The Romney campaign is better at dismantling than mantling. They're better at taking opponents apart than building a compelling candidate of their own. They do not seem capable of deepening his meaning, making his stands and statements more textured and interesting.
A particular problem is that he betrays little indignation at any of our problems and their causes. He's always sunny, pleasant, untouched by anger. This leaves people thinking, "Excuse me, but we are in crisis. Financially and culturally we fear our country is going down the drain. This guy doesn't seem to be feeling it.
There has been low turnout in the Republican races. Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri this week were all down, Iowa and New Hampshire were flat, Florida, that Little America, was down almost 15%. All this in a volatile race, in a time of crisis.
What are the reasons? Maybe it's the increasing negativity of the campaign, maybe it's widespread dissatisfaction with the field. Maybe it's that, and more.
There are some small indicators something else may be going on. Cable news ratings, which should spike in an election year, and which indicate interest on both the left and the right, are relatively flat.
None of them light our fire.
As for the president's interviews and other speeches, well, when was the last time you heard someone ask excitedly, "Did you hear what Obama said?"
Whose numbers are up? The NFL's.
Maybe the story the political class is missing is not "They don't like the Republican field," or "They don't like Obama." Maybe the story is that people are tuning out altogether. Maybe they're bored with politics, and most especially with politicians. Maybe they think our government can't solve anything. Maybe, even, our political class has done such a good job depicting the crisis we're in that the American people, with their low faith in institutions, think nothing, really, can be done about it. So let's check out. Let's watch the game.