How Mitt Romney Could Resuscitate His Campaign

I am down on Mitt Romney’s chances of becoming the 45th president of the United States, and I doubt that anything significant will happen to shake my pessimism. But one of the best things that Romney could do in order to make a political comeback is to spend his vast campaign wealth on political ads that make him out to be a good and decent human being. Pro-Romney Super PACs would be well-advised to do the same thing. And you know what? Those ads would have the virtue of being true.

“Action is eloquence,” as Shakespeare wrote, and Mitt Romney’s actions towards his fellow human beings–to which he has drawn little attention in the presidential race (a trait as admirable as it is infuriating to his supporters)–do more to reveal Romney’s heart and character than do surreptitiously recorded comments at a private fundraiser.

Of course, it says something about my increasing lack of faith in the Romney campaign that I believe that pro-Romney Super PACs are more likely to highlight the governor’s good deeds than is his campaign. But Ricochet has a substantial audience and there is a chance that one of its readers might work for the campaign, so . . .

  1. Doc Stephens

    You’ve fallen victim to the utterings of the Court of Eunuchs (MSM).  Cheer up!  Romney’s winning in the swing states and he’s winning overall.  Don’t pay any attention to the Gallup poll.  It is of registered voters and oversamples Democrats.  The Rasmussen daily tracking poll samples likely voters and Romney is leading and trending up in the swing states.  Ahead are four debates and a potpourri of October surprises.

  2. Skyler

    Your pessimism is ridiculous.  I think Doc’s Court of the Eunochs analogy is spot on.  Few are even paying attention at this time.  This video that the pundits keep talking about is not noticed by the vast majority.  It’s only September, the economy is in the tank, and our ambassadors being killed and nothing Obama is doing is reflecting well on our country.  

    We should urge more action, but to say that you’ve given up hope so soon is absurd.

  3. Indaba

    I could not disagree with you more because attack ads work. Attack ads that point out the truth work.

    Romney has a great advertisement now with a mother and baby girl where the ad says she is born oweing $50,000.  It is being discussed on the mommy blogs. They did not know about that level of debt and who was on the hook. Great attack.

    Who wants a nice guy as leader when the car is going off the cliff? I apologize for being Canadiancentric, but Stephen Harper, conservative leader of a socialist country, does not run as a nice guy. He uses aggressive attack ads against his opposition and gets personal. The last election, the ads pointed out Ignatief was from Russian royalty, more interested in foreign policy and had spent 20 years at Harvard. The ads attacked asking, is Canada a pet project and an academic exercise only, does this guy prefer to be at Harvard? Ignatief lost and is back on Harvard’s payroll. Was it mean? Sure. Did it work? Absolutely. 

    Romney is seen to be freaky, forget changing it. That leaked tape was good. He told a truth. Now attack Obama.

  4. ctruppi

    Romney does not need to be more “human” whatever that means.  He needs to project leadership and competence.  Right now the only reason Obama is even in the race is that many folks are saying ‘why change the head guy when nothing’s going to change anyway’.  I think most people would jump at the chance to vote for Romney if they thought he could get things done, regardless of how they feel about his humanity. 

    He had the right instincts after Cairo and should have been beating that drum everyday since then.  Americans would love to hear what he said in a forceful way. The contrast with Obama’s whiny responses and jetting off the Vegas and Letterman would have added to the scary scenes on tv.  The same thing with this latest video.  O’Reilly had a great “talking points memo” last night that Charles Krauthammer basically said, if Romney said the same thing he’d be POTUS.

    Stay on message.   Stay conservative.  Have principles. Trust the American people. 

  5. Strategoist

    Simply put, you predict that Obama gets the same vote he got 4 years ago. 

    I’m sorry, but that is the least likely outcome.  Even skewed polls struggle to get Obama 50%.  Where is he going to find that 5-8% to get him to 53%?  If Obama wins, it’ll be 50.1%-the 0.1% being dead folks and voters bussed into Ohio from Illinois. 

    I realize you don’t want to read critical responses, but I’m not calling you a loser or wobbly.  I just think you’ve misread the situation, and are basing your conclusions off the wrong assumptions.  You reasoning is wrong, not your fighting spirit. :)

  6. Pejman Yousefzadeh

    I didn’t say that negative ads aren’t needed. But Romney needs to give people a reason to vote for him as well.

  7. bagodonuts

    Pejman, I applaud your honesty. Conservatives can’t just wish away stumbles – we have to work harder.

    While showing Romney’s honor and compassion would be good, the focus has to be on the economy and on the lack of leadership from Obama. While this is merely negative, the positive messaging has to be that Romney can provide leadership and can fix the economy.

  8. AUChief

    The sort of information I think you mean was forwarded to me in an e-mail. It is purported to be from the couple who bought the Romney’s home by the name of Corinne and Hal Prewitt. I could not verify from snopes. If true it tells the sort of story you refer to.

  9. Dan Hanson

    Romney can’t win by focusing on likeability, because he’s going to lose that contest to Obama.  Although most of us here can’t stand Obama and don’t understand how he is likeable, the fact is that the general public really likes him.   Don’t play to your opponent’s strengths.

    Romney has to go negative, but it has to be a truthful negative, because the media is going to be all over everything he says.  While other politicians could get away with embellishments or slight distortions, Romney can’t.  So he needs to build a case for the failure of the Obama administration on factual grounds, and hammer it over and over again.  Luckily, that should be easy.

    I’d start with some ads quoting from the Bob Woodward book, which is pretty damning stuff.  And if the media goes after the source, they’ll be cutting the throat of one of their most revered journalists.

    Hit Obama on his lack of leadership, his alienating of allies, his anti-business cabinet officials, his administration’s attack on Gibson Guitars and Boeing, Fast and Furious, etc.   Build a litany of scandal and incompetence.

  10. wmartin
    bagodonuts: Pejman, I applaud your honesty. Conservatives can’t just wish away stumbles – we have to work harder.

    While showing Romney’s honor and compassion would be good, the focus has to be on the economy and on the lack of leadership from Obama. While this is merely negative, the positive messaging has to be that Romney can provide leadership and can fix the economy. · 6 hours ago

    Edited 3 hours ago

    I was recently re-reading one of my favorite campaign books, The Big Enchilada by Stuart Stevens. The book is his memoir of the 2000 Bush campaign, and Stevens is now, of course, Romney’s top guy. In the book, Stevens  describes how he wanted to absolutely take Gore apart with ferocious negative ads, but was frequently restrained by Karl Rove and Mark McKinnon. Stevens’ philosophy was that the campaign should be about 75/25 negative to positive. I understand what Romney’s strategy is as far as peeling away swing voters who are defensive about their Obama votes from 2008. But I do sometimes wish that old Stuart Stevens would come back…

  11. At The Rubicon

    The thing that  Mitt was really saying in his ’47%’ video was that there is a percentage of the vote he’s not going to get no matter what, and a percentage he IS going to get no matter what.  (Any money that Romney spends throwing red meat at you and I is a waste of campaign funds, IMHO)  I believe that Romney is quite correctly focused on persuading the persuadable – in a way that persuades them. That’s where he’s spending his campaign dollars. It doesn’t give you are I any emotional satisfaction but it is effective.

  12. Doc Stephens

    Its bad enough that the Court of Eunuchs (MSM + Obama’s gang) are making a big deal out of something Romney said in a private meeting.  Its worse that they are distorting what he said into something he did not say.  What he actually said is undeniable, honest, and frank.  I love the way Ann Coulter put it in her weekly column:

    At a private gathering, Romney told donors that Obama had a lock on the 47 percent of voters “who pay no income tax” and “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.” This was deeply offensive to people who pay no income tax and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.

    What Romney said was not a “stumble” and it was not a “Gaffe” and it was not “inelegant” as some have said.  It provides an example of what the Court of Eunuchs will do everytime that have a chance.  Distort messages to fit their narrative.  By the way, David Brooks and William Kristol have joined the Court of Eunuchs. (Actually, David has been a member for about 4 years, ever since he noticed the crease in Obama’s slacks.)