September 17, 2012

Can Romney Win?

The man with the plan.
Of course Mitt Romney can win the presidency. There's a lot of polling trying to convince voters that Obama has the election wrapped up but those are potentially misleading.  There were two articles on Hot Air today about Romney possibly changing direction because, as the press wants voters to think, they need a course correction to avoid an utter humiliating defeat. The first post by Ed Morrissey points out that the comical media narrative has lost it's focus.  The second by Allahpundit notices that maybe there are some truths in one stream of the narrative.  But while there is a media-contrived narrative in play, there are some dots that can still be connected.  So let's connect them.

Let's start with Allahpundit's post.  He points out that Romney does indeed seem to be shifting his focus to more policy specifics:
A footnote to Ed’s post from this morning about the ever-shifting media narrative on Mitt’s next move. Whichever strategy he settles on, filling in the blanks on policy will be part of it:
“We do think the timing is right to reinforce more specifics about the Romney plan for a stronger middle class,” said Romney adviser Ed Gillespie on a conference call with reporters Monday morning. Voters can expect, he said, more specifics on how Romney’s plans to expand domestic energy production and crack down on unfair trade policies from China will help the middle class...
They’ve shied away from specifics on some policies so far because providing them would give Obama’s team a target, and that would upset the broader Romney strategy of making the election a referendum on O. Sounds like they’ve now abandoned the referendum strategy, though (I thought they had abandoned it when they named Ryan VP), and so if they’re going to offer voters a choice, they might as well make that choice as vivid as possible. I think it’s useful to do this, not because the sort of casual swing voter who spends more time watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” than the news cares about Romney’s 18-point plan on energy, but because (a) pushing out specific proposals gives Romney more control of the day-to-day media narrative on the race and (b) it helps fill him out in voters’ minds as something more than just “Not Obama.” One of his biggest problems so far, I think, is that it’s been hard to answer the question, “What is his campaign about?”
That ties in directly to what I said last week - Romney needs to win this, not wait for Obama to lose:
Either way the contender will have to get the White House the old fashioned way - he'll have to earn it, to paraphrase John Houseman.

The more I think about that the more I like it. After all, the economy being as bad as it is presents a reason not to vote for the current guy, but it doesn't make the case for the other guy. That's how we ended up with BHO.

Romney needs to earn his presidency. He needs to fight for it. He can't coast into it on Obama's badness or else we will get yet another ersatz president. Romney needs to do more than he has done to date. He's presented the case that he has business experience. He used the convention to humanize himself.

...He has to present his plan for recovery.
Remember this from Romney's convention acceptance speech?
"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet," Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was expected to say. "My promise is to help you and your family".
There's the last dot to connect. Romney is pivoting though the press may choose to mock him for it. He needs to give voters a reason to vote FOR him, not just against the other guy. So he's going to get more specific. He may worry it opens him up to more press attacks on the validity of his plan but it does prove he has a plan. The other guy's plan hasn't worked. Let the press bash away. It proves Romney has a different plan, and he can explain why it can work. It also proves he is flexible and can pivot. That's an asset, because steadfast adherence to a bad plan (see Obama) is clearly not an asset. It also proves he is paying attention - to the polls, to the electorate and to the need to do and say more. Getting specific will appeal to conservatives who want details, and it will appeal to voters who want to know more. In short, pivoting now, before the debates after which it may be too late, is critical to his success. Romney set in motion this pivot weeks ago during the convention in Tampa by saying he would help.  Unlike Obama, who didn't say how he would slow the rise of the oceans because he didn't need to, and couldn't, Romney has to have a plan, and now he has to show it.

Fair ball.
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