3 Ways Mitt Romney Is Doubling Down on a Failing Strategy
“If you don’t learn from experience, you ought to be fired,” Mitt Romney told CBS’s '60 Minutes' on Sunday night.
Yet after several turbulent weeks where Romney plummeted in most polls due to remarks that offended many likely voters, most notably deriding the “47 percent,” there are many signs the Romney camp has not learned from experience but instead is stubbornly staying the course with its message, focus and criticisms of the Obama Administration with the election six weeks away.
1. No Change On Message
Perhaps the only notable change in the Romney campaign is that he will be making more public appearances this week, compared to past weeks. But as Romney said Sunday on '60 Minutes,' he believes that he will win, and he will keep emphasizing that Americans need a smaller government, more privatized services, and broad tax cuts.
“I have to go across the country, particularly in the states that are closest, and describe how it is that I am going to get the economy going, and how we are going to restore the economic freedom that built this economy in the first place,” he said.
2. More Details Will Heighten Doubts
The Wall Street Journal reports that Romney will be trying to give swing state voters a more detailed look at the impact of his policies. For instance, he is likely to try to tell voters why spending on most social safety net programs has to be capped, why states should take control of how federal dollars for Medicaid (which serves the poor) and Medicare (elderly healthcare) are spent, and why federal income and corporate taxes should be cut by 20 percent along with ending many deductions and loopholes.
Romney does not understand that many Americans are not looking for the federal government to rewrite the social contract that touches their lives—especially if they live on fixed incomes, like seniors or low-income people. People who are now struggling to stay afloat in a sluggish economy wage also do not have faith in the private sector to provide more secure retirement income and healthcare services, which is the direction Romney would take Social Security and Medicare.
Many people are not seeking the “economic freedom that built this country in the first place,” but more basic and grounded economic security in the near-future. In other words, the more that people hear Romney's remedies, the more he will seem and out-of-touch with their economic realities.
3. No Backing Down From Obvious Mistakes
There is a fine line in political life where candidates and officeholders stand on principle but admit they made mistakes and still keep the public’s trust. The opposite also is true.
There is something disjointed when Romney says, as he did on '60 Minutes' after two of his worst weeks in recent months, that everything is fine and he will win. But it goes deeper than that, because Romney keeps smiling as he politely repeats the very things that caught America’s attention and were offensive in the first place.
Romney said he was inarticulate when disparaging the “47 percent” of Americans who he says don’t pay enough federal taxes and were overly rely on safety net and retirement programs. But in follow-up remarks, Romney affirmed these same prejudices—saying “dependent” Americans were a drag on the nation and less worthy as citizens. Remarks trhat he seeks to be the president of “100 percent” of America just don’t ring true.
Indeed, as many pundits have begin to hype the upcoming presidential debates, it seems that Romney has not changed his tunes, but only more carefully polished his words and maintained his sunny demeanor. Romney may be making more appearances this week and giving more details in speeches, but the campaign that hasn’t captivated America’s likey voters is not changing course.
(Editor's note: Here is the '60 Minutes' interview of Romney and Obama.)