By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Sat Oct 06, 2012, 04:10 PM EDT
If you had to pinpoint the exact moment when Mitt Romney's strategy to make the election largely a referendum on President Barack Obama collapsed, about 10:56 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, would be as good a guess as any.
That's when, roughly 20 minutes into his sprawling oration at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., former President Bill Clinton said that no president - not even the 42nd - could have done a better job fixing the economy than Obama, given the problems the incumbent inherited.
The riff was typically self-regarding. Yet it memorably - and for some voters, persuasively - stated the case for cutting the president slack for his economic stewardship in trying circumstances.
The Big Dog was pushing on something of an open door. Obama has failed, but for a majority of voters he hasn't failed enough to make it self-evident that he should go. The Romney campaign spent its convention answering the question: Is it OK to fire Obama if he's such a fine fellow? When the real question is: Can Romney do any better?
Indeed, the two conventions - so far, the pivot of the election - were encapsulated in their two signature performances. On one hand, there was Clint Eastwood's rambling, improvised 10-minute routine saying that it's OK to cashier Obama. On the other, there was Clinton's (at times rambling and improvised) 50-minute speech detailing why Romney's program is wrong for the country. Eastwood could have given his speech at amateur night at a comedy club; Clinton could have given his at a policy luncheon at the Brookings Institution.
There's been nothing to match it for the Republicans, which is one reason that Romney is now tied with Obama on the economy in many recent polls. Election Day is nearly six weeks away, and there's still a sense that the Romney campaign has not yet - although it is moving this way - fully begun to make its case on substance.
This doesn't mean it is doomed. Abraham Lincoln said that Gen. George McClellan had a case of the slows. The media have a case of the overs. Any alleged Romney gaffe, any bad poll number is taken as yet more evidence that the election is "over."
In prior elections, the media have been criticized for calling a race without waiting until the polls close in California; this time, the media wanted to call the race without waiting until October. The press won't be truly satisfied until a white flag of surrender is hoisted over Romney's Boston headquarters.
In the end, righting his campaign depends entirely on Romney himself. He is not a natural ideologue, nor - obviously - a natural backslapper. But he is a data-obsessed salesman. He should be pitching his program with all the zeal and airtight attention to detail of a presentation for a Bain Capital business deal.
It may be easier to make a future-oriented rather than backward-looking argument against the president. He has no second-term agenda to speak of, besides a tax increase and some more budget meetings with presumed House Speaker John Boehner. How did those meetings turn out last time?
At this point, almost every day, every hour that Romney isn't spelling out the programmatic differences between him and the president - and how they will affect people - is lost time.
Romney wants to reform taxes to make the system more efficient and spur growth; the president wants to raise taxes in a weak economy. Romney has serious plans to reform entitlements; the president has the status quo, plus a price-control board for Medicare. Romney wants to unleash an American energy revolution; the president wants to continue to stand in its way. Romney has a consumer-oriented health-care reform; the president has "ObamaCare."
Romney has to make an unrelenting case for his program, pitched particularly to the practical concerns of middle-class voters. He has to give the public compelling reasons to pick him in an election that will be a choice, not a referendum.
(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate
Every year you hear people saying, “If only it would get cold enough and snow enough in the winter. Then we wouldn’t have so many bugs.”
May 24, 2013
Democrats do not live the way they vote.
Now that Obama has had the reins for over four years and is running amok destroying our nation, I am still confused why he was voted in for the second time.
President Barack Obama believes in the public sector. He thinks it should be made ever more expansive and entrusted with ever more complicated tasks. Its unions should be powerful. It should be hailed by all the great and good, and attract the nation’s best and brightest.
I am writing this letter to thank and to acknowledge the great and swift job that the Wayne Township Fire Department did, as well as the ambulance, in responding to a medical emergency in our household on May 15.
May 23, 2013
It is worth mentioning that more Americans were killed by the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11, than were killed by the recent terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.
I hate dog movies. In dog movies, the good, loyal, lovable dog always dies at the end and I end up sitting there in the dark with big tears streaming down my cheeks.
May 21, 2013
Mr. President, the buck stops with you.
President Truman set that standard, with these very words posted on a sign on his Oval Office desk.
But now, with over a thousand days left in this second Obama administration, we find a Nixonian stench emerging from the “W. House.”
Rarely has the White House briefing room so resembled the main ballroom at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
I’ve not kept it a secret that I find people who dress their dogs in clothes to be, to put it nicely, somewhat more than just eccentric. And many friendly, helpful readers out there have not kept it a secret that they really wish I would not express my views about dogs dressed as humans.
May 17, 2013
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Grilling is a simple way to feed your family well this summer. Start with a lean meat and a healthful marinade and then allow the grill to strip away additional fat for a heart-healthy and waist-friendly final result. Plus, grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in foods, which adds flavor without additional calories and fat.
May 24, 2013
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