Bill Kristol, one of the more thoughtful and calm members of the right-wing establishment, delivered a surprising hammer to Mitt Romney on Fox News Sunday when he implied that Romney can’t beat President Obama if he can’t woo more voters despite the horrible economy.
While many Republicans around the country may be feeling a similar worry about the performance of Romney, Kristol has always been willing to speak his mind. The Editor of the Rupert Murdoch-financed conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, Kristol has been a darling of the political right for more than two decades, ever since he was Vice President Dan Quayle’s chief of staff in the 1990’s and was widely known as “Quayle’s brain,” referring to the caricature of the former Vice President as intellectually challenged.
In light of the June jobs report showing just 80,000 new jobs created, Fox News Sunday host John Roberts asked Kristol why President Obama was still ahead of Romney in key battleground states by 9 points, according to polls.
“President Obama has had three disappointing months and he’s holding his own,” Kristol responded. “If I were in the Romney campaign that would worry me.”
Kristol said the real explanation behind Romney’s failure was illustrated by a Fox News poll that delved into the question of the economy. When voters were asked if they thought the candidates had a clear plan for what to do with the economy, 41 percent said Yes about Obama, but only 27 percent said Yes about Romney. Kristol’s analysis should send shivers down the spine of every diehard Romney supporter in the country.
“I don’t think you can beat an incumbent president, even if the economy is slow, if 27 percent of the voters think you, as the challenger, don’t have a clear plan for improving the economy,” he said.
So as Romney continues to race around the country reacting to every bad jobs report by gleefully pointing a finger at the president, voters seem to be asking him, Okay, genius, so what are you going to do?
Thus far, Romney hasn’t had much of an answer, at least in the minds of American voters.