The worst wounds in politics are self-inflicted. After a week, it’s clear that Mitt Romney inflicted a doozy on himself when he got carried away about the “47 percent” at that high-flying Florida fundraiser.
Voters today are sophisticated consumers of political messages. They know political ads lie. They know that every word a candidate says in a speech, debate or interview is polished and poll-tested.
So their antennae are up for the slightest sign of a candidate showing what he or she is really like – whether it’s under pressure, by mistake or “off the record.”
Romney gave Americans that inadvertent and possibly fatal glimpse of his real self. He cemented the image that Obama’s ads suggested: a rich, callous man who is not only out of touch with most Americans, but actually holds them in contempt.
Even worse for Romney, the camera angle and poor quality of the videotape are even more damning, because they’re real. The waiters in black vests are a special touch.
This campaign has six weeks to go. A lot can happen. But if Romney were a car, he’d be the 2012 version of the Democrat’s 2004 John Kerry model.