A week ago I warned that people on the right were underestimating the grave damage from Mitt Romney’s remarks on the “47 percent.”
I guarantee that the numbers for Romney will be worse in the next few days. Dead solid guarantee.
Romney desperately needs to reset his campaign. Paul Ryan’s speech to the Values Voters Summit was the sort of thing Romney’s whole campaign needs to do: be focused, build an actual argument, explain WHY conservative ideas are better.
Now comes definitive evidence that I was right.
On a national scale, 54 percent of registered voters viewed Romney’s comments unfavorably, while only 33 percent saw them in a favorable light, according to aWashington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday. Fifty-seven percent of independents had a negative reaction.
This is the main reason why Romney is tanking in the polls all across the country, even as actual events and news provide what should be horrible omens for the Obama campaign.
On the other hand, Barack Obama’s way has been tried, and it failed. Just last week alone, its failures were shown in stark relief. Last Monday, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed yet another trillion-dollar deficit under Obama. On Tuesday, Moody’s threatened to downgrade the national government’s bond rating yet again, and the Kaiser Foundation showed that health insurance premiums rose last year to nearly $16,000 per family. On Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported that poverty, now afflicting 46.2 million Americans, is at a 50-year high. On Thursday, producer prices were reported to rise by the largest monthly amount in three years, and the weekly jobless claims rose to their highest levels since July; while on Friday, new numbersshowed that industrial production shrank by the largest amount in three years.
And, of course, gasoline prices now are almost precisely double what they were when Obama took office.
So…. WHAT SHOULD ROMNEY DO?!?!?
A not fully complete answer, but a good place to start, is this: It’s the culture, stupid.
At the Weekly Standard today, Frank Cannon and Jeffrey Bell make the case.
Bad as the economy was, Reagan showed no desire to restrict himself to that issue. He ran a full-bore insurgent campaign, critiquing Carter’s every vulnerability and calling for new conservative policies across the board.
Now comes news that the issue of abortion actually would cut seriously in Romney’s favor if he only would make the case.
“This survey shows that a few straightforward, specific facts about President Obama and abortion shock the collective conscience of swing voters in battleground states,” said pollster Kellyanne Conway. “His support for taxpayer-funded abortion, opposition to Born-Alive Infant protections and ‘intimidation through regulation’ foisted upon religious organizations draws the ire of between one-half and two-thirds of the voters surveyed,” she said.
This is exactly what I asserted yesterday in my blog post on the “Sleeper Issue”:
The SBA List has a moving video online featuring a beautiful woman who, as an infant, was the intended victim of an abortion, but survived.
It mentions Barack Obama’s sick, inhuman fight in Illinois against a version of the Infants Born Alive Protection Act, which would mandate assistance for such infants rather than a second attempt to kill them.
But abortion is far from the only possible avenue for Romney to gain ground. He should be:
1) opening a multi-front offensive against the Obama-Holder Justice Department, on issues ranging from a) Fast and Furious to b) race-based court fights to c) its work against voter ID to d) the Black Panther voter-intimidation case… and much more;
2) going full-bore against the Obama assault on religious freedom, not just with the HHS mandate, but with the Hosanna-Tabor case and others;
3) using the ObamaCare medical device tax as an issue to come down culturally as well as economically on the side of the actual consumers of health care and to undercut Obama’s reputation for compassion;
4) using the international assaults on our embassies not so much as a foreign policy debate but as a clarion call to the need to reassert national pride.
And that’s just a start. But it could be a powerful start. And time’s-a-wasting. Cultural issues (I haven’t even mentioned guns yet; that’s another good one!) do move voters. Without cultural issues (mainly gay marriage at the time, but also the battles over judges, which could be another good issue for this year too), George W. Bush would not have won in 2004. Without cultural issues (revolving door prisons in Massachusetts; Dukakis’ bloodless response to the idea of his wife being raped, etc.), the elder Bush might not have overcome a double-digit deficit in 1988. And so on. Cultural issues hit people viscerally. And polls show that conservatives are on the more popular side of almost all of the most salient cultural issues of the day.
Get with it, Romney team. The public may be somewhat ignorant (i.e., may not follow issues and thus may not know information that all of us activists know), but the public isn’t dumb. It can absorb economic arguments and ALSO take in cultural arguments at the same time.
Or does anyone not think that hunters in Ohio and Wisconsin and in the Blue Ridge in Virginia will fail to respond to effective reminders of how anti-2nd Amendment was the position of the Obama administration in the Heller case? Can anybody doubt that suburban moms won’t respond negatively to news that the Obama Education Department is moving to undermine school discipline by requiring a quota system for suspensions and expulsions rather than basing punishment on the actual incidence of violations?
It really is the culture, stupid.