Mitt Romney has found himself in a bit of trouble. He spoke at a fundraiser where he claimed 47% of all Americans did not pay taxes and felt entitled to government handouts. This rhetoric has been seized upon by the Obama campaign and its allies to portray Romney as elitist and out of touch. However the image of Romney the elitist is only a small part of the problem he faces. Romney’s overall problem is that he is running a campaign that ultimately stands for nothing and does a terrible job reaching out to ordinary voters.
Even though the economy is in terrible shape with virtually nonexistent growth and unemployment hovering around 8%, Obama has consistently maintained the lead in both the national polls and in the important battleground states. You would think that in terrible economic conditions any challenger would be running stronger against Obama. However, that just hasn’t been the case this year. The American people may not like Obama’s job performance, but right now they do not see Mitt Romney as a viable alternative. They just don’t like the man. He comes off as cold and arrogant to many voters. Winning votes is essentially a sales job and people only buy things from people they like.
Another reason why the Romney campaign is floundering is because it is a campaign that lacks a vision for this country. Obama’s vision for this country is simple, more government involvement in the lives of each American. Romney’s vision for this country is exactly what again? There has to be more specific policy proposals and most importantly, Romney has to be ready to defend them. Ultimately, there needs to be a positive vision of freedom and prosperity to counter the Obama vision of more government.
The lack of an overall vision is also a part of the reason Romney is struggling among libertarian-leaning voters. Many wise conservatives are waking up to the need to reach out to Ron Paul voters. However, I’m not convinced Romney himself realizes this. At the GOP convention in Tampa last month, Ron Paul was denied a speaking slot and his delegates were treated badly. The perception among libertarian-leaning voters is that Romney is just a dull, progressive technocrat and does not offer much of a difference from Obama. If Romney wants the energy and passion that his campaign needs and that the Ron Paul supporters can provide, he needs to start articulating the positive vision of freedom that can inspire many of them to support him.
A lot can happen between now and November 6. However if the election was held today, Romney would lose to Obama. Romney is running out of time to outline the vision he needs to win. Good campaigns don’t whine about the media coverage, they go out and own the narrative.