Misplaying the Political Game
Republican presidential politics in the era of the multiple state primary and caucus elections is a two-step dance. Candidates first must waltz their way to the approval of the most conservative voters to nail down the nomination. Then the survivor must show a bit more leg in the general election with a broader appeal to gain the Oval Office.
The current frontrunner,
True believers are a growing and tenacious segment of the Republican base, with the development of the tea party movement and the fervor of the religious evangelicals. The old moderation in the
Nevertheless, there remain many moderates in the electorate beyond this ideologically rigid Republican base. Some are still in the party, but many more are among the Democrats and particularly among the independents, whose votes Romney will need in November if he's nominated.
It will be both prudent and natural, if he becomes the
The struggle, unfortunately for him, has raised questions about his authenticity. He is still seen by many as a super-rich business whiz who, like
For good or evil, imagery in politics often counts for as much as or more than reality. Romney's image problems are largely self-inflicted wounds, as he's apparently unable to realize the negative impression left by some of his words that unintentionally remind voters of the great wealth that separates him from the average Joe. Now it seems that the tin-ear virus has been caught by his chief political strategist,
To signal that after the convention Romney would offer a broader appeal, Ferhnstrom, who goes back to his boss's gubernatorial days, explained that "you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like a Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."
Anyone with a small child can understand the reference to the kids' toy that can draw a sketch and then erase it for a fresh start. But after spending all year sketching himself as "severely" conservative, the suggestion that Romney would shake up his message and start sketching himself over again was a gift his opponents quickly exploited.
Every nominee, obviously, must shift gears somewhat from an early appeal to the party base to a broader general election audience. But a smart candidate does so deftly, without handing the opposition a stick with which beat him, while the nomination remains in some doubt.
Coming out of a decisive victory in
Read the latest political news.
- The Crisis in Public Morality
- Where's The Hope?
- Rising Economic Tide Lifts Obama's Fortunes
- Politics: A Never-Ending Game of 'Hot Potato'
- Why Older Citizens are More Likely to Vote
- Ryan's Budget Plan Could Cause Problems Within Both Parties
- Re-election Could Put Obama in Top 4 All-Time
- Obama Deserves Credit for the Recovery
- How Obama Could Have Better Fixed the Economy
- Obama's Policies Have Not Turned the Economy Around
- Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Has Been a Success
- President Obama's Policies Revived the Economy
- Obama Has Tried All the Wrong Policies
- Mitt Romney Should Pick Mainstream VP
- Even Beloved Bob McDonnell Can't Save Romney in Virginia
- Misplaying the Political Game
- Mitt Romney's Sad Search for Authenticity
- Mitt Romney's Hispanic Problem is Serious
- Woman Troubles: The GOP's Bizarre Quarrel with Reality
- How the GOP Can Woo Women Voters
- The Trap of Nation Building
- Job-Killing Tax Breaks
- False Comparisons
- What now for Republicans?
- Brokered GOP Convention Would Ensure a Second Obama Term
- Rick Santorum Could Use Convention Influence to be Romney's VP Pick
- Brokered Convention Improbable, Even If Superdelegates Get Floor
- Conservatives Must Force an Open Convention
- Obama's Teleprompter: The GOP's Dumbest Attack
- Mitt Romney: In Search of Authenticity
- The Federalist Solution
- Pumping Gas Prices for All They're Worth
- Democracy: A Right, Not a Luxury
- Obama's Super, Super PAC
- Rush Limbaugh and the Live Volcano
- Hate Groups Spread Lies and Kill Cops
- Why Newt Gingrich Stays In
- A National Primary Wouldn't Work
- We Need to Re-imagine Our Democracy
- The Current Primary System Promotes Deliberation
- Tough Primary Battles Forge More Resilient Nominees
- Bruce Springsteen Captures The State of America
- What's Good for the CEO May Be Bad for Business
- Stock Market Picks 90 Percent of Presidential Elections
- Twitter Mentality a Threat to America
- God and Caesar in America
- The God Gap
- When the Senate Worked
- The Congressional Thaw
- Failed Highway Bill Shows Just How Fanatical GOP Has Become
- Starving Public Universities Shrinks the Middle Class
Misplaying the Political Game | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services