It's time for Romney to offer his own contract with America

Instead, Romney should offer — and soon — a sort of Contract with America that gives short, concise agendas on fiscal policy, energy, the tax code, and health care that really would be shovel-ready in January 2013 — a contract that shows Americans how they could be wealthier working than stuck in the growing Obama dependent class. Romney could present, even if only in outline, a blueprint for balancing the budget (stating when and exactly how: an across-the-board hiring and spending freeze? phasing out farm subsidies?), targets for vastly increased oil and gas production (getting 2, 3, or 4 million additional barrels by opening up new federal lands for leasing?), simplified taxes that would raise more revenue (with an explanation of how exactly lowering rates can produce more federal revenue), and a private-sector solution for health care. If Romney offers brief but detailed solutions, then the focus turns to Obama to refute them, which makes his preferred Chicago-style personal attacks seem all the more extraneous and mean-spirited. It is hard to keep harping that Romney is too rich when he has outlined a precise way to lessen the need for imported oil, reduce the trade deficit, and make America less prone to strategic blackmail.

In other words, if Romney allows himself to be demagogued as a richer-white-guy version of George W. Bush, while he trots out generalized talking points about cutting taxes, getting American back to work, and ending Obamacare, he will lose the election, buried under slurs about his new “mansion,” his Swiss bank account, and more of Bush’s September 2008 economics.