An Odd Problem For Romney: Obama Has So Many Weaknesses
The title seems bizarre, doesn’t it? How can your political opponent have too many weaknesses? Of course, the answer is that he can’t. The more weaknesses your opponent has, the better. Barack Obama is one giant walking bag of political weakness. Off the top of my head, just to name a partial list: He’s bankrupting the country, killing Medicare, is behind Obamacare, backed bailouts and supports more via Dodd-Frank, his massive stimulus failed, he’s pro-illegal immigration, pro-gay marriage, he’s raised taxes, is torpedoing the economy, he’s the food stamp and welfare President, the Middle East is burning, he’s losing the war in Afghanistan — it just goes on and on and on. This is why people look at this election and think Romney should be ahead by 10 points.
However, keep in mind that the liberals in the mainstream media are essentially acting as an arm of Obama’s campaign. They’re doing everything they can to protect Obama and hurt Romney. Still, that’s how it always works, isn’t it? An attack is made on the candidate, the media deflects. It makes mountains out of molehills with the Republican. That’s just how it goes.
Here’s one of the places Romney is getting into trouble: His campaign strategists have no theme other than “America’s comeback team” — which they haven’t pushed all that hard and there’s no sharp focus. They’re hitting Obama in one place today and another place the next week. None of the attacks are particularly pointed either. Obama on the other hand, despite running a terrible campaign, does at least have a theme and a focus.
He’s for moving “forward” while Romney wants to move “backward.” He’s for the middle class, while Romney is for the rich. He’s for the working guy here in America, while Romney wants to send jobs overseas.
Are those particularly strong themes? No. Are they particularly effective? No, but they’re not completely ineffective either and something beats nothing.
There are tons of potential themes Romney could be hammering home, some of which he’s dabbled with already.
Romney could portray himself as the turnaround artist who’ll fix the economy that Obama couldn’t. He could hammer home the fact that he’ll save Medicare while Obama will bankrupt it. He could pledge to be the President who’ll put America back to work while Obama will put Americans on food stamps. He could portray this as a choice between the American Dream and a long, slow decline. He could emphasize that this election will decide whether the American healthcare system will be forever destroyed with Obamacare or saved or improved through free market choices.
Once you choose your core messages, then you hammer them home again and again. You talk about them, your spokesmen push them, your supporters know what they are, your ads touch on them, you draw sharp distinctions. Sure, you hit targets of opportunity and defend yourself, but you also try to create 3 or 4 key distinctions in the mind of the voters that you want them thinking about down the stretch.
Simply put: The Romney campaign isn’t doing this. It’s hitting this, it’s hitting that, but the core of Romney’s message is: I’m not Obama. The voters seem to be replying with, “Okay, so what else do you have?” Romney needs to do a better job of answering that question.