In his column today, Steve Huntley breaks down what he sees as the basic choice voters have in this presidential election - stick with the guy everybody like as a person, but who can't deliver jobs . . . or go with the stiff fellow who knows how to get people back to work.
The presidential campaign, at the start of the Republican National Convention, seemed to boil down to this: President Barack Obama is the candidate with a high likability rating while Mitt Romney is seen as the better man for handling the economy. In other words, who would you rather have for president the next four years, the affable guy who can trade jokes with you in the unemployment line or the stiff character who would actually put you back to work?
The flip side of the conventional wisdom about Obama's likability edge is that Romney has to use the convention in Tampa to "reintroduce" and "redefine" himself. Romney needs a softer, more huggable version of himself, this line of thinking goes, because unless independent voters come to like him more, they'll stick with nice guy Obama and hope against hope that his policies that have failed for nearly four years to invigorate the economy will somehow, some way finally bring a new morning of prosperity.
Oh well, we should never underestimate the power of hope to triumph over reality.