Mitt Romney did all the things conservatives wanted him to do, and they're still not happy with him, because he hasn't managed to do those things in a way that would put him ahead of President Obama in the polls. After months of taking the advice of conservative bloggers and pundits — Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, the entire Republican National Convention was built around mocking Obama's "you didn't build that" line, his spokespeople consistently clarified away any statement Romney has made that seemed out of sync with right-wing talking points on Obamacare, abortion, and immigration — and yet, according to poll averages, he is losing both nationally and in swing states. Someone must be to blame! And conservatives in the punditocracy are pretty sure it's not them.
The main scapegoat is Stuart Stevens, Romney's top strategist, both in and following a report posted Sunday by Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei suggesting the Romney campaign is in disarray. Stevens gets the blame for a convention speech that didn't mention the war or the troops, the Clint Eastwood speech, a cheesy bus tour idea, a message focused solely on the economy and how Obama has failed to fix it. Immediately following the story, Romney's campaign explained to a whole bunch of other news sites exactly how Romney's strategy is about to change. Those changes are:
- Turn the election into a vote on "status quo versus change," Stevens told Politico.
- Talk about more than the economy, including foreign policy, China, the national debt, and cutting $500 billion a year in spending, the Financial Times reports.
- But also talk about culture war stuff, especially God, BuzzFeed reports.
- Refocus on the economy and spend two and a half weeks explaining his five-point economic plan, The Washington Post reports.