HAWAII, April 12, 2012 – Rick Santorum’s exit from the presidential race has made Mitt Romney the de facto nominee of the Republican Party. Set aside all delusions of grandeur, fantasy presidential candidate football and talk of a surprise on the floor of the convention: the die is cast.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan – the most charismatic and articulate conservative the Republican Party has ever known – could not flip the nomination from Gerald Ford. If Reagan couldn’t do it, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will not be able to do it either. The question now is no longer one of “can” Romney unseat President Barack Obama but rather how.
Candidate Romney In Focus
From a campaign management perspective, Romney has all of the things you want to see in a candidate: first and foremost, he is coachable which means he is willing to recognize his strengths and weaknesses and adapt to circumstances through continuous improvement. A candidate who is coachable is far better than one who insists on a “no surrender tour” of unwinnable attitudes and strategies.
Secondly, Romney has a pre-existing infrastructure in the form of a highly professional, experienced and capable team. These things lend immense potential for electoral victory and make Romney a well-rounded candidate to send against Obama, the issue is purely a matter of tactics and time management.
Where Romney is weakest and where he needs to immediately work on is perception, both by conservatives and independent voters. For a number of conservatives, Romney comes across as bland, ideologically untrustworthy (i.e. a “flip-flopper”) and more institutional than hometown traditional in feel.
Why do conservatives cry when they hear Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” and why is Sarah Palin so wildly popular among lowest income Republicans? Because the conservative narrative is all about ordinary people with an extraordinary vision are selected to defend what matters most for their willingness to stand firm and fight hard for what is right.
For independent/non-party ID voters, Romney generally projects an image of success without struggle, aloofness to working class needs and perpetuity of privileged elitism. When independents refer to themselves as “the Middle Class” what they really mean to say is the group of people who had to put up with stupid rules and unfair disadvantages to carve a place for themselves in America that they don’t want taken away from them.
Rather than attempting to deny, ignore or spin away these perceived issues, the correct strategy is to work with the frustrations of the people rather than against it. From now until
Romney should also make it a point to use his name recognition and political points to identify ideologically solid, first-time conservative Republican candidates across
While this may be a controversial tactic to some because of the potential political risk exposure involved, what it establishes is Romney is a man who is interested in leading a comprehensive strategy for giving
Carl von Clausewitz warns, “Without boldness and an enterprising spirit on the part of the leader, the most brilliant victory will lead to no great success, and its force exhausts itself all the sooner on circumstances if these offer a strong and stubborn opposition to it.” Republicans need to do more than win the White House, they need to win the nation. The tactic of reaching out to the state candidates shows Romney is a risk taker for the future party.
Local candidates who get national support are also all the more invigorated to be a force multiplier for Romney by campaigning on their own time and their own resources to help promote Romney to their districts. This also reflects positively in
Vice Presidential Selection
While it may be early to discuss who Romney’s running mate will be, this is very much an important part of the 2012 equation. While rumor and punditry alike have floated around names like Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul (or even Ron Paul) and others, I think those choices would be extremely ill-advised because they are too predictable a choice. Both the public and the Democrats are expecting those people to be offered VP.
Instead Romney should do something completely unpredictable and bring in an outsider to elected or presidential politics, someone who has an established record of competence, commitment to
Speaking hypothetically and purely for myself – if I were running for President – the kind of person I would select for VP at a time like this is someone like retired former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton.
In my opinion, having someone of humble beginnings who has served
While my suggestion is probably unlikely, nonetheless Romney needs someone who is honest, down-to-earth, non-political and representative of solid, tried-and-tested American leadership. Whoever he decides to be his running mate should be a person who the American people can know what they see is what they get and trust that person to be the balance weight in the Administration.
Romney Can Win
Let us be absolutely clear: Mitt Romney can win the election and Republicans can begin a new era of leadership by example and service before self. The decision to do so begins now. Romney does not need to outspend Obama dollar for dollar to win because challenger spending often times is more effective than incumbent spending. Winning the White House is within the reach of the Romney campaign, it is simply a matter of understanding the time and what the voters need most.
Romney may not be a perfect candidate, but does the Republican Party really need a perfect candidate to win? I say no. It only needs the perfect strategy. Republicans now have a choice: they can continue complaining and stay home in November, or they can finish the fight in 2012 and work dynamically with what they have to deliver a game changer in November.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.