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How Romney Can Win
(Disclaimer) As I write this hub, the ad bar on the top of the screen tells me that "Mitt Romney Saved The Olympics".
Mitt Romney is hard to understand, in any possible sense of the word. People tell us that he is a really, really nice guy. I was more sure of that before he said, "I like being able to fire people if I want to". It seems to me that the man who thinks corporations are people is a little off in the social skills department. In other words, unlike President Obama, Romney just doesn't connect with people. Is it because of the fact that he was born in the lap of luxury, while so many other Americans have to work hard every day to put their kids through college and save money for retirement? Or does he simply believe that if we all did things his way, we would all be just like him?
Remember those delightful Republican Presidential Primaries? Who could forget those? One of the few things any of those debates actually proved was that the conservative base was desperate to get anyone but Romney. Too bad all of the more conservative alternatives went ahead and either self-destructed or got run over by the Romney attack ad machine. Romney, meanwhile, read the writing on the wall, and abandoned his moderate stance on positions and dug himself into a hole trying to pander to the far right, a hole from which he still has not entirely climbed out of. He is John Kerry's Republican equivalent, and he doesn't even get to say, "I was before it before I was against it".
Romney was always the fall back guy, the not too conservative conservative who no one really liked, but who everyone knew stood the best chance against Obama. Even recent polls back this up; a Wall Street/NBC News poll showed that Democrats were more enthusiastic about Obama than Republicans were for Romney. An even bigger warning sign for Romney is the very reality of the election right now. Unemployment is stuck at 8.2%, majorities disapprove of how Obama has handled the economy, and majorities think Romney could be the best at improving the economy. But still, Romney and Obama are pretty much dead even in most national polls, and in many of the all important swing states, Obama has a clear lead. Clearly, there is something Romney is missing out on, but what could that possibly be?
My haunch is that sometimes, Americans go with their instincts when they head to the voting booth, and polls show now that most Americans believe Obama genuinely care about them and their families, even if he doesn't entirely know how to help them. (I happen to believe that too, but he does know how to help us, if it weren't for those pesky Republicans!) So even though Romney is leading on the economic issue, Obama still gets more points for being likeable. Since when did being likeable win elections? Look back at history. I'm sure you'll find a few examples.
Romney really needs help, especially after the overseas tour blew up in his face. From here on out, he has to focus on overtaking Obama in the national polls, and catching up to him in the swing states. For polls really do matter. The best polls reflect, with the lowest margin of error, the moods and opinions of any given population. Right now, the numbers hint at trouble on the horizon for Romney. Here's how he can change that;
1. Choose his running mate. There are any number of possibilities, but Romney needs to pick soon, and he had better not take any risks. (Palin, anyone?) The safest choice would be Rob Portman. Portman is known for his charming chumminess with people on both sides of the isle. He is willing to work with everyone, regardless of party affiliation, and his views are moderate. Choosing him would help pull Romney out of the hole he dug pandering to the far right. Bobby Jindal is too bland, in my opinion. Paul Ryan is too radical for Romney. And no one else wants the job.
2. Release his tax returns. The longer Romney puts this off, the more derision he gets from the left, and the more nervous his fellow Republicans become. Romney is very obviously ashamed about something in his tax record, which shows that he learned his lesson long ago; he doesn't help himself when he talks about his money. But since the Obama campaign is not going to let up on his tax returns, Romney should just squeeze his eyes shut and get it all over with.
3. Stay away from foreign policy issues. Lets face it; Romney has exactly the same position on Iran that Obama does. He opens his mouth in the U.K. and the next day, tabloid headlines read "Mitt the Twit" and "Nowhere Man". Ouch. Then he goes to Israel to pander to the Jewish vote, a demographic that Obama has pretty much in his pocket, and manages to be called a "Racist" by the Palestinians when he tries to contrast cultures. To round off the fiasco, one of his aides tells reporters in Poland to "kiss my [expletive]". Mitt, just stick with the economy.
Of course, many things can change between now and November. But as things stand now, Romney really needs to hold his own against Obama through August. Whoever emerges on the other side first, dominates the debate to November.