Apparently, it was the victim of a mercurial drafting process that reflected the guy overseeing it -- Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's top strategist.
[Speechwriter Peter] Wehner came up with a draft he found pleasing, including the memorable line: “The incumbent president is trying to lower the expectations of our nation to the sorry level of his own achievement. He only wins if you settle.”
It also included a reference to Afghanistan, which was jettisoned with the rest of his work.
What emerged in place of that jettison...
The hasty process resulted in a colossal oversight: Romney did not include a salute to troops serving in war zones, and did not mention Al Qaeda or Afghanistan, putting him on the defensive on national security just as the Middle East was about to erupt.
It was also very light on policy specifics, much to the chagrin of conservatives who were certain the addition of Ryan and inclusion of Wehner meant a real battle of ideas was about to begin.
Read the rest of the extensive piece from Politico, detailing Mitt Romney's protracted woes and blaming much of it on Stevens.
It's not surprising that much of the blame would lie at Stevens' feet. After all, the article was "based on accounts from Romney aides, advisers and friends", and the guy at the top usually gets top blame for a campaign's flailing.
Remember what JFK said about victory having a thousand fathers and defeat an orphan. Well, apparently, possible defeat does have a father -- a single father, Stevens.
Having said that, the Romney campaign has made some inscrutable moves, stretching back to its decision to go hard right on immigration during the primary and, most recently, its failure to lay out a specific vision for what Romney wants to do.