Mitt Romney's handlers agree the "electorate is not where it needs to be for us to succeed." So if the electorate won't come to Mitt, is the strategy for Mitt to come to the electorate? Yes, and no. A perfect Romney answer. Romney is coming hard to the right to win over Republican voters at the same time he is charging right past the great majority of Americans.
You have to love a Romney campaign document with a page titled "Primal Code for Brand Romney." Romney will define others perhaps to avoid others defining Romney. Whichever Romney shows up today will probably look different from yesterday, but his hair won't.
Brand Romney? And brand those others losers.
McCain is described as a war hero and maverick with a compelling narrative and a reputation for wit, authenticity, and straight talk. But he's also seen as "too Washington," "too close to [Democratic] Left," an "uncertain, erratic, unreliable leader in uncertain times." "Does he fit The Big Chair?" the document asks. The plan calls McCain, 70, a "mature brand" and raises questions about whether he could handle the rigors of leading the free world.As the political winds blow, Romney's positions change as much as his hair doesn't. One worry for staffers? Mitt's hair is too perfect. That may explain the reverse Grecian Formula effect on the silvered side burns. Can we expect new wrinkles of age and experience soon?
Giuliani is called an outside-the-Beltway rock star and truth teller who earned the nation's trust for his leadership of New York City's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But he is described as a one-dimensional Lone Ranger whose social views -- he supports abortion rights and civil unions for gay couples -- could destroy the "GOP brand." "We can't disqualify Dems like Hillary on social issues ever again" if Giuliani is the nominee, the document states.
Plus it's not personal, it's business. A flip is not a flop
Romney's behavior—and the fact that he doesn't think his obvious flip-flopping should arouse suspicions—suggests that he may be the first real CEO/MBA candidate. Sure, President George W. Bush is the first president to have an MBA, and he made noises about running the country like a company. (Insert Enron joke here.) But in contrast to Bush, Romney was a real businessman before getting into politics.All of this makes sense if you accept politics is a business. The best job in a business for a Republican is to be the owner.
The [Romney] plan concedes that, with McCain and Giuliani in the race, Romney is unlikely to be the top pick for those voters looking for a "war/strong leader." His goal appears to be establishing himself as a credible second choice for those voters, but the first pick for voters looking for an energetic, optimistic, and innovative chief executive. (A page titled "Own the future" dubs McCain the past, Giuliani the present, and Romney the future. )Warning: look what we got the last time voters chose energetic, optimistic, and innovative.