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Can Romney cope in a crisis?

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Last Wednesday the Presidential campaign began for real. Next Wednesday it will take a two week break as the whole planet watches the London Olympics. Romney is trying to sell himself as a seasoned business executive who knows how to take tough decisions in a crisis situation. He now has seven days to turn his campaign around before the narrative defined by Team Obama sticks.

Team Romney was hoping to seize the media narrative by announcing their choice of Vice President. Instead they are going to spend the next seven days explaining why it is unfair for Romney to be held responsible for Bain Capital, why he won't release his donor lists and why voters should trust a corporate raider who won't reveal his tax returns.

The Romney campaign exhibits the same care and planning as his advisors put into the Iraq war. Obama's attack on Bain was certainly savage but it should not have been unexpected.

'Etch-a-Sketch' was an embarrassing but understandable slip of the tongue, a momentary slip of the tongue that unintentionally summed up Romney's post-truth campaign style. Gillespie used the phrase 'Retroactive Retirement' in a prepared response to a question he knew was going to be asked. It wasn't an accidental slip of the tongue, it was the best response that Team Romney could come up with.

The whole notion that business 'crises' remotely resemble government crises is nonsense. Worst case in the typical business crisis is you miss your numbers for the quarter and your bonus. Its a very rare business crisis where your job is on the line. I work in security and so we occasionally have situations that are rather more serious but they only rarely rise to the level of the A&E department at the local hospital.

The Presidency is in a completely different league. There is always at least one serious crisis in progress, often more, those crises develop in hours or days rather than months or years and the stakes are much more than mere money.

Another big difference between government and business is goodwill. When Romney went in to save the US Winter Olympics from the corruption scandal, pretty much everyone involved wanted him to succeed. In government there are more than a few people in your own party wanting to see you fail, let alone the opposition or a foreign government.

Nobody doubts Obama's ability to respond in a crisis, he has been doing the job for four years. Why should anyone believe that Romney can cope when he can't managed to run a political campaign which is the only thing he has been doing for the past six years?

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