Republicans and Mitt Romney are fortunate to have Ann Romney around for many reasons. For one thing, she has candor in abundance. In reaction to the public meltdown in some Republican corners (We’re doomed! He’s blown it!), she in an Iowa radio interview essentially told the whiners to buck up and stop overreacting. CBS News reports:
“This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country,” Romney said.
Even as conservative detractors escalate their critiques of how Mitt Romney has operated his bid for the presidency — conservative journalist Peggy Noonan on Thursday called it a “rolling calamity” — Ann Romney dismissed the negative appraisals.
“It’s nonsense and the chattering class. . . . you hear it and then you just let it go right by,” she said. “Honestly, at this point, I’m not surprised by anything.”
Listen, I don’t think it’s been lost on the leadership in Boston or on the candidates that the campaign needed to be become more focused, respond more quickly to events, and to connect the dots for voters on Romney-Ryan agenda items. (Ed Gillespie has been spending a good deal of his week explaining that they are working on these points.) But the whining and moaning among conservatives is entirely disproportionate to the status of the race. Romney isn’t ahead, but he remains in striking distance. Even Democrats have noticed. A Democratic operative expressed to me surprise this morning that Republicans are so wigged out over, what she called, “a five-point race.”
Ann’s advice that the Beltway folk should get a grip is well-timed. But the flip side of this is that throughout the campaign the Romney team has not cultivated even conservative media. Maybe it was a lost cause in some cases; there are conservative critics who’d rather lose than be proven wrong in their assessment of Romney.
That said All those blue-jacketed, khaki-pants-wearing operatives who flock around the governor at campaign events, throwing in their two cents, or who attend endless meetings to make sure they “contribute” (i.e. justify their salary), could have spent time more wisely thinking about the ticket’s message, shortening its reaction time and creating some media relationships.
So Ann is right that the professional Republican chatterers should get a hold of themselves if they want to pull this together. And the campaign critics were right in surfacing many issues, which the campaign is now trying to address. What remains to be seen is if the Romney team can now execute what they say they want to do. But panicking loudly and publicly isn’t the way to get it done.