After months of failing to find a way to gain ground in the presidential campaign, W. Mitt Romney has hit the reset button.
At the end of last week Romney threw in the towel, literally, on the campaign he has been running for the last six years.
He deemed his business record personal and out of bounds for discussion in the last three months of the campaign. That's right, in the World According to Mitt, everything that he based his argument for the presidency on is now out of bounds.
Until Friday, Romney made his time at Bain the reason people should pick him.
His entire primary campaign was focused on his alleged business acumen.
But now that people are really looking at Bain, and not the sanitized Romney version, he is losing. The more people learn about Romney and Bain, the more negatively they view him.
Romney wants to change the rules of the game because he is losing.
Based on Romney's behavior I think it would be safe to place a $10,000 bet that Mitt was the kid that took his ball and went home when he was losing.
The only option he had as his vice presidential pick to execute this new strategy is Paul Ryan.
Romney now wants to have a debate about policy specifics. The biggest problem is that Romney's presidential campaign has no specific policy proposals.
Nada, none, zilch, zero.
He specifically avoided details because, in his words, they would be unpopular.
The campaign Romney thought would work has failed and he has been forced to improvise.
Improvisation is not W. Mitt Romney's strong suit. So he went with what he learned in business. Rather than building policy specifics, he acquired policy specifics in a merger – by selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Romney has repeatedly endorsed Ryan's draconian budget in the past. In fact he is so impressed by the Ryan Budget that he asked its author to be his running mate. But the budget that Ryan has put forward is completely unpopular. It is political suicide.
So now Romney and Ryan are going to have to sanitize the Ryan Budget for show. The argument Team Romney is making now is that Romney is at the top of the ticket and he decides what the policies will be.
However, Team Romney has no alternative policy proposals to replace the Ryan Budget and Romney has endorsed the Ryan Budget in the past.
So the new strategy in which Romney wants to have a campaign about specifics starts with no specifics. Just the same empty rhetoric and platitudes Romney has used to date.
There is one major problem that W. Mitt Romney inherited in this acquisition: Paul Ryan's Congressional record.
Ryan passed two laws as a legislator: renaming a post office and changing the way arrows are taxed. Sarah Palin had a greater record of accomplishments than Mr. Ryan.
As for how he voted, Ryan voted for the entire Bush deficit. He voted for every single Bush economic policy and he never complained about it.
So in acquiring a set of policy specifics that Team Romney is now trying to distance the campaign from, Romney also doubled down on the Bush economic record.
Rather than a reboot, Romney has reinforced his negatives.
Romney wants a campaign about specifics but will not provide any, other than cutting taxes for millionaires.
Romney says he isn't Bush, but his economic policies and advisors advocate for the same policies that created the Bush economic collapse.
Romney's running mate was a rubber stamp for the Bush economic policies.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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