Is There Method to Romney’s Madness?

In contrast with Barack Obama’s itinerary this weekend, Mitt Romney’s seems rather odd. Here’s the Washington Post this morning:

Romney set off on a swing from New Hampshire to Iowa to Colorado and, on Sunday, to Pennsylvania. Romney is making an eleventh-hour gamble to contest the Keystone State, which leans Democratic but, with 20 electoral votes, could give him an alternate path to victory. Meanwhile, he is dispatching Ryan to Minnesota, another leaning-Democratic state that Romney is trying to snatch away from Obama.

Obama is setting off on a whirlwind tour of his own, with plans to stump on Saturday in Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin and on Sunday in a slew of other states.

Colorado makes sense, but New Hampshire and Iowa combined make for just 10 electoral votes.

And why visit Pennsylvania and Minnesota instead of Virginia and Ohio? Romney has to win Virginia and Ohio. He has to. Notice that Obama is in Virginia and Ohio and the polls have him leading in both.

Romney is clearly thinking he has to pick-off an otherwise strong Obama-leaning state in the (likely) event that Virginia or Ohio break for Obama. But this seems like a form of avoidance of the hard work. If you have to win Virginia and Ohio, it seems to me that you focus on them and camp-out in them till election day. You don’t run the periphery of these states. That’s a form of procrastination, and the hour is late.

Here’s the logic: if Romney thinks the race is going to be close, then it makes sense to be in Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Virginia, and Ohio because every last electoral vote counts. This is where the race will be decided. But if Romney’s thinks he’s going to run the table with a landslide, only then does playing offense in Pennsylvania and Minnesota really make sense. The race is close or it isn’t. Therefore, Romney’s itinerary in the last days gives the appearance of incoherence; of desperation; of flailing.

But what do I know?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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