In the end, it’s not Mitt– it’s Politico

Damn, do I hate Politico.  Sure they are worth the occassional link, but as a general rule, they pretty much represent everything that is wrong with political journalism.  Obsessive focus on personality and day-to-day minutiae instead of context and structural factors.  First, it’s way too early to call this election over.  Do I think Obama is a strong favorite?  Of course.  But Romney post mortems already?  Please!

More importantly, though, there’s a whole article about how the whole reason Mitt is going to lose is his failures as a politician/candidate.    Notably, it’s by the Politico top brass, so you can definitely see that their journalistic failings come from the top.  For starters, Obama has hit 50% approval in a number of recent polls.  How many challengers beat an incumbent with 50% approval.  And yes, the economy is having a rough time, but Ezra and others have presented evidence that it nonetheless may be benefiting Obama.  Or, let’s consider the role of the Republican Party in creating a candidate like Romney.  Or, how about the fact that every other Republican who ran would almost surely have been a genuine disaster.

Now, Romney has made his share of mistakes.  But all candidates do.  Even Obama.  Has Romney run a particularly poor campaign in modern historical context.  Maybe, but I really don’t think so.  Obama is a very skilled campaigner. Clinton was a very skilled campaigner.  GWB was pretty good. But Kerry?  Bob Dole?  Al Gore?  Bush Sr?

Of course, with all the blame on Mitt, this will allow the Tea Party to drive the party truly off a cliff in 2016 as they convince themselves that the problem was the candidate– not the party that created him.  And as for Politco, there’s a reason I never actually encourage anyone to read it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to In the end, it’s not Mitt– it’s Politico

  1. Mark Y. says:

    Couldn’t agree more. While writers like Ezra, Nate Silver, and Tim Noah have started incorporating political science into their campaign coverage, that trend hasn’t taken hold (and likely won’t because there’s no incentive for it) in the mainstream media. This is part of the reason why I’ve lost so much interest in politics in the past few years. Politico-style coverage seems to dominate everything, and the parties generally play along. The whole thing is a game, and not in a fun way.

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