President Obama came to the White House with big plans. He’d halve the deficit. Strengthen the economy. Lower unemployment. What did we get? National Debt over 15 trillion and climbing. Unemployment above 8 percent for 40 straight months. An ongoing economic crisis with no end in sight. He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change. – RNC ad transcript

MITT ROMNEY’S foreign policy tour has gone as bad as it can get. That he wasn’t doing anything except trying to look presidential makes it worse. But will any of it matter?

During the cascade of events that had Mr. Romney going from one gaffe to another I asked myself the question that titles this post. A reader put it another way in the comments.

I wonder how much any of this minutiae will matter if the economy doesn’t improve. – reader PWT in a comment

Mitt Romney should already be ahead with the economy this listless, but he isn’t and we saw why illustrated in his lack of political pitch in London to his insulting diplomatic comments about the Palestinians, with his negatives even higher than Obama’s, which have risen 5 points with all the negative ads he’s doing. It’s why Team Obama crafted “The Choice.”

The other side of that is that Pres. Obama wouldn’t be in this mess if he’d decided to craft an economic message a long time ago that threaded from TARP through the stimulus and health care and into the middle class wage fights instead of always weighting compromise toward conservatism, which meant following the Tea Party as they dragged Republicans around by their lost principles. But then that would mean he’d be someone other than who he is.

Answers to questions like the ones above won’t be known until after Election Day.

What we do know is that Romney’s foreign policy tour was ill-planned and not thought out and his briefings were obviously not very good.

What we also know is voters aren’t impressed with anyone this election and who can blame them?

But to change from an incumbent, the challenger must offer a pretty solid case he’s competent on matters that include being commander in chief. However, bad economic times makes the bar on foreign policy a lot lower.

Team Romney knows that foreign policy is a very weak point with their candidate, which is why they decided on the current trip in the first place. Epitomized by Team Romney’s “shove it,” the entire narrative doesn’t help and Romney, as the challenger to the incumbent, can’t keep adding negatives.

Yet the economics of the election remain against Pres. Obama.

If Romney’s team quickly switches to a “referendum” on the Obama presidency after their convention, they’ll have the money to start pounding Obama, which absolutely has the potential of bringing the race back in his favor. Unless, of course, the Republican convention is a boring bust.

Democrats have San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro keynoting the convention, with Elizabeth Warren the opening act for Pres. Bill Clinton on another night, who will nominate Pres. Obama.

Meanwhile, Romney’s stiff deliberating over Sarah Palin’s presence, coupled with the vice presidential nominee, after his disastrous foreign policy trip, loom larger than ever.

Obama can lose this election.

Romney can do a lot to make that happen, with the RNC ad above a path to help, but not how he and his team are performing right now.

A reader of my piece over at TMV titled “Romney Foreign Policy Tour Turns Into Gaffe Watch,” wrote something that emphasizes the Republican National Committee ad perfectly:

Seriously, Obama is a nice guy, but so is a drunken sailor with a months pay on shore leave for the weekend. I know Romney stinks, especially around here, but some people who think we are headed for bankruptcy will decide to gamble on a different horse, not named hope and change. – TMV reader dduck

Pres. Obama’s waited a long to time craft an economic message and begin convincing the American people he knows what he’s doing. That’s always been an issue and it isn’t going away.