Saturday, February 18, 2012

Connecting with GOP Voters: Romney's Challenge

The Washington Post has a story this morning about Mitt Romney's limited success in "connecting" with voters in the GOP primary.   I admit, it isn't one of his strengths, and it ultimately may prove to be fatal.  But my goodness, I wish it weren't so.

No folks, I'm not wishing that Mitt were better at connecting.  I wish that voters were less concerned with it.  After all, we've got the King of Connection in office right now, and he's killing us.

Here's a little thought experiment for you, ok?  You're going to have emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor.  The chief of surgery at the hospital sends two surgeons by to talk with you.  He tells you in advance that the first surgeon has a 96% success rate, and the second has an 84% success rate.  Then he leaves the room.

A few minutes later, surgeon 1 enters the room.  He approaches you and shakes your hand, sorta limply.  He's got a bit of a vacuous look on his face.  He speaks with a bit of a stutter, and really doesn't make solid eye contact with you. He's a nice enough guy, but a little unimpressive.

He leaves, and the second surgeon walks in.  He's got a winning smile.  He's tall and handsome, he grips your hand warmly.  In conversation, it turns out he grew up one town over from you, and his father ran the bike shop that your family bought all its bikes from. 

Which guy do you let operate on your brain?  The guy who put you at ease, or the guy who is four times less likely to botch your surgery (I think my math is right on this)? 

I look at the election in these terms.  We are in real, serious trouble--we need "surgery" and we need a skilled surgeon. Rick Santorum may be "connecting" with voters, but he's done exactly two things in his working life that didn't involve a direct payment from the public treasury--he was an associate in a law firm for four years, and for the past five years, he has traded on his Rolodex as a lobbyist/consultant in Washington.  Put another way, he's never solved any really hard problems, in business or in government.  Period.

Solving problems has been what Mitt Romney does, and he has done it well--in private industry, as a government Executive, and in running the Olympic Games. 

So he isn't connecting.  So what. He's competent.  He's smart.  He's able. 

There are serious views put forward by serious people as to why Mitt Romney is a flawed candidate, and those give me pause.  But "connection"?  Please.


"The Hammer" said...

You can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good; therefore, I can support either candidate. But whomever is nominated, and I expect it to be Romney, needs to pick a VP from the conservative populist wing of the party. Clearly Romney is from the Allen Edmonds wing tip brigade and he can't afford to name another Ivy League white boy to run with. Take a page out of Reagan's book. He chose the quintessentially elitist insider George Bush so as to unite the party and Romney needs to do the same thing. As I've said before I like Michelle Bachmann, but Marco Rubio would be a good pick as well.

Obama & Co. are going to run on social issues with populist themes and try to distract the voter's attention away from the economy. There will be some very vicious personal attacks and lots of dirty tricks. Obama may even start a war if he has to. That's a dangerous strategy but they don't have a helluva lot of choice. But the Republicans need to think outside the box and be ready for anything.

Also, Romney needs to realize, as Santorum has with the Charlie Rose thing, that he not just running against Obama and the Democrats, he is running against the media as well. Attack them when the opportunity presents itself. Attack their credibility, attack their integrity, put them on the defensive. If the MSM is allowed to set the terms of the campaign the Republican will lose.

Sally said...

He should have focused from the beginning on reminding us that his greatest skill is in his problem solving and Mr. Fix-it ability. He's the square dad many of us were lucky to have--the one that could repair your broken watch, patiently walk you through your math homework, or install a doggy door for you. Or as Peggy Noonan once described him at one point, he's Fred MacMurray-you could get a speeding ticket and be terrified to tell Dad about it, but after a safety lecture he'd hand you back the keys with a fatherly pat on the shoulder.

Honestly, I don't think O is all that great at connecting either--I don't think he understands people at all.

Anonymous said...

"He's competent. He's smart. He's able." May I also add that he's also a Liberal?"
Really CW - you have to make as stronger argument than this. Romney should be a candidate people can believe in. Clearly the base does not. It has signalled from the beginning that they are not interested. All those Romney supporters who have asked Bachman, Cain, Pawlenty to get out of the race "for the good of the Party" should be going to Romney now and asking him to step aside "for the good of the Party" because if he remains, and God forbid gets the nomination, the base will not turn out for a man they do not believe in. And after Ford, Bush I, Dole and McCain, the party leaders should know that running towards the center and away from the base is a recipe for disaster. So stand down Mitt, for the good of the Party.

Tom de Plume said...

It's not the fiscal conservatives, but the social conservatives who won't turn out to vote for Mitt should he win the nomination. And if Santorum wins it, the majority of those voters in the middle sure aren't going to vote for Santorum.

So I guess it's "four more years".

Mudge said...

Anonymous, I am a conservative. I am not sure which conservatives you think are going to petulently sit out the election and not vote for someone, ANYONE to displace the occupier currently holding the White House hostage. This is pre-season and a great time for those of us who don't think Mr. Romney sufficiently conservative to condition him hard into committing to our platforms. But irrespective of who the GoP nominee ends up being, even if it's Forrest Freaking Gump for Christ's sake, we better, each and everyone of us who believes in the American way, get our asses out to the polls and vote for him. Notwithstanding CW's sense that the US is not at risk with another 4 years of this Administration, I seriously believe it is. For anyone registered as a Republican to allow Obama one more day in the White House past Inauguration Day 2013 is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

Mudge, if you think that you can run "Forrest Freakin Gump" and gain the support of Conservatives, go ahead and try it. The thing that bothers me the most about the establishment types is that they think they can run anyone against Obama and get the support of the base. Well, that's not going to work. Turnout and donations will trickle off because people will feel disenfranchised. For pete's sake, the base just gave the party control of the House back, and now the establishment is giving it the back of their hand. Yeah, try running Gump, and I will watch the election from home. No way I turn out that day, and not one dollar will come out of my pocket for Gump, he can raise funds from his Wall Street buddies, not from Red Staters like me.

"The Hammer" said...

Obama is a leftist, anti-freedom jerk from the Chicago school of politics. If that isn't sufficient reason to vote for ANY Republican then you deserve what you get: But I don't.

Anonymous said...

When the Red Staters give you control, when they contribute their blood sweat and tears, they expect to receive respect and attention to their issues. Having the Wall Street party leaders say, thanks, no go sit down and color and let the adults run this, and then turn around and just gift half of the issues over to the other side in the name of compromise, well, don't be surprised if we reject the establishment's chosen one.

Mudge said...

So, Anon, you would rather 4 more years of the destruction of the United States of America. I don't get it.

Mudge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ah, but Hammer, if you choose a moderate rather than a conservative to lead the party and I choose not to support a half solution, then you get what you deserve as well, for as the Bible says, "Be Ye hot or be Ye cold, but if Ye be luke-warm, I shall spew you from my mouth." Who would you rather have with you, Conservatives or "independents" whose intellects left them with not better to do this past week that to stay glued to the TV watching Whitney Houston's funeral. Nothing, it seems, loves a moderate, except another moderate. Be careful, sitting up on a fence can only bring splinters with time. Climb down, and join forces with the conservatives, and win a Real victory this fall, instead of just half a victory.

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