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August 30, 2012

Mitt Romney Ran In the Primaries As A Conservative, And Is Now Running In The General... As A More Ideological Conservative

I've often argued with people about this-- saying that their desire to run a very red campaign in the general was just a bad idea. The center must be given something, after all.

Apparently Mitt Romney disagrees with me, and agrees more with the people I've argued with.

Romney's primary speeches often contained vapid catchphrases like "I believe in America."

But his general election campaign is increasingly running on a red ideological themes. I recommend reading the whole thing.

Twenty years ago, James Carville popularized the catchphrase, “it’s the economy, stupid” to winning effect against President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election. Now Mitt Romney is betting that “it’s the ideology, stupid” will be an equally effective mantra to unseat President Obama. After spending the spring and summer muddled in a neck-and-neck race by focusing exclusively on the economy, he’s brought entitlements, health care, welfare, debt and American exceptionalism to the forefront of an increasingly ideological race.

Critics have scratched their heads, wondering why he would appeal to the conservative base when he badly needs to win over the remaining undecided voters in the middle. Why, when the economy is by far the biggest issue for voters, is the Republican ticket focused on secondary issues? But by running on charged ideological issues, he has the potential to fit the missing piece of the puzzle -- connecting voters’ vague dissatisfaction with the president’s performance with a series of unpopular policies he’s pursued.

The strategy has worked according to plan. Romney’s laser-like focus attacking Obama’s record on issues has brought him to within one point of Obama, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, the closest he’s been in months.

....

They’ve tacked away from a generic critique of Obama’s economic performance -- the “prevent defense” strategy -- and gone full bore with the ideological red meat. So far, it’s working.


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posted by Ace at 11:45 AM

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