The Romney campaign's mammoth ineptitude remains the political story of the week, probably of the summer, and most likely of the entire presidential contest. Politico compresses the swell:
[Romney's impressive fundraising] has done little to tamp down longstanding concerns within the GOP about the insularity and rigidness of the Romney camp. Those gripes are now being aired in public, as center-right staples from The Wall Street Journal editorial page to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham lament what they view as an uninspired, passive campaign.
With that, an aside. H.L. Mencken once described democracy as "a self-limiting disease." He went on to theorize that it might even be "self-devouring":
One cannot observe it objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself--its apparently ineradicable tendency to abandon its whole philosophy at the first sign of strain.
Just one more brief word: Democracy, Mencken concluded, is "incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing."
No doubt, just about anyone reading a blind synopsis of Mencken's 1920s appraisal would mistake it for a contemporary assessment of the Romney campaign, imbued as the latter is with a "self-devouring" inclination, a "curious distrust of itself," and an awesome willingness to "abandon its whole philosophy" at one mere note of right-wing nagging. The reader might reasonably object to characterizing all this as "incomparable" idiocy and amusement, however, given Tom Dewey's epic tutorials on how not to run a presidential campaign. But that's a minor objection, perhaps somewhat pedantic, and we can overlook it.
The larger point, or observation, to be made is that the Beltway commentariat assiduously, monolithically persists in forecasting a tense, riveting, nail-biting humdinger of a close and even razor-thin race. It's touch and go, folks. Oh man it's tight. This'll go right down to the wire. There's simply no way of knowing who will triumph. Stay tuned. Stay tuned. For heaven's sake stay tuned. OK. We would anyway. But their prognosticative masturbation is based on ... what exactly?
Romney's accelerating implosions? His habitual gaffes? His increasingly conspicuous ethical void? His utter unsuitability for retail politics? His persistent lag in the battleground states? His mysterious, ultrasecretive riches? His momentously amateurish and bumbling staff? Above all, his almost comic inability to ever, ever improve at this politics thing?
Add Romney's constants of incompetence to Obama's fixed professionalism and you begin to see more of a Johnson-Goldwater blowout than a Kennedy-Nixon photofinish. I believed that six months ago, I believe it now, and I believe I'll be proved correct.