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Playing It Safe is Always Dangerous, which GOP Elites Never Learn
Tea Party Tribune ^ | November 7, 2012 | Jonathon Moseley

Posted on 11/07/2012 2:27:12 PM PST by Moseley

The 2012 Presidential election was a rerun of 1988. Michael Dukakis was slow and superficial at presenting himself to the voters. It was already too late by the time Dukakis got around to trying to tell the voters who he is and what he stood for. This time, it was the Democrats who defined Mitt Romney and controlled the national debate before Mitt Romney’s campaign could get its message across.

Democrats learned the lesson of 1988. Republicans forgot it. Democrats acted early, aggressively, early, relentlessly, early, forcefully, and early to define Mitt Romney in the voters mind. In fact, the Democrats sought to smear each of the potential Republican Presidential candidates in anticipation of 2012 as far back as merciless attacks on Sarah Palin in 2009. Each time a potential nominee started to gain traction, the Democrats and the media immediately sought to destroy them. Watching this whack-a-mole process for four years, Romney’s team should have known better.

Mitt Romney turned out to be far better than his campaign organization. But Romney’s campaign was dragged down by the Republican establishment’s eternal strategic mistakes. The Republican elite always confuses spending lots of money, making lots of really bad campaign consultants rich, and having lots of people running around aimlessly with having an effective campaign.

Like Ronald Reagan, the goal of the Tea Party candidate should be to inform, to inspire, and to persuade. A good conservative candidate seeks to educate the voters.

However, the GOP elite ran a “play it safe” campaign — as they always do. The Republican establishment has a supreme belief in its own cleverness. RINO’s believe in trying to manipulate and out-smart the voters rather than talking to them honestly, answering their questions and concerns, and persuading them.

Voters had real questions:

First, who is Mitt Romney? Romney allowed Democrats to define him. In an election where humanizing a rich businessman was an urgent need, that should have been obvious to Romney’s team two years ago. Frankly, we know more about the mysterious Barry Soetero Obama than we do about Mitt Romney. In typical RINO fashion, tremendously positive attributes of Mitt Romney’s life story were never used.

The typical campaign schedule starts out with warm, friendly television ads talking about the candidate and his life and his family. Where were the “This is Mitt Romney” ads or videos? We did not learn about Mitt Romney’s early married life from a warm, friendly campaign video. We learned about packing the kids into the station wagon only from an attack about a dog. Forget the dog. Tell me about early family life driving 11 hours each way in a station wagon for family vacation.

But oh no! Campaign consultants will fervently argue that maybe we could win 3 million votes by humanizing Mitt Romney with his life story. But we might lose 1 grandmother in North Dakota who doesn’t like station wagons. Gain 3 million. Lose 1. Naah. Play it safe.

Second, Romney’s campaign never addressed the central question of the entire campaign for the voters: The economy under Obama is bad. But another economic crash would be worse. We survived the 2008 crash. We can’t afford another 2008 economic disaster. It is entirely reasonable for voters to calculate that Obama has done a bad job. But that is better than a rerun of 2008.

Republican insiders insisted that it was enough to simply point at Obama and say “Him do bad job! Him no good!” But the American people are intelligent enough to ask the follow-up question: “Okay, but will you do any better?”

George Bush crashed the economy, the average voter has been told relentlessly for 4 years. After all, the media says so. The Democrats say so. And the Republicans don’t deny it. Republicans don’t ever want to talk about it.

At a perfect teachable moment, the country needed to be educated on the core differences between Keynesian Economics with its proven failures and Republican policies. This is one of the core issues of the Tea Party.

The Republican establishment ran away from the question. They will tell you how brilliant they are. They will insist that leading a national discussion about our country’s future would only remind people of the 2008 economic crash. Better to ignore the voters’ legitimate questions and concerns and hope they will just go away.

Imagine the hubris of thinking that voters will forget about their own concerns when they vote. Imagine the Machiavellian manipulation of refusing to answer what is upper-most on voters’ minds and hoping voters will forget the 2008 economic collapse. This is the kind of thinking that rules and ruins the Republican Party.

Third, the campaign never really explained how would Romney’s business experience translate into the ability to fix the economy.

Fourth, the establishment declared that the strategy would be to run a ‘referendum’ election rather than a ‘contrast’ or ‘message’ campaign. That is, they would make the election all about Barack Obama’s failures, and offer as little substance as possible. The GOP wanted to avoid a comparison between the candidates.

Heaven help us. The voters decide — not the campaign consultants — what the election is about. The voters decide how the voters view the election decision. Who in their right mind thinks that a campaign can decide what the election is about? You have to answer the voters’ question and concerns. The GOP needs to respect voters as real people with legitimate concerns.

Fifth, the Tea Party and Repulican machinery were unable to swing the election. Why? Because if everyone votes, the ground game and organization has no effect. The goal of these mechanisms is to get more of your people to vote than the other guy. But if everyone votes, any difference is wiped out. The power of the Tea Party in 2010 was lost in the flood in 2012.

Sixth, Democrats play chess. Republicans are playing checkers. Democrats plan ahead. Republicans do not. In 2011, Virginia Republicans trashed a conservative Hispanic woman who was in the Tea Party from Day One. Hispanic leadership in Virginia would have helped in 2012. But Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cucinelli chose foreign money over building long-term Republican Hispanic leaders and winning Hispanic-American votes. But they are not raising up any other Hispanics, either.

In 2004 through 2006 I worked hard to get support for Paul Schiffer’s radio program influencing Ohio. Paul was drawing large numbers of women, young people, and minorities with a strong but thoughtful conservative message. We argued that Ohio as a battlegroud state needs to hear our conservative message. The show went off the air for lack of support. These are only examples of GOP short-term thinking.

Romney was looking more and more like a Ronald Reagan for today. But he was dependent upon the GOP elite. Republican insiders don’t “get” ordinary voters, because they are not interested. They want to play clever games instead.

While Romney excelled in the Presidential race as a Reaganesque leader, Romney never rose above the inherent weaknesses in the Party.

nd controlled the national debate before Mitt Romney’s campaign could get its message across.

Democrats learned the lesson of 1988. Republicans forgot it. Democrats acted early, aggressively, early, relentlessly, early, forcefully, and early to define Mitt Romney in the voters mind. In fact, the Democrats sought to smear each of the potential Republican Presidential candidates in anticipation of 2012 as far back as merciless attacks on Sarah Palin in 2009. Each time a potential nominee started to gain traction, the Democrats and the media immediately sought to destroy them. Watching this whack-a-mole process for four years, Romney’s team should have known better.

Mitt Romney turned out to be far better than his campaign organization. But Romney’s campaign was dragged down by the Republican establishment’s eternal strategic mistakes. The Republican elite always confuses spending lots of money, making lots of really bad campaign consultants rich, and having lots of people running around aimlessly with having an effective campaign.

Like Ronald Reagan, the goal of the Tea Party candidate should be to inform, to inspire, and to persuade. A good conservative candidate seeks to educate the voters.

However, the GOP elite ran a “play it safe” campaign — as they always do. The Republican establishment has a supreme belief in its own cleverness. RINO’s believe in trying to manipulate and out-smart the voters rather than talking to them honestly, answering their questions and concerns, and persuading them.

Voters had real questions:

First, who is Mitt Romney? Romney allowed Democrats to define him. In an election where humanizing a rich businessman was an urgent need, that should have been obvious to Romney’s team two years ago. Frankly, we know more about the mysterious Barry Soetero Obama than we do about Mitt Romney. In typical RINO fashion, tremendously positive attributes of Mitt Romney’s life story were never used.

The typical campaign schedule starts out with warm, friendly television ads talking about the candidate and his life and his family. Where were the “This is Mitt Romney” ads or videos? We did not learn about Mitt Romney’s early married life from a warm, friendly campaign video. We learned about packing the kids into the station wagon only from an attack about a dog. Forget the dog. Tell me about early family life driving 11 hours each way in a station wagon for family vacation.

But oh no! Campaign consultants will fervently argue that maybe we could win 3 million votes by humanizing Mitt Romney with his life story. But we might lose 1 grandmother in North Dakota who doesn’t like station wagons. Gain 3 million. Lose 1. Naah. Play it safe.

Second, Romney’s campaign never addressed the central question of the entire campaign for the voters: The economy under Obama is bad. But another economic crash would be worse. We survived the 2008 crash. We can’t afford another 2008 economic disaster. It is entirely reasonable for voters to calculate that Obama has done a bad job. But that is better than a rerun of 2008.

Republican insiders insisted that it was enough to simply point at Obama and say “Him do bad job! Him no good!” But the American people are intelligent enough to ask the follow-up question: “Okay, but will you do any better?”

George Bush crashed the economy, the average voter has been told relentlessly for 4 years. After all, the media says so. The Democrats say so. And the Republicans don’t deny it. Republicans don’t ever want to talk about it.

At a perfect teachable moment, the country needed to be educated on the core differences between Keynesian Economics with its proven failures and Republican policies. This is one of the core issues of the Tea Party.

The Republican establishment ran away from the question. They will tell you how brilliant they are. They will insist that leading a national discussion about our country’s future would only remind people of the 2008 economic crash. Better to ignore the voters’ legitimate questions and concerns and hope they will just go away.

Imagine the hubris of thinking that voters will forget about their own concerns when they vote. Imagine the Machiavellian manipulation of refusing to answer what is upper-most on voters’ minds and hoping voters will forget the 2008 economic collapse. This is the kind of thinking that rules and ruins the Republican Party.

Third, the campaign never really explained how would Romney’s business experience translate into the ability to fix the economy.

Fourth, the establishment declared that the strategy would be to run a ‘referendum’ election rather than a ‘contrast’ or ‘message’ campaign. That is, they would make the election all about Barack Obama’s failures, and offer as little substance as possible. The GOP wanted to avoid a comparison between the candidates.

Heaven help us. The voters decide — not the campaign consultants — what the election is about. The voters decide how the voters view the election decision. Who in their right mind thinks that a campaign can decide what the election is about? You have to answer the voters’ question and concerns. The GOP needs to respect voters as real people with legitimate concerns.

Fifth, the Tea Party and Republican machinery were unable to swing the election. Why? Because if everyone votes, the ground game and organization has no effect. The goal of these mechanisms is to get more of your people to vote than the other guy. But if everyone votes, any difference is wiped out. The power of the Tea Party in 2010 was lost in the flood in 2012.

Sixth, Democrats play chess. Republicans are playing checkers. Democrats plan ahead. Republicans do not. In 2011, Virginia Republicans trashed a conservative Hispanic woman who was in the Tea Party from Day One. Hispanic leadership in Virginia would have helped in 2012. But Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cucinelli chose foreign money over building long-term Republican Hispanic leaders and winning Hispanic-American votes. But they are not raising up any other Hispanics, either.

In 2004 through 2006 I worked hard to get support for Paul Schiffer’s radio program influencing Ohio. Paul was drawing large numbers of women, young people, and minorities with a strong but thoughtful conservative message. We argued that Ohio as a battleground state needs to hear our conservative message. The show went off the air for lack of support. These are only examples of GOP short-term thinking.

Romney was looking more and more like a Ronald Reagan for today. But he was dependent upon the GOP elite. Republican insiders don’t “get” ordinary voters, because they are not interested. They want to play clever games instead.

While Romney excelled in the Presidential race as a Reaganesque leader, Romney never rose above the inherent weaknesses in the Party.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Delaware; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: barackobama; campaign; mittromney; teaparty; vote2012

1 posted on 11/07/2012 2:27:20 PM PST by Moseley
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To: Moseley

All I can say is this: at this point I say, “let the electorate get what they have been asking for, honestly, a crashed, ruined nation will be there, and there will be plenty of people willing to help that just won’t be like them and won’t have to. Charity is there, and the word of God too. Politics has never been the great bastion for the word of God, never will be.


2 posted on 11/07/2012 2:34:15 PM PST by Morpheus2009
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To: Moseley

Mitt Romney, the anti-Reagan.

“I think Bill Weld comes as close as anyone,” Romney said when asked whom in his party he aligned with.

“I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush,”

“I’m not a partisan politician. My hope is that, after this election, it will be the moderates of both parties who will control the Senate, not the Jesse Helmses.”


3 posted on 11/07/2012 2:35:58 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney not only reelected Obama, he lost the Senate,ruined the "down ticket", West, Mia Love, Brown.)
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To: Moseley

“RINO’s believe in trying to manipulate and out-smart the voters rather than talking to them honestly, answering their questions and concerns, and persuading them. “

They can’t explain and defend principles that they don’t really believe in.


4 posted on 11/07/2012 2:38:50 PM PST by ari-freedom
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: ansel12

Republicans always lose when they try to be all things to all people. This time the Republicans believed that they could appeal to union members, at least in WA State and that if they supported the unions, the unions would support them. I just laughed at them and gave up because the Republicans seemed to have abandoned their core values. You cannot support public sector unions and a smaller budget at the same time.


6 posted on 11/07/2012 2:41:36 PM PST by Eva
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To: ansel12

“Mitt Romney, the anti-Reagan.”

But Reagan used to be a Democrat and liberal on some issues when he was GOP governor of California.


7 posted on 11/07/2012 2:42:43 PM PST by ari-freedom
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To: Moseley
The GOP playing not to loose once again.

To win, you play to win. Ronald Reagan explained it best. " We win, you loose. "

8 posted on 11/07/2012 2:43:29 PM PST by oyez (I think we are done here.)
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To: Moseley

We can pass the blame all day long but in the end it is nobody except the people and i think they will pay dearly for getting what they wanted.


9 posted on 11/07/2012 2:45:57 PM PST by ravenwolf
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To: ari-freedom

The only Fox News pundit that seemed upset last night was Sarah Palin. The others all seemed jovial enough.

The problem with Palin is we need somebody further to the right to move the middle to the right.

We need to demand:

1. Immigration moritorium
2. End to student visas
3. Abolition of the Departments of Energy and Education
4. No voting rights for welfare/food stamp recipients
5. America must have the top military in the world
6. A budget balanced with extra cushion to reduce the national debt by one-half of one percent per year
7. Speak out for the persecuted Christians worldwide
8. Fierce defense of the 1st and 2nd Amendments


10 posted on 11/07/2012 2:48:09 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American that a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: ari-freedom

Forget it. The GOP seems more interested in being the bedroom police than focusing on what is in effect a knife at the throat of the nation. The GOP is doomed, because many clowns here feel they didn’t push the social conservative angle ENOUGH??!?!?!?! Can you actually believe that?

Sad.


11 posted on 11/07/2012 2:48:31 PM PST by SengirV
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To: Moseley

Yea, I’ve seen a lot of football games and boxing matches.

Romney had him on the ropes after the first debate, and they panicked. They were scared to death of a “sympathy factor” if Romney kept on him, especially in the last debate.

...so they attempted to coast to victory.


12 posted on 11/07/2012 2:53:52 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: SengirV
Forget it. The GOP seems more interested in being the bedroom police than focusing on what is in effect a knife at the throat of the nation

That is a fantasy of the anti-conservatives, and you know there is not a shred of truth to it.
13 posted on 11/07/2012 2:56:22 PM PST by Moseley (http://www.curesocialism.com)
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To: Moseley
It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

If Romney had played up the "who am I" family guy stuff and he still lost, you'd say he lost because that stuff distracted from his message on the issues. Voters would say, "So he's a nice guy, but why should I vote for him?"

Romney's business background cut both ways, helping and hurting him. He could have gotten deeper into how a business background would help him with the economy, but people who didn't grasp that already probably wouldn't be swayed by hammering away at that theme.

The results, though, are pretty clear. A Reaganesque "message" campaign this year wouldn't have done any better. The country's changed too much. Even if it would have worked, none of the candidates this year were Ronald Reagan.

14 posted on 11/07/2012 2:56:50 PM PST by x
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To: SengirV

My recollection is that Mitt was not at all interested in social conservatism, and he is the most socially liberal candidate in GOP history, he renewed his support of homosexualizing the military and the Boy Scouts, and he rejected the pro-life party platform and returned to his “health” of the mother abortion position, and he isn’t even a Christian.

So what is your complaint? There was no social conservatism in his campaign, he was the whiz kid, economics giant from corporate.


15 posted on 11/07/2012 3:01:08 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney not only reelected Obama, he lost the Senate,ruined the "down ticket", West, Mia Love, Brown.)
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To: SengirV

Bedroom police??? Like objecting to faggot couples adopting healthy children while normal coulples wait in line?

Yes, I don’t want to live in such a perverted country that we are quickly becoming.

Shouldn’t you be over on the Log Cabin/NAMBLA site?


16 posted on 11/07/2012 3:01:57 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American that a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: Moseley
I said throughout the campaign that the strategy would probably fail - and if Willard won, he'd have no mandate. I called it a Dewey Stragegy. Here's a description from Wikipedia...

Republicans figured that all they had to do to win was to avoid making any major mistakes, and as such Dewey did not take any risks. He spoke in platitudes, trying to transcend politics. Speech after speech was filled with empty statements of the obvious, such as the famous quote: "You know that your future is still ahead of you." An editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal summed it up:

No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.[17]

Part of the reason Dewey ran such a cautious, vague campaign was his experience as a presidential candidate in 1944. In that election Dewey felt that he had allowed Roosevelt to draw him into a partisan, verbal "mudslinging" match, and he believed that this had cost him votes. As such, Dewey was convinced in 1948 to appear as non-partisan as possible, and to emphasize the positive aspects of his campaign while ignoring his opponent. This strategy proved to be a major mistake, as it allowed Truman to repeatedly criticize and ridicule Dewey, while Dewey never answered any of Truman's criticisms.[18] Perhaps alone among all of Dewey's advisers, his 1944 campaign chairman, Edwin Jaeckle, admonished him to be aggressive on the campaign trail, advice Dewey rejected.

17 posted on 11/07/2012 3:06:57 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: x
If Romney had played up the "who am I" family guy stuff and he still lost, you'd say he lost because that stuff distracted from his message on the issues. Voters would say, "So he's a nice guy, but why should I vote for him?"

A well run campaign spaces this over a timetable. Early in a campaign, introducing the candidate opens the campaign. Then the campaign shifts over into issues. Then into attacking the opponent. Then it goes back to positive messages just before election day.
18 posted on 11/07/2012 3:10:36 PM PST by Moseley (http://www.curesocialism.com)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
"You know that your future is still ahead of you." Classic!!! My favorite is Calvin Coolidge's "When more and more people are thrown out of work unemployment results." Liberty Ladies, Cropped and Reduced Liberty Ladies
19 posted on 11/07/2012 3:14:48 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American that a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: BobL
Romney had him on the ropes after the first debate, and they panicked. They were scared to death of a “sympathy factor” if Romney kept on him, especially in the last debate.

...so they attempted to coast to victory.

I had the same feeling. To use another game analogy, in the last debate, why didn't he play his ace of spades, Benghazi?

20 posted on 11/07/2012 3:44:52 PM PST by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: Moseley

Most infuriating - the same consultants point fingers immediately (usually at conservatives) and never at themselves.


21 posted on 11/07/2012 4:04:01 PM PST by relictele
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To: ari-freedom

Reagan is a famous conservative who was known as a radical, right-wing governor, and who last voted for a democrat president just 3 years after Reagan was finished with his WWII service, in other words, 1948.

You already know this stuff so why do you play this childish game to justify your devotion to the anti-Reagan, lifelong liberal, Mitt Romney, in 2012 politics?

Romney formally left the republican party to getaway from the Reagan Revolution, Romney became a democrat operative and voter, AFTER the Reagan Revolution.


22 posted on 11/07/2012 4:11:54 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney not only reelected Obama, he lost the Senate,ruined the "down ticket", West, Mia Love, Brown.)
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To: Fiji Hill

“I had the same feeling. To use another game analogy, in the last debate, why didn’t he play his ace of spades, Benghazi?”

Like I said, fear. They figured that they had it in the bag and so they feared blowing it.

...and so, 4 more years.


23 posted on 11/07/2012 5:01:20 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: Moseley

As Rush once put it, we can never stop educating.

But we seem to have a genius for nominating people who can’t educate because they themselves lack a conservative education.


24 posted on 11/07/2012 6:36:52 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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