People have a very negative opinion of the GOP. Typically, GOP operatives think this is a messaging problem. If they could just talk about how awesome the economy will be under Romney/Cantor/McConnell, then the American people will welcome them as liberators with candy and flowers.
The problem isn't how the GOP is getting its message across. This isn't about the news cycle or the ads being run. It's because Todd Akin is not out of step with the GOP position on abortion. It's because Paul Ryan's plan to gut Medicare in order to give massive tax cuts to the rich was voted for by almost the entire GOP House. It's because - as was tweeted by someone cleverer than me - "The Republicans can't even attract a female hurricane to Tampa." It's because if you're Hispanic, gay or opposed to invading Iran, the GOP primary was a months long contest to see who could call you the worst names. It's because the House has spent more time trying to defund Planned Parenthood than create jobs.
I will not watch the convention from gavel to gavel next week. I'll try and catch the highlights, but I imagine what we will see is an endless parade of lies and mendacity. They are going to obscure and warp the truth o what they really believe. Take Todd Akin for instance. What he believes is firmly entrenched in the GOP platform. He and Paul Ryan co-sponsored bills that talk about "forcible" rape. But watch them try and pivot off this. Watch them lie about welfare and Medicare. The welfare attacks have gotten so bad that they risk turning every single media outlet against them. (OK, not Fox, I'm talking legitimate media.)
The question is: Is it possible to change people's minds about the GOP? How deeply felt is the antipathy towards the Republican party? Because if they can't change the conversation to something positive, they can't win the election. Period.
Right now, the general mood of the American people can probably be described thusly:
"I like Obama, but I'm disappointed we haven't turned the economy around, and I'm not sure what's in this health care thing. I don't really care for this Romney guy, but he's a successful businessman and maybe that's what we need, but the rest of the GOP seems kind of crazy."
Romney needs to talk about something BESIDES Medicare and abortions and brown people, but his party (and his own pick of Ryan) won't let him.
Obama needs to do this:
Also, too: Romney is a terrible politician. Good luck "messaging" around that in Tampa.
UPDATE: In related news, Romney has the support of 0% of the African American population. Not within-the-margin-of-error.... Zero percent.