Prominent conservatives are grumbling that the Romney campaign may not have what it takes to defeat Barack Obama, and are not being shy about it.
First there was Rupert Murdoch, who took to the Twittersphere over the weekend to offer his unsolicited advice to Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. “Met Romney last week. Tough O [Obama] Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful,” tweeted the head of News Corp.
Then Jack Welch, the one-time chief of General Electric, chimed in. “Hope Mitt Romney is listening to Murdoch advice on campaign staff … playing in league with Chicago pols … No room for amateurs”.
Some conservatives have been enraged by an apparent tactical decision by the Romney campaign this week to break ranks with senior Republicans on Capitol Hill over how to respond to the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Romney adviser, said in a television appearance that a financial fee at the heart of Mr Obama’s healthcare legislation was a “penalty”, not a “tax”. The distinction has implications for Republicans trying to hammer the White House for imposing a tax on the middle class. This line of attack arose from Chief Justice John Roberts’ tiebreaking decision last week that found the law to be constitutional because the fee was a tax, not a penalty.
“After Thursday’s [Supreme Court] decision, many of us took solace in the fact that Obama would have to defend his tax record,” said Ben Howe, a conservative blogger on RedState.com. “[The Romney campaign] seem to have destroyed the only glimmer of optimism we were able to pull out of that judicial tragedy.”