Pick an issue, literally any issue whether it be foreign or domestic, Mitt Romney will not win the debates. Even on the one topic he consistently polls better than the President on, our nation’s economy, he will lose the argument. Romney is not going to lose gained ground because of poor debate skills and tactics, but instead, due to his lack of policy specifics.
Candidates have to take their message out onto the campaign trail to test everything from its delivery to the appropriate applause breaks. The sound bite is usually crafted and the posture and countenance of the candidate has to weighed against the most effective backdrop, i.e. a farm house, manufacturing plant, the capital dome, etc.
If Team Romney thinks it will just roll out the specifics a day before the debates to squelch the demand for them, they are mistaken. The candidate will not perform well or appear to manage the details of each plan, given the commentator’s specific questions.
In an age of Twitter and Facebook, Romney will be immediately attacked if he is perceived to be dodging questions, being evasive, ambiguous or hollow. A debate is not the place to only attack the opponent, you will actually have to offer a plan and platform of your own in contrast. This is the reason, each debate will be dedicated to a given set of subjects, which can and will likely cost the Romney camp.
On the war front, Romney has failed to speak at length if any at all on the way he himself would manage the war effort going forward. He would be hard pressed to discuss the troops without sounding like either Presidents’ Bush or former war hawk, Sen John McCain who believed American troops should stay in Iraq for 100 years if necessary. Sounding like them is an instant fail with the American people. Which is why Romney has to sample the message.
The debates can’t be about new proposals, but it must instead be a discussion about the differences in each proposal and why one would be better than the other if implemented. The news of the day following the debate cannot be journalists discussing what they had not heard before. Romney poll tested his “say-nothing-do-no-harm” stance during the GOP Presidential primary and it tested well, however, Mr. Romney, you are the nominee now, that polling won’t hold up.
Romney’s supporters and surrogates are either whispering their disdain for this approach or in some cases, Joe Scarborough (See Blood In The Water) and as of recent frustrations, radio host, Ann Coulter has come out voicing her angst with the campaign. “if we lose against this record [Obama's economic record and policies], the party should just shut down…just shut it all down”.
The V.P. Candidate, Paul Ryan will face Vice President Joe Biden in their debate earlier in October, but although many are waiting with baited breathe, Ryan cannot debate Biden with new details and specifics that have never been heard of from the top of the ticket. It will create the Bush-Cheney effect where questions existed throughout the presidency about who was really in charge of policy.
The debate clock is ticking as fast as the national debt clock the GOP often points too, yet there doesn’t yet appear to be any indication of the strategy adjustment for the campaign. Biden loves to talk policy details, Ryan will need them from his corner to prevent their one debate from looking like a runaway Amtrak Train Delaware bound.
Romney will need to talk more about foreign policy, social issues and in detail about his domestic policy agenda as well as his Tax Plan without relying on his cadre of empty catch words, principles, failed policies, extraordinary. He will have to discuss more of his role as governor and less, in my opinion about Bain Capital, his former business entity. Americans don’t care about Bain.
Romney will not only lose the debates, all three of them, but as a consequence, he will invariably lose the election if he doesn’t give up more. More of everything! Enough about Ann, Bain and the hollow stares. No more $10,000 wagers from the podium platforms, Romney was already fighting an uphill battle with a popular incumbent among a demographic that cannot relate to the conservative candidate.
Romney needs to start acting like he wants the job of President of the United States and not just wanting to win. He has to convince Americans that he sees this as a humbling role to fill on their behalf and not just a personal family accomplishment or goal inherent of someone of his breed as a next step on a personal quest.
Mr. Romney will join the long list of GOP “formers” if he doesn’t lay it all on the line yesterday! that’s my story and um sticking to it.