Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Republicans questioning Romney's strategy

Its becoming clear that Mitt Romney thinks he can win this election by playing on doubt and insecurity while trashing President Obama. That's why he isn't bothering to develop a message of his own and is content to simply become a serial liar when it comes to Obama. He thinks this is a strategy for success in 2012.

But you can tell that the Republican intelligentsia is getting nervous about this approach. Here's a few that have voiced their concerns recently.

Bill Kristol
Which brings us to Mitt Romney. He’s had a good beginning to his general election campaign. But he could do more, it seems to us, to help mold public sentiment​—​to explain, to quote Lincoln again, “where we are, and whither we are tending,” so as to help us “better judge what to do, and how to do it.” He could do more to put his particular criticisms of the Obama administration in a broader context, and to frame his own proposals in a more comprehensive narrative. After all, Romney has to convince the American public that they need to do something they’re not usually inclined to do​—​replace a sitting president with a challenger.
Peggy Noonan
More important, when you're good at politics you know what you have to do, if not immediately then soon. Mr. Romney has to give us a plan. He has to tell us his priorities. To lead is to prioritize, to choose: "We will take this path, at this speed, toward this end." He hasn't done this yet.
Even Scott Walker
“I don’t think we win if it’s just a referendum on Barack Obama. I think people like Paul Ryan and others hope that he [Romney] goes big and bold,” Walker said. His comments broke from the standard Republican emphasis on making this year’s presidential race about Obama’s record in office.
I'm not so sure Romney can heed this advice. First of all, its clear he doesn't have any core convictions on which to base a vision. Jay Smooth recently captured this well in describing Romney as the "meh" candidate mostly resembling the lead character in Woody Allen's movie Zelig.

The second reason that Romney can't take this advice is that the minute he gets specific about a vision, he'll expose the very deep fissions within the Republican Party right now. The best example of this is how he's waffled on the issue of immigration since the end of the Republican primary. He's between a rock and a hard place with his need to win over Latino voters without losing the nativist teapartiers.

Finally, the minute Romney decides to start talking specifically about his vision for how to move the economy forward, it will become obvious to everyone that, as Bill Clinton said, all he's got is Bush policies on steroids. Most voters are still very aware that it was those policies that got us into this mess in the first place and (regardless of what the teapartiers say) don't want to go back there.

And so Mitt Romney is left with what even many Republicans are forecasting is a losing strategy of lies, distortions and blame. To quote Blackman from the comments..."they've got nothin'."

1 comment:

  1. "the minute Romney decides to start talking specifically about his vision for how to move the economy forward, it will become obvious to everyone that, as Bill Clinton said, all he's got is Bush policies on steroids."

    This is the most important thing. Romney is in an extraordinarily difficult position and has been from the start. There is a lot of work to be done on our side for sure, but while the economy--gee, a stagnating, over-financialized late capitalism, imagine that--is going slower than hoped, everything else works in the President's favor, except, in 3-5 point margin if the article I just read is accurate, the color of his skin.

    Someone really special on the GOP side would have to stich a win together, barring catastrophe. I.e., a person who could really connect with people. Problem is, in order to connect with the current GOP base, you have to, ipso facto, not connect with most other people.

    Kristol, Scott, Noonan, they all exist in small social worlds. Their sense of normal is very warped. They really believe that this is a "center-right" country, and that that translates into support for austerity budgets. They're wrong.