Everybody has said this was coming. Now it’s here. Newt is now beating on Romney.
This web ad is relatively effective, in that it goes after Romney on an issue which is supposed to be his strength – namely, economics – and marries it to one of his weaknesses – namely, that he’s not bold enough and doesn’t offer a stark enough contrast to Obama.
Actually, to say it’s relatively effective might be selling it short. This could be a tremendously effective ad. Because Romney’s great failing, one which could explain his inability to get above 25 percent in the polls, is his refusal to present something attractive to the 70-something percent of the GOP electorate for whom he just doesn’t push any buttons.
Romney could come up with a flat tax proposal, for example, or he could propose block-granting all federal education funds to the states. Or he could propose wiping out corporate or capital gains or dividend taxes. Or he could come out for a national right-to-work bill (which would be a really good idea if he’s going to end up running against Rick Santorum as the predominant Non-Romney, since Santorum voted to filibuster National Right To Work back in the 1990’s). Or whatever. But so far Romney’s campaign doesn’t offer hardly anything outside of getting tough with China and some 57-point economic plan that Gingrich just took a shot at in his ad.
And that he’ll get rid of Obamacare, even though he defends the alarmingly-similar healthcare scheme he put in place in Massachusetts that he says was a good idea. It doesn’t appear to dawn on him that this is gobbledygook – or if it does, it doesn’t seem to bother him much.
And that’s not nothing.
What irritates most about Romney do far is that his campaign doesn’t seem to think it’s necessary to do anything of the kind. He thinks all he has to do is stand by the riverside and watch the bodies of his electoral opponents float by, to paraphrase the old Chinese saying. And while it’s possible he can win the GOP nomination that way, Romney ought to be enough of a political pro (or if not, the folks in his camp ought to be) to recognize that John McCain’s failure to avoid pissing off his voting base was a huge reason so many of them stayed home on Election Day four years ago – and a similar fate awaits him unless he can do a better job of galvanizing support for his base.
But it’s more than that. If we conservatives are to be roped into supporting Romney in the event he outlasts Santorum and Gingrich and Perry and Ron Paul, doesn’t he at least owe us a sign that he likes us and agrees with us? Do we not deserve at least that? Shouldn’t he at least promise that if we elect him president he’ll work with us to move the country to the right like we (and presumably though not definitely, he) think(s) is a frighteningly urgent necessity?
Gingrich is on something of a suicide mission now, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom, and he’s going after Romney to burn him down whether he burns himself down as well in the process. And it might well be that Newt is now akin to one of those moron Palestinians trying to blow up buses in Jerusalem.
Except that in this case he might have lots of C-4 attached to that detonator. The ad hits a definite weak spot.