Last month I noticed that Mitt Romney seemed to be changing his economic message. Instead of the economy sucks and it’s Obama’s fault, it had morphed into the economy’s recovering but it would be recovering even faster if not for Obama. Today, Mark Barabak and Paul West of the LA Times suggest that this is a pivot that’s here to stay:
Mitt Romney entered the presidential contest as Mr. Fix-It, saying his business know-how was precisely what could rescue the struggling economy from its deep and devastating slump….But after months of steady job growth, improved consumer confidence and big gains on Wall Street, the economy seems in less dire need of fixing, and Romney has been forced to alter his message or risk seeming out of touch.
“I believe the economy’s coming back,” Romney said at a breakfast stop Monday in Springfield….But he gave absolutely no credit to President Obama — “the economy always comes back after recession” — and insisted the administration’s policies had made matters worse and the recovery slower than it should have been.
….If the slow but steady improvement continues and Romney hangs on to become the GOP nominee, the choice presented to voters in the fall could rest on a pair of abstract arguments: one candidate saying he would have done better and the other insisting things could have been worse.
Maybe Romney doesn’t have a choice, but this is a tough message. The true believers will truly believe, as always, but will anyone else? If the economy really is improving, it’s not very convincing to say “Yeah, but I could have done even better.” It bodes ill for Romney that he’s apparently decided this is his best shot.