall Street lobbyist that he could have easily taken in November. By why defer the month and a half of extra money for a losing campaign?
As for the other runner-ups in the Romney veepstakes? They are starting their presidential campaigns with forays into Iowa. In September. Before the election.
Across the country candidates for the House and Senate have seen their internal polling. Mitt Romney is dragging them down with him.
In Massachusetts, Scott Brown who the GOP is counting on in the Senate, is running an ad for himself where President Obama says “good job” to him. He is literally embracing Romney’s opponent.
Across the border in Connecticut, Linda McMahon is likewise running away from the top of the GOP ticket.
But it is not just in blue states where Obama will easily win on November 6. It is a national phenomenon.
In Nevada , Virginia and Hawaii, candidates have all distanced themselves from Romney and his disparaging comments about the 47 percent.
Susana Martinez, the Republican Governor of New Mexico who spoke for Romney at the Republican National Convention, likewise sought to distance herself from Romney’s comments.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
But the toughest words for Romney are coming from the Republican pundits that always knew Romney was not up to the task.
This parting of the ways is a huge strategic problem for Republicans. The Republican National Committee is sitting on tens of millions of dollars it can spend on television but it must be done in coordination with the Romney campaign and Senate and House candidates.
These “party building ads” do not work if they do more harm to the House and Senate candidates as Romney’s numbers nosedive.
The Super PACs have a similar problem. If they write off Romney then he loses more support and the job of lifting down ballot Republicans gets that much harder.
Romney is dragging every Republican down and House and Senate Republican operatives have conceded as much throughout the month of September.
The fact that it is September and the GOP is abandoning Mitt Romney in droves gives Democrats hope that what was unthinkable in the spring – an Obama reelection that increases seats in the Senate and a potential takeover of the House – may be within their reach.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.