Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
The short of this essay: interventions don’t work until the person drops the diversionary excuses and realize, they’re actually the one with the problem. In the 2012 presidential campaign, yes Mitt Romney has made some technical mistakes, but still, Mitt Romney’s campaign is the diversionary excuse. The GOP is the one with the intervention-worthy problem.
The knives are coming after Mitt Romney. Many wielded by his own party Republican and conservative brethren. Bill Kristol, Erick Erickson, Rush Limbaugh, David Brooks, and Peggy Noonan plunging devastating messages of criticism into the heart of his campaign. Remarks fueled by disappointment and anger from Romney’s string of gaffes and the resulting plummeting poll numbers. But let’s be honest, if his poll numbers were better, this wouldn’t be happening. This is an attempt to (only politically) assassinate Mitt Romney in order for people who want a career in the GOP past the election to preemptively cut themselves loose from Romney so they can turn around and only blame him for what seems to be an imminent loss for the campaign. This while the greater GOP collective are readying to bury Mitt Romney after the election with the epitaph, “He wasn’t a true conservative. If we had someone who expressed our true values, we’d have won.”
That may make some GOP feel good. But it’s not true.
Those he’s a pragmatist at heart, Mitt Romney essentially took dictation from the loudest conservative voices and spent most of his campaign regurgitating the expressed values of the modern GOP. Even against unpopular demographic and public sentiment that kept crashing into Romney’s campaign like storm waves. Waves that, despite damaging the ship, Romney didn’t veer from course. If Mitt falls, it will be partially due to being the water carrier of the new GOP politics. He a salesman selling some unpopular products. That is something the GOP needs to accept.
Let’s take the way back machine to January of 2012. When Republicans thought Mitt Romney or any Republican candidate that got through the GOP primaries was on a runaway train to the presidency. Not a crazy thought due to a weakened and economically compromised Barack Obama. Like what are called runaway bills in Congress, the party fiscal and social conservatives tried to load the Romney runaway train up with legislative earmarks, policy obligations and uncompromising stances of various issues in exchange for their support. Every policy and initiative they wanted to arrive in the White House the same time as Romney did.
Instead of making the Romney campaign stronger, it weighed it down. It limited it. The Romney campaign was a train that could move, but in only one direction well. Along the straight ideological track. Any attempt to veer to please, reach or court of new constancy into the GOP tent looked awkward and vain. And if it did move, like Romney taking credit or finding a positive side of Obamacare/Romneycare, more stanchly conservative quickly in the party snapped it back to its one ideologically dictated direction. The pick of “fiscal intellect” Paul Ryan was Romney promise to assure and excite GOP voters this ideological train was not going off track. That he would stick to their message.
Unfortunately this gave Mitt Romney no room to move on immigration, abortion, taxes or government spending. Or even just to mention that he would be flexible. The times he tried to bend, even a little, produced howls on the right and rushed retractions (of “he’s not really for that) from his campaign staff. This eventually damaged Romney as it gave the Romney campaign the perpetual look at having a tin ear to voters concerns when, in reality, it was all the movement it could muster being in a tight conservative ideology box. To mix metaphor a box that has put him between a rock and a hardline stance.
Even the 47% even wasn’t a gaffe. The notion that 47% of the public don’t pay taxes and are lazy has been in conservative circles and bantered on Fox News for years –actually decades by famous conservative authors. Paul Ryan’s ideology is based on it. Mitt’s sin was, like Todd Akin, was getting caught saying a GOP belief in a dose perfect for the highest level GOP supporters, like he people he was talking to at his fundraiser, but too way strong and honest for average, public consumption.
Mitt Romney promoted the policies he was asked. Is he the best salesman? Probably not. In reality, he just doesn’t believe in it. Following an ideology rather than leading with thoughtful solutions that he’s likely capable of. But did this Fuller brush salesman of conservative ideology show all the products in his sales case to the customer, the public? Yes he did. They just aren’t buying.
In marketing, that when you have to go back and ask yourself are you really selling a product the market wants?
So this is a good time for conservatives to not only see about a new salesman but a policy and ideology retool. Don’t just blame Mitt Romney. This intervention is for you.