Where Will Befuddled, Confused, Incoherent Romney Turn For Strategy?
Last Sunday, Paul Krugman analyzed the GOP strategy for grabbing political power, Obstruct and Exploit, without ever pointing out that the Republican leaders who overtly conspired against the American economy-- Eric Cantor (R-VA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Pete Sessions (TX), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dan Lungren (CA), Tom Coburn (OK), John Ensign (NV), Bob Corker (TN), Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz-- should be tried for treason. He merely reminds us that the American Jobs Act that they sabotaged would have created 1.3 million new jobs by the end of this year. "[T]he bill went nowhere, of course, blocked by Republicans in Congress," he wrote. "And now, having prevented Mr. Obama from implementing any of his policies, those same Republicans are pointing to disappointing job numbers and declaring that the president’s policies have failed."
Think of it as a two-part strategy. First, obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness for political gain. If this strategy sounds cynical, that’s because it is. Yet it’s the G.O.P.’s best chance for victory in November.
...The most important consequence of that stonewalling, I’d argue, has been the failure to extend much-needed aid to state and local governments. Lacking that aid, these governments have been forced to lay off hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers and other workers, and those layoffs are a major reason the job numbers have been disappointing. Since bottoming out a year after Mr. Obama took office, private-sector employment has risen by 4.6 million; but government employment, which normally rises more or less in line with population growth, has instead fallen by 571,000.
Put it this way: When Republicans took control of the House, they declared that their economic philosophy was “cut and grow”-- cut government, and the economy will prosper. And thanks to their scorched-earth tactics, we’ve actually had the cuts they wanted. But the promised growth has failed to materialize-- and they want to make that failure Mr. Obama’s fault.
And Krugman isn't the only columnist looking at Republican strategy. Over at the NY Post, deranged right-wing propagandist John Podhoretz was whining away on Tuesday because Romney is trying to move a couple centimeters towards the mainstream and away from crackpot Republican dogma. Podhoretz is in a state of denial in regard to Romney's incoherent and disintegrating campaign and insists that if he would only appeal to the whacked out base of brainwashed Fox and Hate Talk Radio devotees everything would turn out wonderfully. The big bad liberal media onslaught, he insists "has spooked people who wish to see Obama defeated and Romney elected." (Businessweek claims Rove may being giving up on the hopeless Romney campaign and going full bore with all the millions of Dark Money he's collected to grab the Senate. (A good reason to remind everyone to double down on Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, the keys for the Democrats to keep control of that body.) But back to Podhoretz.
Right now, one area in which Obama is leading by a mile is the one in which he bolsters and heartens his own existing support.
Boston and Romney himself are proving absolutely awful on this front.
The Romney campaign seems to have settled on an argument that Obama’s poll strength is just a post-convention “sugar high,” as its pollster Neil Newhouse said in a strikingly infelicitous memo released yesterday that offered no data-driven support for that view and mainly dwelled on how much money Romney has.
It’s interesting Newhouse hit on the dismissive description of a “sugar high”-- because a sugar rush is what Romney’s side needs.
That’s what a day-to-day campaign is-- it’s all a sugar high. It’s supposed to provide a boost, a pick-me-up, a rush to those who are following it closely with the hopes that it will succeed with a spirited speech, a potent soundbite, a lively crowd, a good interview.
That can be supplemented by more substantive nutrition in the form of substantive policy addresses, position papers, etc.
The Romney camp is doing neither. It’s too intent on winning over the small batch of uncommitted and independent voters by saying absolutely nothing that might possibly offend them.
The problem with that strategy is a) it means he doesn’t say much, and b) it does nothing to stimulate the enthusiasm of those already in his corner.
Those folks in his corner are now experiencing the opposite of a sugar high from the post-convention polls showing Obama in the lead.
Romney & Co. are wrong if they think negative feelings toward Obama are sufficient to motivate their voters. These people would like very much to believe in their candidate.
That’s not happening now. A CNN/ORC poll released yesterday shows that only 47 percent of Romney voters are on his side because they want to vote for him; 48 percent are casting a vote against Obama.
He has to give those voters more. He owes those voters more, because without more-- and with a relentless press barrage designed to depress and worry them-- their worry will deepen into panic, and possibly into despair.