My only female friend Sylvia--a Romney hater and Obama supporter--agres with me on two things. First, and of lesser importance, wsa that the COMBINED "image" of Romney and Ryan was just oo far away from too many ordinary people, and neither one had shown the ABILITY to bridge that "gap" (even if the "gap" were not rel). Romney looked like Romney looked like what he is: a rich, Wall St. type white guy. It was easy to portray him for whtat he may not have been: an "out of touch" guy who had no empathy for ordinary people at all. Ryan may have had woring class, Caholic roots, but he showed no abiity at all--even before he ws chosen VP candidate--to make up for the apparent LACK in Romney. Obama sold a caricature, but it was a caricature with plausibility to people who saw Romney inhabiting a totally different world from themselves. That, however, is nto the most important problem Romney had; a problem this blog identified way back when Romney was runnng for the GOP nominiatino, and at all times since (even after I fianlly endorsed Romney.
Romney had NO MESSAGGE. Worse, he have every appearnce of making it up as he went along. As I ha e said Obama LIES, and contradictgs today what he said yesterday. And Obama had SOME problem with "message", as to whether to attack Romney as "right wing", or (correctly) a preson without any prnicples at all. But Obama DID have THREE consistent messages:
1. I believe that Big Government can help peole AND the economy, and that is what I have tried to do with that mess I inherited from Bush, I still find it hard to beleive that the GOP let Obama get away with this, since OBAMA was PART of that "mess" Obama inherited--not an outsider. But it was still a consistent message: the idea that the Federal Government CAN DO THINGS FOR YOUI. Romney went back and forth as to whether he believes this general propositon himself.
2. Romney is that rich Wall St. white guy out of touch with ordinary people How was Romney to counter this? Not, I think, by how he tried: an atempt to portray himself as a "nice guy". Sure, he needed to come across as "optimistic" and "nice", while still having a POSITION. Obama HAD a posiotn, and said many MEAN SPRITIED THINGS. The mean spirited things did nto hurt him that much--lpartly becuse of tghe partisan media, but mainy because peoople thought they KNEW Obama. They not only did not think they knew Rmney, but correctly thiought that Romney made things up as he went along, depending on what he thought would help him win th eelection All politicians do this to a (large) degree, but Romney has taken it to a new level. Unlike Obama, wfho had a reserve of goodwill and the excuse of taking over a bad situation, rmoney had nothing to fal back on. He ight show he was not an ogre, but Romney could NOT et in the Wite House by constantly SAYING NOTHING i cnostantly shifting ways. Roney played PRESIDETN much better than he played CANDIDATE. If peole had known Romney for 4 years, and he had been competent in a way that did not seem totally out of touch, his campaign might have been okay As it was, it was a disaster. Romney got GIFTS from Obama in the nature of that first debate, and Obama's disgraceful handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Romney did not take ful advantage,becaue he was too wedded to SAYING NOTHING. This is Sylvia's main complaint against Romney: that he not only has no connectin with ordinary people, but that he obviusly will say AnYTHING to get elected. Now I thiik Obama is the most DISHONEST politician I have ever seen, or heard about. But people at least ThINK they know where Obama is coming from. Don't you? Of course you do, even if many people may not pay enough attentin to realize the many lies that Obama tells. But most peole don't CARFE about the lies ("all poiticins lie--it's politics"). Most peole THINK they KNOW Obama, while they had no idea who Romney is (beond that rich Wall St guy).
3. That war on women. Now this is primarily DISHOENST, but Notice this is about the most dishoenst major elecment of a campaign ever. But Romney gave Obama this one BY DEFAULT. To extent Romney "countered", he did so in a confussed and timid manner. He did not, for example., ATTACK Obama as EXTREME on abortion. He did not attack Planned Parenthood as EXTREME on abortin: a controversial organizatin which the government has no business subsidiizing-an organizatin with enough funding from people who agree with its extreme positoins. Romney made a half-hearted attempt to attract Catholics as to that "fre contraceptin" requirment. But did Romney ask why women should be GUARANTEED absolutely free contraception, when CANCER patients don't get absolutely free cancer treatment? Romney did not even attempt to make the pint that the problem with "free contraceptin, apart from Obama having no concept of a religious conscience, is that it is an attempt by GOVERNMENT to FORCE EVERYONE to pay for the things that OBAMA and PLANNED PARENTHOOD consider most important . Was "free" contraceptin the most IMPORTANT health issue out there? Not a chance. But Romhey was TOO TIMID to evgen try to make this argumetn. No comments like Newt Gingrich's "war on religion". No real attack on the Libyan terrorist attack, after Candy Crowly got him to back down in the secnd debate. No Gingrich type attacks on the MEDIA for helpng Obama make "issues' out of things not important to the country at this time. No Rmney comment on Obama tring to BRIBBE WOMEN.
Note that, ater initial flirtation, Obama did not really try to make a consistently strong push on MEDICARE and SOICAL SECUIRTY other than as part of the "out touch", tax the rich theme.
4. We need to address the deficit, and push "fairness", by TAXING THE RICH. Romney basiclaly echoed this theme, while pruproting to attack it. Romney kept using Obama language to emphasize that all of this proposed "tax breaks" would be for the "middle class" (defined the same way Obama did).
How did Romney win the primaries? The worong way . No "themes"". No ads in Ohion prsenting a Rmney MESSAGE upon whch Rmney could buikld in the general electin. I said so at the time, and I was right. Rmney had NO MESSAGE. He did his best to SAY NOTHING All he did was give relatively smooth politician answers, while his MONEY, ADS and the mainstream media TORE APART the opposion And Rmney stil almost lost, except Santorumm was never adequately funded and Gingrich self-destructed (on the edge of maybe knocking out Romney in Florida). Romney NEEDED to be deveoping THEMES in the GOP nominatin process. Instead, Rmney ATTACKED Rick Perry on immigratin. Romney ATTACKED Santorum as "too far right". Romney overwhelmed the field with NEGATIVE ADFS, and MONEY Romney's only real 'message" was that he ws the only candidate who could defeat Obama. He did not, did he? Could Santourm have done so? I think he could have, but the GOP establishment would probably have doomed him. The pont is, however, that Rmney was a WEAK candidate who never developed a MESSAGE (wither anti-Obama or positive). I said so at the time of the GOP nominatin fight . Yep. I told you so again. But, unlike Rush Limbaugh (wrong again, as he usually is when he disaggrees with me), I never changed my mind . Romney actualy did get "better", but NEVER developed really consistent MESSAGES. Romney basically won the nominatin with the OBAMA METHOD: Present yourself as inevitable and TEAR DOWN your opponents. JProblem, as I said at the time: OBAMA was in the positon of ROMNEY in the general electin, and this technique could not possibly work against Obama. It did not.
Doubt me? What was the END messsagge of the Obama campaign? You now this one. BIPARTISANSHIP: "reaching across the aisle to get things done." Say what? Do you see why peolle likeke Sylvia had WhIPLASH.? Where did his OVRRIDING THEME come fro? I know. It has always been part of the Romney campaign that he was able to "wrok with Democrats" in Masachusetts. I understand that Romney could never have made that the main part of his nomination bid. However, it was NEVER the main theme of his GENERAL ELECTIN bid, until the last 10 days or so. DISASTER. I say that even though I thought Romney did this 'message" BETTER than he did any other in the campaign He was OPTIMISTIC about America. he told POSITIVE stories. He gently painted Obama as a falilure, but was not mean spirited. And Romney was again HELPED by Obama becoming MEAN SPRIRITED and PARTISAN in the extreme, at the end. If it were not for the TIMEOUT provided by Sandy, and "friend" (enemy?) Christie providng that bear hug undermining the "bipartisan" message, mayybe Romney could have squeaked it out. But ti was NOT a consistent THEME. It came out of basically nowhere, after Romney sarted off the electin seeming to think he would win jsut ont the anti-Obama vote.
No. This lack of consistent messages was FATAL to the Romney campaign. It almsot lost him the nominatin, and it did lose himm the general elecitn. A WEAK CANDIDATE (as I said all along). Rush Limbagh came around to "all in" for Romney because Romney is LIMBAUGH'S KIND OF PERSON (even if Limbaugh will tell yu that Romney is not his kind of ideological conservative). On this, Limbuagh is "out of touch" (and hyperpartisan, plus being a sore loser). I am "in touch" (even as a hermit), and was this whole electin.
What could Rmoney have done? Hey . I am not him, and don't agree with him politicallly. But he NEEDED some CONSISTENT MESSAGES. He had none. He would not even stand by the messages he had, when cahallenged. I stil remember that Rmney BACKED OFF of his initial criticism of Obama on Libya. I told you how bad that was, in this blog. THAT is the consistent TJHEME of Romney: Be CAREFUL, and back off if you get a seruous challegne. Let me give you a picutre of what Romney COULD have done: FREEDOM, COMPETENCE and COMMUNICATIN. I know how to manage (quoting Tony LaRussa). President Obama does not. I can manage the Federal Government better than he can. But I won't USE the Federal Government to take away yur FREEDOm: to force you to have the kind of health care HE wants you to have; to have the kind of bsuness HE wanst you to have; to have the kind of regulatins HE wants you to have; to ignore th LAWS he wants to ignore; to have the kind of economy and LIVES he wants you to have. Communicatin. This means "reaching across the aisle", the way I did in Massachusetts, but it means more than that. It does not mean giving up your rinciples. But it means COMMUNICATIN with the other side. I itned, as President, to CoMMUNICATE with Congress--including with the other siide. I intned to COMMICATE with Hispanics--about any speical conscers but also about wht is best for ALL American citizens. I intend to COMMUICATE with African-Americans: not about how to KEEP tthem DEPENDENT on the FederalGovernment, but how to give them the opportunity to get out of that dependency Democrats have left them in. With the help of Ann, I intend to COMMUNICATE with women. This does not mean abandoning my prolife principles, but it does mean trying to make sure I don't have tunnel vision as to things that are really important to womne's lives. One thing I am sure of is that the ECNOMY is the MOST important thing for the lives of women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and everyone else. This is not a zero-sum game. We are all in tit together. The poor cannot depend on an ever fewer number of very rich peole to support them The rich can't depend on constant bailuts when they are stupid. What I now is that I can MANGE the government in a way that gives our economy the best chance to improve the lives of EVERyONE I have shown I can do it, and I can President Obama has shown he has no clue, exept to blame eveyrone else (as he did with the Libyan terrorist attack). We need effective management, communicaitn and freedom. Our free market economy ,and values, have made us the greatet country in the world I am confident we can be even better if we change this wrong path we are on. That is the LAST thing we need: Real change, and not the old partisan leftist ideology packaged in misleading words.
Oh. Did I mentin that Rmney also tired a "message" of CHANGE, but at the last minute. Again, I thought that was a fairly effective message, but one that should have been there even in the NOMINATIN. Romney was th e"outsider" in this elecitn, but he never acted that way until the end. Sure, he talked aobut his business experience, but nver BOURGHT IT HOME by contrasting it with Obma's life in government, INCLUDING IN WASHINGTON all of the time the conmy was collapsing. I thought Rmney did beter on "change' toward the end. Too little, too late.
Do you like my verson of an effective Romney campaign (which maybe I should have provided Romney earlier)? No? Well, it does not matter Romney NEEDED some consistent MESSAGES that seemed part of a real strategy, and not just made up as he went along to see if he gained votes. I am right abut this, and Rush Limbaugh is WRONG (listening to what he wanted to hear, and not the lack of real message in what Romney awas saying).
P.S. No proofreading or spell checking. (bad eyesight). This will be basicaly my las comment on why Romney lOST, cept for criticizing media and other absurdities as they rear their ugly head. Contrary to Limbaugh, Coulter and others, I am certain Rmoney COULD have WON this electin by a large margin He was just a bad candidate. Whehter the GOP had any better candidate is intresting specualitin, and I don't think it is obvius the GOP did. However, that the othe potential candiates were no great shakes does not change the relevant fact; Romney was a BAD candidate, no matter how many others were worse.