Scott Walker to Romney: This election can’t just be a referendum on Obama

posted at 7:22 pm on July 25, 2012 by Allahpundit

A rare point of agreement between Walker and The One. It’s good advice, but if victory depends on this, I’m thinking we might have nominated the wrong guy. Sean Trende elaborates:

In the referendum model of the election, voters ask themselves two questions: First, do I want the president to be re-elected? Second, is the challenger so unacceptable that I simply can’t bring myself to vote for him?…

[V]oters are at Step 2 of the referendum model. They are evaluating Romney. In this situation, the Republicans are doing the exact wrong thing by making 90 percent of their ads attacks on Obama. Although voters always say this but rarely mean it, they really do want Romney to go positive. They are interested in learning about his accomplishments (or lack thereof), especially during his term as governor.

While the Obama camp has been trying to give voters what they want, albeit from a negative perspective (and perhaps part of why Obama hasn’t moved the polls with his blitz is that those voters who are interested in Bain and Romney’s taxes are waiting to hear Romney’s side of the story), the Romney camp and his super PAC supporters have been banging their collective heads against a wall essentially trying to re-convince voters that the president is not doing a good job. Simply put, this won’t do it.

It is a real question whether the Romney campaign gets this.

Go look at the Pew poll that Trende links. Fully 90 percent of registered voters say they already know what they need to know about Obama to make a judgment. With numbers like that, I wonder if his own attack ads against Romney aren’t doing more to sink O’s numbers than Romney’s attack ads are. After all, unlike Mitt’s ads, the anti-Bain spots contain a new piece of information about The One for those who haven’t paid much attention to his M.O. as president: They prove that the avatar of Hopenchange is every bit as willing to throw a punch as the business-as-usual Beltway politicians he campaigned against last time. By contrast, what are Romney’s attack ads telling voters that they haven’t already heard? It’s worth hitting Obama with a new barrage if/when the next terrible jobs report comes out, just to make sure voters are on top of the news, but beyond that, Trende’s point is well taken that there’s really nothing left to say. In fact, that’s one of the things that irked me a bit about Romney’s “Assad must go” comments on Monday. That seemed like criticism of O for the sake of criticism, just one more way to gripe that he’s failing. I don’t blame Romney for wanting to duck a topic as difficult as Syria, but if even I’m impatient with the kitchen-sink “everything Obama’s doing is wrong” approach, I wonder if undecideds are tuning him out.

Question, then, for longtime Romney-watchers: Has Mitt ever run a successful campaign that focused chiefly on his own career and qualifications rather than on destroying his opponent? From what I understand, he tried to tout his Bain credentials in his 1994 Senate run against Kennedy and was brutalized for it. Eight years later, he began his gubernatorial campaign by running on his biography and quickly fell behind by 10 points; only when he went harshly negative did he close the gap. Four years ago, he tried to remake himself as a social conservative warrior in the Republican primary and he fizzled before CPAC. This year, he went nuclear against Gingrich and then Santorum and cruised to the nomination. That’s a lot of reinforcement for the idea that the path to victory lies through keeping the focus on the other guy. Even worse, the Pew poll finds that the one thing voters are most curious about with respect to Romney’s background is his record as governor, and of course the one thing for which he’s best known as governor is the one thing he really, really doesn’t want to talk about on the trail. I think he’s calculating that, while he does need to give voters some sense of who he is, they only need a very impressionistic sense to pull the lever. Obama became a symbol of hope and change; Romney, I think, wants simply to become a symbol of competence. The particulars of his Bain tenure and term as governor are almost unimportant. All you need to know is that he was a huge success in business and he saved the Olympics and he got himself elected governor in a very blue state. As Rich Lowry (I think) once put it, “No one ever regretted hiring Mitt Romney to do a job.” That’s the extent of the “choice” they want to present to voters. Not sure it’s enough for a job as big this, but we’d better hope it is because I don’t see Mitt doing any “fireside chat” ads like President You Didn’t Build That has been putting out lately.

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Strangely they always seem shocked when their contempt is returned by those same conservatives.

sharrukin on July 26, 2012 at 1:14 AM

You Palin-worshiping, Mitt-bashing shut-ins don’t represent conservatives nor anyone else but your own sad selves.

The fact is that conservatives, Tea Partiers and independents all support Romney. It’s not even close.

You may try to ignore reality and carry on with your pathetic charade from the primary season, but at some point you have to come to grips with the fact that your preferred candidate from the primary season LOST, and the vastly better man won. Hopefully you realize this sooner rather than later.

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:19 AM

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:19 AM

One thing I really like about you is how are giving everyone a reason to enjoy an Obama victory if it should unfortunately come to that. Just watching you rabid Romneybots weep on election night will take some of the sting out of four more years of Obama.

Very generous of you, very generous.

sharrukin on July 26, 2012 at 1:27 AM

One thing I really like about you is how are giving everyone a reason to enjoy an Obama victory if it should unfortunately come to that. Just watching you rabid Romneybots weep on election night will take some of the sting out of four more years of Obama.

Very generous of you, very generous.

sharrukin on July 26, 2012 at 1:27 AM

How sad and revealing that you would feel joy after an Obama victory in part because it would upset some random message board commenters you’ve never met. If this is how you find joy in life, then I feel a little bad for you. Maybe you should get out once in awhile. You know, hoping for an opportunity to scream “I don’t you so” on an internet message board is no way to live one’s life.

Unfortunately for you and the other Mitt-bashing fake conservatives on HotAir who would accept or even welcome an Obama victory, Obama will be defeated. Obama’s time is up.

Conservatives and Tea Partiers are united behind Romney. Fortunately, independents also favor Romney over Obama.

At this point, anyone not supporting Romney is supporting Obama’s re-election. We all know it.

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:39 AM

“I don’t you so”=I told you so

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Hmm, no worthwhile points yet from Bmore, but still more childish ad hominen. Keep trying, Bmore. You can do it.

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:15 AM

It’s difficult to comment when holding ones breath to avoid the stench. You are foolish. You defend when no defense is warranted. You attack when no attack is warranted. You are no liked because of these traits. You are a bigot. You stink of rotted thought and rotting fish. You are the gilled one. You are intellectualy lazy. It is why you are as you are. You know little and therefore appear as such. All of you who worship these political figures are the same. Yet he we are. In deep trouble as a Country because of the likes of you. You are the exact same cretin who blindly supports 0. You are cut from the same cloth. You are blind to it and do not smell your own stench. Many around know this of you. You are despised, as you should be.

Bmore on July 26, 2012 at 1:50 AM

no= not

Bmore on July 26, 2012 at 1:52 AM

he=here iPad thingy gilled one. You are a lie.

Bmore on July 26, 2012 at 1:53 AM

Before I turn in this evening, I’ll leave the two of you a challenge. Thats right bluegill and Basilsbest. List for me if you can the things you disagree with Romney on. Just a simple list. Just the things you don’t agree with that he has either in the past proclaimed or at present. List them numerically.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

and so on. You will both check back on this thread. You are both invested in this thread. List them.

Bmore on July 26, 2012 at 3:21 AM

Obama became a symbol of hope and change; Romney, I think, wants simply to become a symbol of competence.

That last word’s what’s scaring me. I’m old enough to remember another former Mass. governor who ran his presidential campaign on it and lost in an electoral college landslide–partly because “I won’t screw it up” is not all that inspiring, and partly because of the smug and pugnacious attitude with which he proclaimed his “competence.”

I got a bad feeling about this.

Ed Snyder on July 26, 2012 at 4:49 AM

I don’t think it’s either/or. Admittedly, most Republicans and all conservatives have ample reason to vote against Obama. Romney does need to spend some time giving us reason to vote for him as well. I think there’s enough of a difference between negative motivation and positive motivation to justify campaigning on both fronts. But even with my solid anti-Obama commitment I still want to hear Mitt savage the SCOAMF. It just feels good and what’s wrong with feeling good?

swinia sutki on July 26, 2012 at 6:01 AM

I will cut to the bottom line here. A lot of people think that a lawn gnome would be a better prezzy than then Mr. I didn’t say that. Since we all know Mitt has been a successful business man, ran a financially sound Olympics, and was a blue state governor, he appears to be higher on the ladder than the previously mentioned lawn gnome(Gary Johnson at this point). This is the choice we have. All the other issues such as gay marriage, or Ann’s horse(I have 2), don’t mean jack or squat.

Kissmygrits on July 26, 2012 at 7:50 AM

swinia sutki on July 26, 2012 at 6:01 AM

That there, is a reasonable quick analysis of the problem Romney, and his supporters have in understanding why Conservatives and Libertarians aren’t exactly keen on Romney.

I have every reason not to vote for Obama that I need: His political history. It was for that reason that I didn’t vote for him in 2008. It’s only expanded further for 2012. A Crony Capitalism business plan, passing tax laws and tax funding that favor his ardent supporters, leaving the rest of us the bill. Supporting “Freedom” groups that favor freedom oppressing religious laws and also often are responsible for producing Proto-terrorists. Letting the erosion of our freedoms and rights continue. And extremely serious scandals and coverups, Solyndra and Fast and Furious being two of the most notable ones

The problem is, I don’t have every reason to vote for another candidate. For the independent party candidates, it’s because I don’t know enough about them, or they’re just too crazy/lunatics (I’m looking at you, Green party.) For Mitt Romney, it’s because he’s being dishonest about his Conservative “credentials” on various key issues. And simply voting because of someone being “The lesser of two evils” argument, just doesn’t fly with me any more. All that is simply, is Political Talk/Bull for Sports Team Politics. “Vote for this candidate because they wear the Team colors”. I’m not into that, I tried doing that in 2008 and that just left was a figurative bad taste in my mouth, and nothing to show for it. And it’s hard to support a “team” or in this case, Political party, that continues to put out mediocre candidates when it comes to critical elections.

It’s even harder to support them, when the most hardcore of supporters, continue to insult and snipe at you with comments calling people like me who aren’t on board “Stupid” “non-intellectual” “Selfish” “fakes” “Secret Obama Supporter” (could’ve sworn I saw some Mitt bots earlier in the primary telling us we couldn’t support certain candidates due to their supporters) and so on and so forth. A reminder, for the Mittbots. I hear some of those very insults every day from Liberals for not supporting their candidate, and that just gives me further reason not to support them. So please, tell me again how that’s suppose to be any different for your candidate? And no the “Because Mitt’s a Republican/has an R by his name” excuse doesn’t count.

Razgriez on July 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

The fact is that conservatives, Tea Partiers and independents all support Romney. It’s not even close.

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:19 AM

The fact is that you have no idea about conservatism or the Tea Party. Neither like, and few support, Romney. I’m guessing the closest you’ve come to a Tea Party was when you spilled Brisk on the crotch of your pants.

MadisonConservative on July 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM

At this point, anyone not supporting Romney is supporting Obama’s re-election.

bluegill on July 26, 2012 at 1:39 AM

Wrong. Anyone supporting Romney supports Romney.
Anyone supporting Obama supports Obama.
Anyone supporting neither supports neither.

Fact: Some idiot Romney supporters like you accuse those who don’t vote for either of supporting Obama.
Fact: Some idiot Obama supporters accuse those who don’t vote for either of supporting Romney.
Fact: It cannot be both ways, so it is neither way.

Now settle your hash, you elitist, conservative-scorning, proud moderate fanatic.

MadisonConservative on July 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM

You Mittens would serve him better if you refrained from even commenting on these threads, because your defense of him is laced with insults and only antagonizes people rather than persuading them to your POV.

INC on July 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

You Mittens would serve him better if you refrained from even commenting on these threads, because your defense of him is laced with insults and only antagonizes people rather than persuading them to your POV.

INC on July 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

They’re miniature copies of Romney himself. Just as he can get no electoral success without trashing his (Republican) opponents, they can’t defend Romney without trashing, let’s see: TrueCons, socons, “purists” and most of all Sarah Palin. It’s a sure sign of Romney’s fatal weakness.

ddrintn on July 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM

^ Oh, and making fun of usernames on a blog. That’s such a potent weapon in their arsenal as well.

ddrintn on July 26, 2012 at 11:43 AM

In the referendum model of the election, voters ask themselves two questions: First, do I want the president to be re-elected? Second, is the challenger so unacceptable that I simply can’t bring myself to vote for him?…

Pure BS. People vote their wallets and our wallets are empty. Odumbass is history.

woodNfish on July 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Pure BS. People vote their wallets and our wallets are empty. Odumbass is history.

woodNfish on July 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

So why isn’t Romney already walking all over Obama in the polls? And don’t hand me the usual “all the polls showing Obama leading are LYING!!!!!” b.s. Given the state of the economy and Obama’s evident incompetence, and given also the aura of The Only Man Who Can Beat Obama that Romney’s been given over the past four years, it shouldn’t even be close right now. But Romney’s trailing, ‘bot fantasies and rationalizations notwithstanding.

ddrintn on July 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM

I’ve noticed that some ABRs like you who’ve been quite enthusiastic about Romney’s chances have suddenly sunk back into Primary Mode. If you have a point – other than a childish ad hominen – make it.

Basilsbest on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Still waiting to see your list. No worries I’ll catch you on the next thread. Thin skinned you and I’m the child? Funny!

Bmore on July 26, 2012 at 12:11 PM

But Romney’s trailing,

ddrintn on July 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Rasmussen today:

Romney 48
Obama 44

Cindy Cooper on July 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM

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