**updated--never try to rush out a blog post at 3am before going to work**
Many Republicans I know have spent a lot of time gloating on how Obama "was in trouble" because he was going to have to start explaining himself for the terrible economic performance.
These, "its the economy, stupid" Republicans I know have been caught off guard by Romney picking such a radical right wing VP because this clearly changes the narrative that the Romney campaign had been preparing them to expect.
Now, we've shifted gears and this election is no longer about Obama's job performance, its now about a "choice" of priorities between Ayn Randian radicalism vs moderate conservatism of Obama.
Rather than move to the center and try to win over independents Romney has made a radical shift to the right to mobilize his base and highlight differences between the GOP and Obama; as a way of distraction, sadly, from what really is the most important issue this generation faces--mass unemployment and unutilized economic resources.
Well the economic recovery continued--too slow for comfort, but onwards never the less--and it became clear to the Romney camp that the "Obama recovery" was not going to stall out before election day. The job numbers for July saw the economy add 163,000 jobs which was its fastest rate of job growth since February and many experts are projecting job growth to average 160,000-180,000 a month for the rest of the year.
Bear in mind that the Federal government could do something right now to get Americans back to work. But that is not a discussion Romney wants to have as it runs counter to his narrative and would further frustrate his base who don't care about the unemployed.
The Romney camp realized they had to shift away from talking specifics about the economy or Obama's job performance because campaigning against Obama on the economy is just not going to be a winning sell--the job growth is too strong and any solutions that legitimate economist would propose to spur on growth would tick off his base.
What's this you say? The Obama recovery is stronger than the Bush recovery?!? I know, you probably didn't realize that. I personally blame liberal media bias for the fact that people don't know this recovery is better than Bush's. But it is really important to point out.
I ran over to the Minneapolis Fed and ran the numbers side by side (as posterous doesn't seem to want to upload my screen shot i'm sending you to twitter).
If Romney spent a lot of time digging into Obama's economic preformace all team Obama would need to do is remind voters that the "Obama recovery" has been stronger than the Bush recovery of 2001-2004 and "what exactly, Mr. Romney, are you proposing we do different?" So Romney had to change the subject.
Romney's economic team was built directly from Bush administration, so the stewards of the "Bush boom" are speaking from experience and its not one that most Americans want to relive. I think the media was starting to take note and dig deeper into the "Romney plan" only to find that there wasn't one--as he's provided zero specific's to allow the Congressional Budget Office to even score his economic plans.
In the end it was becoming more and more clear--and much easier to point out to voters who aren't happy with the "Obama recovery"--that the Bush recovery was worse and Team Romney was providing a prescription for heading us down a path of weaker economic performance and tax cuts for the 1%.
Ergo enter Paul Ryan.