By Roger F. Gay
If you're considering entering online political discussions for the first time, let me give you a tip about Romney supporters. They have nothing to say about why we would ever want him to be president. The simple summary of their argument is this: OMG! OBAMA! AAAAAAAAHHHHH!
Laura Ingraham (apparently forgetting that the Republican primary isn't over yet) recently opined that Romney needs to address his poor polling against Obama. He should work to capture right-wing voters who want someone to “restore our national path to prosperity and invigorate our commitment to our founding principles.” She recognized that many are “doubtful that Romney has the commitment to common sense conservatism to get the job done.”
Her prescription “to get those folks to really rally for him” is that “Romney needs to demonstrate quickly that he will take the fight to President Obama.” … “Governor Romney should arise as the adult in the room offering a mature fact-based plan to restore the American dream to all people regardless of race or gender.”
The problem isn't new, nor has it been limited to Mitt Romney. From the very first time the entire Republican field of presidential candidates presented itself last year, the question has been; Where is the Republican candidate who actually represents what is needed? Where is the candidate who has the credibility to present politically conservative ideas convincingly? Most voters agree that it's “not Romney,” a phrase that became the nickname for other establishment candidates during their often short-lived spikes in popularity. They failed too, while only Romney had enough money to maintain support from those who don't really pay much attention but feel the need to participate in primaries anyway. The constant drum-beat of media bias and more than a little election rigging helped too.
During Newt Gingrich's day as "not Romney", his supporters argued that he had the medicine Ingraham prescribes. He's really good at debate, they said. Just imagine him in a debate against Obama! What led to Gingrich's downfall wasn't his ability to spin a yarn. Although he displayed no personal insight, intelligence, or imagination of his own, a lot of people liked his canned song and dance, especially his use of jailhouse two step logic to confuse and misdirect. The problem was that Newt Gingrich does not represent the good things he wanted to convince voters that he represents. So, in the end, he didn't come off as the guy who could save America. He came off as exactly the guy that he is; a lying little weasel; a political deadbeat.
Compare Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich and here's the deeper problem: Mitt Romney is not nearly as good a liar as Newt Gingrich. The fact that Mitt Romney does not represent what voters want is much more well-known and obvious. Throwing him a few extra talking points isn't going to fix it. The problem is with who Mitt Romney is; another lying little weasel; a political deadbeat.
It's not enough to state that Barack Obama is bad (mmkay), even when emotionally emphasized and in caps. What you need is a better candidate.
The only note of optimism that can end this discussion is what's behind the blinders that Laura Ingraham was apparently wearing when she wrote her commentary. The Republican race isn't over yet. There is another candidate still in the race, one who can, with absolute credibility, present a conservative case for saving America. He already has “a mature fact-based plan to restore the American dream to all people regardless of race or gender.” Folks who want to “restore our national path to prosperity and invigorate our commitment to our founding principles” already do really rally for him. Despite not being reminded by Fox commentators, you know who he is.