"A bit of a sugar-high..."
That's how Mitt Romney's campaign responded to news this week that a spat of independent national polls have their candidate trailing President Obama by as many as 6 points following the Democratic National Convention.
If Democrats were hocking sweets last weekend in Charlotte, they appear to have sold far better than the sour lemons Republicans were offering in Tampa given the size of their respective post-convention poll bumps, or lack thereof for the Party of Medicare vouchers.
It isn't just the national polls that have team Romney puckered.
Perhaps reading the billboard-sized writing on the wall, Romney's campaign and its friends at Karl Rove's billionaire funded super PAC have pulled their ads off the air in Pennsylvania and Mitt's home state of Michigan, both once considered battleground states.
With great gusto the Republican nominee's campaign announced this week that it would begin airing ads individually tailored for eight competitive states. The swing states of Nevada, New Mexico, and Paul Ryan's Wisconsin didn't make the cut.
In Ohio, internal polling for both Obama and Republicans have the President up by nearly double digits -- which is likely the reason Romney pulled his adds off the air throughout much of the Buckeye State as well.
The whole ordeal has tea partiers across the country obsessively fingering the buttons on their Electoral College calculators again and again, convinced that math -- like the media, science, letters, colors and shapes -- must have a sinister liberal bias. How else could they be losing to a Kenyan-born, Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Stalinist, Maoist, Leninist, ist- cetera liberal?
Oh, the irony of seeing the "states' rights" crowd in such a state-driven pickle.
What's the Romney camp to do with the White House slipping beyond reach and its campaign quickly entering Goldwater-esque Electoral College loss territory? Reprise the same game plan that worked so well in the 2012 Republican primaries: fight dirty.
And before my conservative friends start spouting bologna about how negative the President's campaign has been, they should pick up a phone and call John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and just about anyone else who has ever challenged the pioneer of outsourcing at the ballot box. To them, he's the pioneer of mudslinging.
In his latest television spot, Romney includes footage of Bill Clinton saying, "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I have ever seen," in an apparent swipe at Obama's handling of the economy. Of course, Clinton supports Obama and didn't say those words in 2012 -- he said them in 2008 when then-candidate Obama was challenging his wife for the Democratic nomination and it had nothing to do with the economy.
The ripe scent of political desperation you smell in the air has a name and that name is Willard Mitt Romney. As the stench worsens the former Massachusetts Governor and his campaign team will become increasingly nasty and misleading.
Remember, it was the Republican standard-bearer's own pollster who just days ago said, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."
In Tampa, Romney told America, "I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed." It was the same poll-tested message Rove has been pushing in an effort to curry favor with undecided voters who like Obama but aren't sold on Republicans.
I'm willing to ignore the fact that Romney said he wanted Obama to fail just two months after the new President was sworn into office. I'm willing to ignore the fact that Paul Ryan attended a secret meeting on the night of Obama's inauguration to discuss ways of crippling his fledgling presidency. I'm willing to ignore the fact that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said years ago that, "the single most important thing [Senate Republicans] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." I'm even willing to ignore the existence and history of the tea party movement and Fox News.
I'm willing to ignore all of it, but I have one condition.
When Obama is reelected on November 6 and he puts his hand on the bible to swear his oath of office in January, the Republican Party and its cheerleaders must adopt Romney's retroactive best wishes of success for the President and get the hell out of the way so he can do his job and get this country back to work.
You see, Mitt Romney's October surprise has arrived early. It is the sad reality that his toughest decisions next year will be what color cravat to wear at his wife's next horse ballet competition and not the choices he'd hoped to make behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office.
Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and YouTube, or sign up to receive his columns and updates by email.
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