Romney's Run Starts at Tampa
Fretting over polls? Don't buy them. Frustrated by the snarky jabs at Mitt Romney by President Obama, Harry Reid, and a gaggle of left-wing attack groups? Sideshows. Distressed by what you see as Romney's lifeless campaign? Chock it up to the Dog Days.
But you say there ain't no cure for the summertime blues? Oh, yes, there is. How about Saturday's announcement that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney's running mate? A good pick by Romney, one that should hearten grassroots conservatives.
And then starting on August 27, that is. Then, Republican delegates nominate Mitt Romney as their party's standard-bearer. There, at Tampa, Romney and a supporting cast of speakers and backers layout the issues, themes, and strategy that they hope will send Barack and Michelle packing. Mitt gets to present himself -- Mitt the human being, not the cardboard cutout. There's a big national audience for that show.
Then, at convention's end, the Romney campaign can begin to spend its war chest. Romney has been out-raising Mr. Obama during the summer lull and is sitting on an impressive stash of cash -- with more pouring in daily. Money won't be a problem for Mitt.
But money isn't everything. Money can be poorly or smartly spent. Every election season, there are cash-flush candidates who lose.
The $64,000 question on everyone's mind -- including Democrats and lefties -- is, which Mitt Romney shows up at the GOP convention? The Romney of the primary and caucus season? The Romney who stayed focused and disciplined, who shrewdly hammered down each and every conservative challenger, from Michele Bachmann to Rick Santorum?
Or will everyone see a tamer Mitt, blabbering in generalities about the bad economy and taking whacks at the president with a feather duster?
Accuse me of being a pie-eyed optimist, but I'm putting down a few shekels that Romney comes closer to primary form.
On the simple gut instinct that Mitt Romney wants the presidency badly enough. Romney's been running for president for about six years, at least. During the primaries, Romney's team demonstrated keen strategic sense, message discipline, and a willingness to slice and dice Romney's opponents when needed. Romney, a shrewd businessman and entrepreneur, is a results-oriented guy. He knows that his campaign's formula worked.
And judging by his utterances throughout the primaries, Romney genuinely believes that the nation is imperiled. He's got the conviction to defeat Mr. Obama and the left before America is ruined. The stakes are sky-high, and Romney is no fool.
Granted, general elections aren't primaries. General elections are more complicated games of chess. But the fundamentals remain. Play offense, not defense. Aim to keep your opponent off stride and box him in. If your game plan is solid, don't get pulled off it. Advance, advance, advance.
Romney won't be as bare-knuckled going after the president as he was Newt Gingrich, but he'll be tough. But tough can't be directed merely at the president's policies. Just hammering at the president's handling of the economy and the many flaws of ObamaCare won't do.
Romney has to link Mr. Obama's abysmal performance and bad polices to the ideas and beliefs -- indeed, worldview -- that undergird the president's actions. Romney needs to indict Mr. Obama's leftism as the chief culprit for the nation's mess.
This isn't to score points with conservatives hungry for an ideological brawl with the president. Undecided voters need to be compelled to vote against the president; this is, after all, a referendum on Mr. Obama. The deeper the reasons for undecideds not to touch the screen for Mr. Obama, the better. What motivates the president to act as he does matters greatly. Wavering voters have a right to know the whys of the president's handiwork.
But will Romney make this crucial link between Obama's actions and his ideology? We'll find out come the GOP convention.
The general election campaign kicks off in earnest on September 7, the day after the president makes his keynote address to Democrats at Charlotte. That makes the presidential election about an eight-week run (the general election is November 6).
That's eight short weeks to decide the nation's fate. No hyperbole, this. Twenty-twelve is certainly the most important election since 1980. It actually transcends 1980. Imagine having the chance to defeat Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 and overturn the New Deal. Romney may have an historic opportunity to initiate the beginning of the end of the increasingly dissolute and destructive progressive era. And inaugurate a new era firmly rooted in the Founders' principles.
American Thinker's Rick Moran reported in his blog the other day that political analyst Jay Cost asserts that the presidential sweepstakes are Romney's to win, not to lose. Cost's assessment is on target. Romney has a very concentrated sixty days to seal the deal.
Mitt Romney will have to earn the presidency. But for a man long experienced and successful in the private sector, accustomed to the competitiveness and hurly-burly of free markets, the betting is that Romney knows he needs to hustle to earn a win and won't shy away from how he has to do it.