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Friday, February 23, 2007
posted by jason | 8:24 AM | permalink
To me the Editors have done a great job of summing up where the campaign needs to be headed. The first paragraph is not one that I agree with though,
Skeptics see more naked ambition than sincere conversion in Romney’s shifts on multiple issues, including abortion, gun control, gay rights, and taxes. His campaign should make no mistake: His introduction to the public has gone badly, and a few early TV ads isn’t going to fix it.
There are points here I will make. Romney has not really been introduced to the public. He has been introduced to the blogosphere, which aside from some of the attacks has gone remarkably well. He is still largely unknown. Second, see Rope a Dope.

The editors make some great points:

Conservatives should hope Romney’s campaign does not fizzle. For three decades, candidates who have moved to the right in Republican presidential primaries have been rewarded rather than punished. Conservative openness to converts has made it possible for moderate Republicans who found themselves moving rightward to prosper, and given ideologically malleable Republicans an incentive to adopt conservative positions. In both cases, the effect was to facilitate the country’s rightward move.

Conservatives should want to keep it that way. Thus, the gleeful pounding away at Romney’s changes from some on the right is counterproductive. Do any of these critics really wish that Romney had remained pro-choice?
All I can say is, no kidding. Do these skeptics really wish he was a pro-choice guy? Another good point:
It is natural that he might say he is personally pro-life, but would not try to change laws in Massachusetts; that he would oppose same-sex marriage, but otherwise promote gay rights; even that he would duck the Reaganite label. In any case, Romney is a career businessman who spent far more time thinking about management and government reform than social issues and political philosophy.
Finally, what I think is the best advice (and one that I am positive the campaign is working on)
His difficulty is obviously in transitioning from Massachusetts to the national stage. Part of what Romney needs is simply time, and even though the campaign season is already super-charged and the news cycles relentless, he will get it. It is still ten months before anyone votes, and conservatives will get a chance to evaluate Romney's sincerity and honesty over those months. But his conservatism will likely continue to sound tinny until he gives it an overarching theme of his own.

George W. Bush moved right in preparation for his presidential run in 2000, but also thought through a new brand of conservatism that he figured would be attractive in the post-Gingrich, post-impeachment era. We have never been particular fans of “compassionate conservatism,” but Romney would be well advised, in a similar fashion, to figure out a distinctive way to apply his conservatism to the challenges of our time. (Alliteration is not necessary and probably should be avoided.) This individuation could help deepen and authenticate that conservatism, and make it sufficiently compelling to prevail in the general election. At the moment, Romney is running on a businessman's typical theme of competitiveness along with a paint-by-the-numbers collection of conservative positions that seem to have no deeper rationale than getting to the right.
This is really a great point of advice. Romney needs to brand his thoughts to create a movement. Obviously "Compassionate Conservatism" is used and a little worn out. Perhaps something that denotes strength and tough talk. I am not a strategist, just a lowly blogger, but Romney has a golden opportunity to redefine Conservatism and it's goals. The movement is hungry for it.

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The theme of his announcement seemed to be "innovation and transformation" so that would work for me.

I personally felt like he was hitting on something when he talked about needing a "new American dream" in his kickoff speech.

At the time I though, "Yes!"

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