Why Mitt Romney should not be the 2016 GOP Nominee
Lately there has been a lot of buzz about having Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee in 2016. And there can be little doubt that many things Mitt talked about from 2007 to 2012 have come true (crumbling of Iraq, Putin being our number one geo-political foe, Obamacare not being workable). And while there was no bigger supporter of Mitt Romney than I was (for the record I was a member of a group called Evangelical Christians for Mitt Romney and I also managed several precincts in Shenandoah County Virginia for the Romney campaign during the 2012 primary) the fact is that Mitt should not be the GOP nominee in 2016.
While there can be no doubt that Mitt would be running the country much more efficiently than our current president, the fact is that being a good President is also being able to communicate. Romney could never communicate a coherent vision to the country in a way that would motivate the populace. Successful politicians need to be able to relate to the average voter and explain what they are doing and why it is good for the average voter, in a way that the average voter can understand. Mitt does not do this well. Morning in American (Reagan’s mantra) wins elections. Vote for me because I am competent is good, but it does not win elections.
The GOP is going through a bit of a civil war now between the Tea Party and the “establishment." We need a nominee who can successfully bring both the Tea Party and the “establishment GOP” together. The fact is that many in the Tea Party will not get behind Romney for President in 2016. Keeping Sarah Palin out of the 2012 convention only further infuriated some conservatives who wanted to get behind Mitt but felt that they were being shut out. I do not think that Mitt hates conservatives, but some got that perception and those people stayed at home in November. We need these people not only to vote, but to work for the nominee, in 2016.
The hardest part for me to admit was that Romney the “turn around expert” ran a subpar campaign. We activists in Virginia were behind Romney, but we never got any help on the ground. The Romney people really and honestly thought that winning an air war was going to take out Obama at the ballot box. “Air wars” are all fine and well, but you need “boots on the ground” in a national or statewide election to win. Romney volunteers could not get yard signs for months from the campaign. We could not get walking lists to do door to door knocking. Compare this to Karl Rove’s 2004 get out the vote apparatus where voters were micro targeted in different precincts in each of the 50 states. Voters in Ohio were sent direct mail pieces based on issues that mattered to them. Voters were targeted by Rove and the Bush Cheney 2004 team based on what TV shows they watched or what periodicals they read.
The Romney people never got this fact, never understood it. Romney figured that if he talked about the economy he would win. That may make sense from a logical view. But voting is not always logical. People vote often based on how much they like a candidate or feel that a candidate cares about them on a personal level. And at times, Romney came across to some swing voters as the guy who turned them down for a bank loan. Talking bottom line makes for a great executive. But this does not get us to 270 votes in the Electoral College. Romney never did or could articulate how his policies would put people back to work.
Mitt Romney would have been a great manager of the country and I was proud to have contributed to his campaign and to work on his behalf. He is a great American. The world needs more like him. But the GOP needs to move on and find a standard bearer who will unite the GOP and lead us to victory in 2016. Romney has not shown this ability and at his age, likely he never will.
John Massoud is a spokesman for the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives , a Precinct officer for the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, an occasional contributor to the American Thinker, a former member of Evangelical Christians for Mitt Romney, and a businessman in Virginia.