Don't blame Romney's campaign for his struggles

But blaming the locals is especially foolish in Romney’s case. Washington people like consultant Stuart Stevens have been part of his 2012 campaign from the start. “This is a big team that’s been around the track a few times,” said one Massachusetts-based Republican strategist who asked not to be identified. “This is not Eric Fehrnstrom and Beth Myers [another longtime Boston adviser] sitting around Mitt Romney and saying, ‘How are we going to handle this?’ It’s not even accurate anymore to say ‘Boston people’ are calling the shots.”

The bigger problem, Republican strategists say, is that tactical decisions cannot change what Romney did as governor…

Todd Domke, another Republican strategist based in Massachusetts, said he was “surprised and shocked” when he first heard Fehrnstrom agree with the Obama view of penalty versus tax. But he also said he understands Romney’s dilemma — and Fehrnstrom’s.

As Domke sees it, Fehrnstrom was trying to protect Romney from an “Etch A Sketch” moment — the very kind Fehrnstrom described on national TV in the spring, when he was asked how Romney would adjust to general-election politics after being pushed to the right during primary season.