I should think that this morning the happiest man in America is Steve Schmidt.
For four years this former top adviser to presidential candidate John McCain has suffered the torment of damnable ridicule and roasted burlesque: How could you guys have been so dumb as to enlist Sarah Palin as the VP pick? Where was the "process"? Were you really so desperate and knowingly doomed as to heave overboard all semblance of good judgment and prudence? In brief, what were you thinking?
Now, though, the pressure is off Mr. Schmidt, the ridicule is redirected, the snickering burlesque has relocated, and that fundamental question--What were you thinking?--has descended on the reigning nincompoops at the Romney campaign. Alas, Sarah Palin has been replaced as America's worst vice-presidential candidate ever, and Steve Schmidt can now avert the slings and arrows of snickering interviewers. Four words: Paul Ryan, Eric Fehrnstrom.
For the last two years, President Obama has struggled to fashion the election as a choice. Mitt Romney has countered, logically, with a referendum. For the Republican, a choice election is a lost election; he would instead billboard the economy's chronic troubles and recommend a fix or two and thereby capitalize on electoral malaise. Romney's plan entailed a simple, straightforward strategy which had decades of empirical justification behind it.
Yet three little complications emerged. One, jobs have continued their return, despite congressional Republicans' best efforts to waylay every last American family. Two, Romney somehow forgot to piece together a plausibly specific, alternative economic plan (the Keystone pipeline is no fix for a $15 trillion economy). And third, Mitt Romney has proceeded to demonstrate beyond any doubt or mistaken impression that he is the bumbling, befuddled, squawking and exceedingly irritating Jerry Lewis of this Martin & Lewis presidential contest.
The Democratic mauling of Paul Ryan will approach felonious assault. Joe Biden will leave only barely recognizable pieces of him in the veep debate and President Obama will crucify him on the stump and congressional Democrats can now officially present to their districts and states the Great Satan of pseudoconservative extremism as being in the direct employ of Jerry Lewis.
Once again Mitt Romney has buckled to the selfsame ideologues who have wrecked him from the start; he has signaled his weakness and advertised his fear; he has sentenced himself to three months of defending Medicare and Social Security's demolition; he has resigned his generalship and handed command to a reckless militant; he ... has ... lost.