The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein was among the first to pinpoint the really goofy engineering behind Mitt Romney's unguided missile of a presidential campaign:
Romney consistently attempts to make up with tactics what he lacks in vision. Romney’s campaign isn’t driven by any core ideology or governing philosophy, but by responding to news cycles.
It's hardly news that Romney lacks a governing philosophy and it's actually a relief that he's absent a preconceived ideology. He is at heart the uncolorful technocrat, the unemotional empiricist, the rigid pragmatist, if you will, forever unburdened by intellectual constraints of personal ideals and lofty dreams. By themselves, in vacuum operation, these can be useful leadership qualities; they peel away layers of accumulated bias and dispense with onerous traditions.
The vacuum, however, is essential for consistently smooth operation, although the keen technocrat knows that such a vacuum is itself but a lofty, unachievable dream. And for the technocratic politician, the impossible vacuum can be a nightmare--if, that is, the pol treats inescapable, intervening tactics as a kind of unintegrated circuitry.
Behold Mitt Romney, a robotic but oddly uncalculating pol who seems to think that whatever he says today can suffer no embarrassing collision with whatever he said yesterday, and will leave no confused trail to whatever he may say tomorrow. Each moment of Romney's existence is entirely self-contained--he operates in an insensible insularity, whacking this mole and that, never seeming to anticipate the inevitable whacked-mole chain reaction.
To Romney, tactics mean only cold-blooded opportunism--the quick profit, the thrusted knife, the instant assassination, the ingenious betrayal, the singular offensive taken in wholesale isolation. If today's offensive conflicts with yesterday's? No problem. He just whacks that mole as he did the others. Incredibly, he never seems to think that others will notice that those molehills and mountainous contradictions are his own creations.
Thus in tactically "responding to news cycles" Romney spawns the substance of the next news cycle, which he then responds to, in another blitheringly idiotic way, to which he must tactically respond, and so on.
President Obama doesn't really need to campaign. He can just keep handing Mitt Romney some moles.