Can The Romney Team Stir the Pot as Well as the Democrats?

There’s been a lot of talk on cable news lately about presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s secret weapon: His wife, Ann Romney. Many have pointed out that she humanizes her husband who often comes across as emotionally-detached and robotic. I agree with that analysis, and while I certainly believe she’ll continue to be a big help up until the November election, I don’t think she’s the most effective weapon in Mitt’s campaign arsenal. I also don’t think a weak economy, a crippling national debt, and Romney’s experience as an accomplished businessman will be his coup de grâce against President Obama.

In the end, it might just be the Romney campaign’s ability to manufacture outrage at the same level as the Democratic party that will give him the edge he needs against the president.

Let’s face it… There’s a reason President Obama’s approval rating has remained as high as it has over the past three and a half years, and it’s not because he’s done a good job as president. By any impartial analysis of the state of the country, he hasn’t. He’s stayed above water due to a pretty successful divide and conquer strategy that he’s been engaged in since the day he took office. His presidency has never been about results. It’s been about creating villains from manufactured controversies and deflecting the electorate’s anger away from him.

As a result, Republicans have been finding it difficult to keep Americans’ focused on what have traditionally been key issues during a presidential election, like the economy and foreign policy. Instead, they’ve found themselves dragged onto the president’s playing field where they’ve clumsily stumbled around on the defensive, thanks to an accommodating media who desperately wants Rush Limbaugh, contraception, and the audacity of the rich to be the cornerstones of our national conversation.

For weeks, the Republican party has been reeling from the completely fabricated, yet affective War on Women campaign waged by the DNC. Republicans have felt compelled to respond to the distracting narrative since poll numbers have shown that it’s done the party and primary candidates some damage. Yet, each time they’ve spent time and energy pointing out its absurdity, they’ve managed to lend it additional publicity and staying power.

The Romney campaign, however, has shown this week that they aren’t as likely to quietly fall into the role of the disheveled, wide-eyed drunk who’s wildly swinging the top half of a broken beer bottle around in the air to defend himself against unseen attackers. Instead, his team has demonstrated a readiness to hit back hard using the same type of manufactured controversies that have been used against their candidate and his party.

When Democratic adviser Hilary Rosen took a shot at Mitt Romney’s wife Ann, on national television, for not having “worked a day in her life”, the comment could have easily been discarded by the mainstream media as an act of mere pettiness. That is, after all, what it was. However, someone at the Romney camp not only saw an opportunity to hit back fast, but also to introduce a new narrative that would sour the independent female vote on the president.

Ann Romney, who stayed at home to raise five boys, battled cancer, and lives with Multiple Sclerosis, was quickly set up with a Twitter account so she could respond immediately, stating, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Rosen’s ties to the White House were quickly pointed out by the Romney campaign, the video of her remarks went viral, and social media went ablaze with angry reactions from stay-at-home moms across the country.

Rattled by concerns over upsetting the female demographic, the Obama administration quickly went into damage control. David Axlerod, Jay Carney, Joe Biden, and President Obama himself scrambled to distance the administration from Rosen, but were unable to squelch the story.

By the end of the week, Ann Romney was on television responding to Rosen’s perceived disparaging of stay-at-home moms, Jay Leno was making jokes about Rosen’s remark at President Obama’s expense, and the Republican party had even found a way to ride the momentum by releasing a line of merchandise carrying the mantra, “Moms Do Work! Vote GOP”.

Suddenly, The War On Women has been countered with The War on Moms. The truth is that neither is legitimate, but both play off of the ideological stereotypes of the respective parties. That and lots of media exposure are apparently enough to make them both work.

Yes, the Romney camp understands how to play the game. We caught a glimpse of their capabilities throughout the primaries, but we’ve seen now how truly sharp they are. Perhaps this gives some comfort to those of us who have lent Mitt Romney our unenthusiastic support because we believe in his electability and desperately want President Obama out of office.

Still, it bothers me that our national politics have come to this. Our country is in real trouble. There’s nothing pretend about our national debt, the cost of energy, high unemployment, low economic growth, and our decline on the world stage. These are the issues we should be talking about.

Instead, it always seems to come back to the same hyperbole and demagoguery – the most effective methods of garnishing political support from an electorate that is widely uninformed and easily distracted.

The next seven months will be quite a circus.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
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  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

    Outstanding article John.  I’ve been looking at the polling data and the problem I have with it is not so much the results, but the questions asked and the demographics, including the data set,  of the poll being performed.

    A pollster can contact as many people as necessary in a given pol and find enough respondents to create a more favorable result in the final analysis.  Meaning, if they sample of republicans is located in a democrat leaning area, the responses will be more likely be slightly to somewhat more favorable toward the democrat.

    My guess is that the responses are derived from a less conservative sample, they’ll be more favorable to the left, etc.  So, in most of these polls we read, we’re looking at a synopsis of the gathered data.  The data may accurately represent what sample provided but that doesn’t make it a valid poll.

    What has gotten lost in all this that most people are not defined as complete conservatives or liberals, and have but more in the muddled libertarian middle ground.  (Fiscally conservative with social issues moderation.)  Somewhere in the process, both sides have become defined to the extreme positions, which is not the case.

    My hunch is if you sample an equal number of democrats in Wyoming, you’ll find greater support for the 2nd Amendment than you would from an equal number of democrats in New York City.

    The other thing is how many people are being honest with the data collector?

    I do not believe Obama has the support that the media driven polls would like us all to believe.   As you say, Romney needs to somehow be able to drive public opinion to take frequent umbrage at the Obama administration yet still look like a good guy.  With the lamestream media as it is, that’s no small challenge.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

    We know GOP politicians are little better than scum. But GOP voters and
    cheerleaders are worse still. GOP voters will always choose the most crooked,
    cowardly, and dishonest candidate. Ain’t no road low enough, ain’t no alley
    dirty enough.

    • 1LonesomeDove1

      You mean like those who (Bill) lie before congress, have adulterous (Bill) sex scandals in office, and (BILL) give presidential (BILL) pardons to rich guys named Rich….after they steal millions (BILL)  from the American taxpayer?

      Those kind of crooked, (BILL) cowardly, and dishonest (BILL) candidates?

    • Jeffreydan

        In health news, fortunately no deaths have been reported resulting from the liberal projection epidemic. Doctors and researchers are confident the two chief symptoms, low intelligence and extreme unpleasantness, can be managed with the proper medication.     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

    Mr. Daly, You said “For
    weeks, the Republican party has been reeling from the completely fabricated, yet
    affectiveWar on Women campaign waged by the DNC.”

     

    Have
    you been paying attention to what the Republican legislatures and the Republican
    governors, in the country,  are doing to stifle the rights of women in America? 
    Fabricated???… my butt! 

    • Jeffreydan

        ” America?  Fabricated???… my butt! ”

      Interesting that you needed to purchase a synthetic tushie, but at least you bought American. Was your original one that bad?

        BTW, all the question marks just make your post look sloppy and incoherent. No need to include them–your posts are already plenty sloppy and incoherent.  

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

        You of all people should talk! You are never in disagreement to whatever your conservative masters post. What a toady you are!

        • Jeffreydan

            Oh dear, looks like we’ll have to have the pediatrician add projection to the list of Willie’s symptoms.  

        • ph16

          Wil,

          YOU of all people should talk! YOU are never in disagreement to YOUR leftist masters post. What a toady YOU are! 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            It’s because they are always correct. Duh! You people are wrong on just about  everything!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Nice accusation. Too bad none of you hypocrites have ever proved it.

          • StanW

            We were right about the evils of slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK and the inherent racism of the DEMOCRATS!

          • ph16

            Oh arrogant now aren’t we? Believe me Wil, you are a caricature of an extreme left-leaning arrogant ideologue. Honestly, why are you still on this site if conservatives (which this is a conservative site as I am sure you know), “are wrong on just about everything.” But what do I know? If there’s a site I disagree with everything, I don’t visit or read it anymore.

    • John Daly

      Wil, What the DNC has done would be the equivalent of me citing YOUR regular comments as unequivocal proof of the Democratic party’s “War on Independent Thinking”.

      Anyone who truly believes that any of these recent “War on ” campaigns are symptomatic of  anything other than partisan sniping and party fund-raising needs to question their integrity.

      I could twist each and every platform of both parties and claim it to be evidence of a “War on…” something.

      Gotta grow up, Wil.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

        John, All you do is spew right-wing dogma. You have no independent thinking at all. Again, Are you aware, 
        to what the Republican legislatures and the Republican governors, in the country,  are doing to stifle the rights of women in America?  Answer that question! And, as far as growing up, that should be your ambition. 

        • StanW

          First, YOU tell us what you mean by “stifle the rights of women in America”?

          And this time give SPECIFIC examples, and not your impotent opinion!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            You can better believe he won’t include the rights of Palin or Condi Rice.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            What right have been taken away from Palin or Condi Rice? They aren’t pregnant, are they/

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Palin was, and we saw all the false accusations and character smears, didn’t we.

            As for Condi, her speech rights were attacked when she was attacked racially by the left.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            But, none of their rights were taken away!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            “Oreo cookies were thrown by Democrats at Mr. Steele, and two members of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner, committed identity theft, illegally obtaining Mr. Steele’s Social Security number and credit report.
            Brazenly, on the left-wing Internet website called “The News Blog,” Democrats posted a doctored photograph of Mr. Steele, depicting him as a “Simple Sambo.” This contemptible racist stereotype is the same one that Democrats used to demean blacks during the era of slavery and segregation.

            In addition to other outrageous racist images produced by several Democrats, cartoonist Jeff Danziger depicted Dr. Rice as an ignorant, barefoot “mammy,” reminiscent of the stereotyped black woman in the movie Gone with the Wind who remarked: “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies.”

            http://www. nationalblackrepublicans. com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.DYK-SimpleSamboandgnorantMammy&page_id=95&tp_preview=true

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            I really don’t think I have to explain all the unfair treatment Palin received in order to shut out her opinion. I mean, you’d had to have been absent from the US and without TV for two years if you missed all of that hate.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Ha-ha,
            This from the forced vaginal probe crowd. It’s almost too hilarious. You really
            don’t pay much attention do you?

          • StanW

            I asked for SPECIFICS?

            So keep your opinions and LIES to yourself, Wil!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Did you really expect any?

          • StanW

            No I expect him to lies and whine and display his abject hypocrisy.

            And he rarely disappoints me.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            I can see that.

            LOL!!!!!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Stan, you and the Dove just make crap up. You both are an embarrassment!

          • StanW

            Wil, you are the one that thinks an ultra-sound is an invasive vaginal procedure.

            You are a liar and a hypocrite!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            And he’s quite stupid. An ultra-sound is required anyway.

            And he’s a hypocrite because, leftists always claim that the state has the last word on the family, education and other issues, but when the state goes against THEM…..all of a sudden they cry baby about the state denying their rights.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Wil, do you just make up these accusations with no evidence to back you?

            You’re an embarrassment!

            LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Stan,  You have to do more reading to fine out what is going on in America. Stop listening to FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh, They are lying to you. A few suggestions: Huffington Post, and Bartcop.com. And listen to Mike Malloy and Rachel Maddow. Lawrence O Donnell is good too. Your welcome!

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            How about you looking up the definition of “specifics” instead of offering these pathetic stalls?

            The old saying about liberals is true…..you can’t even defend yourselves in your own arguments.

          • StanW

            So you are satisfied with your LIE that an ultrasound is an invasive procedure?

            And why would I ever listen to any of those proven and admitted LIARS?

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            He has no choice. The lie is all he has to offer.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            How about vaginal ultrasound? Are you okay with that?

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            You can’t answer the question, so you ask one instead?

            Why do you expect an answer to your questions when you’re not answering any?

          • StanW

            An ultrasounds is not always vaginal. It is a NON-Invasive procedure.

            Still waiting on your list of what RIGHTS are being denied women by Republicans.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            He can’t counter anything LeAnn is saying, so he’s telling lies about her too.

          • John Daly

            I love it when people don’t realize that they are parodies of themselves.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            And, you and your toadies  seem to know nothing about ‘vaginal ultrasound.’ Doesn’t that bother you, I mean a little! Facts seem you mean nothing to you people.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            When someone like you has the ability to deny that water is wet, what’s the use in telling a moron like you anything at all.

          • StanW

            Still spouting the same lies as yesterday I see, Wil.

            Ultrasounds are NOT vaginal or invasive.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Oh, so now you DON’T think government is the last word on rights?

        • StanW

          First, YOU tell us what you mean by “stifle the rights of women in America”?

          And this time give SPECIFIC examples, and not your impotent opinion!

        • 1LonesomeDove1

          Do YOU ever spew anything but left-wing dogma?

        • 1LonesomeDove1

          Do YOU ever spew anything but left-wing dogma?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Yes, all the time on other forums.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            I’d like to see. Can you show me, cause so far….I haven’t seen any?

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Did you just now “like” one of my comments to make me appear wrong about your always spewing left-wing dogma?

            LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • 1LonesomeDove1

          Do YOU ever spew anything but left-wing dogma?

        • 1LonesomeDove1

          Do YOU ever spew anything but left-wing dogma?

        • 1LonesomeDove1

          Do YOU ever spew anything but left-wing dogma?

        • Jeffreydan

            How adorable! Willie just demanded that someone else give HIM an answer.

            I’d just love to pinch his cute little cheek, once the strained carrots are wiped off, anyway. 

          • John Daly

            God bless him.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Little Jeffy speaks, lets give him a lollipop to suck on.

        • John Daly

          lol. Right-wing dogma, eh? Oh Wil, you keep me young. Please click on my name above and notice the numerous columns I’ve written that are critical of the GOP presidential candidates, and the embarrassing pandering coming from both sides of the aisle. Betcha won’t.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Maybe, because all the
            GOP presidential candidates , were loons. But, Willard is your candidate now! And, he’s white, just like you.

          • 1LonesomeDove1

            Well, they were called loons….by loons.

          • Jeffreydan

              Perhaps this might help, Willie, so be sure you’re up on your Ritalin and pay attention:

              You claimed John posted only right-wing dogma & didn’t think independantly, which you now know you were (like everything else under the sun) wrong about.
              Now, making false characterizations (look it up) like that is rude, and changing the subject does not pass for an apology or acknowledgment (look it up).

              Don’t worry if you never end up practicing  proper etiquette (look it up) or debating skills. We are fully aware of your extremely limited capacity (look it up) to learn.

              And you’d probably be better off if you didn’t try playing football, should the desire arise. It’s not a game for liberals, what with the rule against moving the goalposts.    

          • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

            “Be sure you’re up on your ritalin and pay attention”

            That is a PRICELESS response. I love it! 

            I’m stealing it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

     Excellent article John.  I think the Romney campaign can now afford to directly confront Obama for the remainder of the campaign.  The primaries lasted long enough and were ugly enough to expose any smoking guns that would derail a candidacy.  Meaning for Romney, he can now say “Nothing new there” and move forward.
    If, and it’s a big if, Romney (or his PAC) is willing to wage the campaign as he did against Gingrich and Santorum, he’ll win in November.
    But if he doesn’t go for the jugular and hold on, then we’ll see Obama reelected.
    A lot will depend on who turns out for the election.  If Obama has indeed managed to lose the youth support he had from 2008, the game is over for him.  Even if they just stay home and not vote.
    It’s all tactical from here on. To Romney’s benefit, Obama can’t run on his record. Especially when it comes to balancing the budget since there hasn’t been one in years.
    It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • cmacrider

    John:  An excellent article in which you make your points cogently. 

     However, it seems to me that the reason that the Democrats can create these distractions is because the Republicans have neglected to go on the offensive and “frame the debate.”  By default, Obama and Axelrod can continue on with their game of directing the public’s attention away from Obama’s pitiful record and incompetence.

    • John Daly

      Yes and no. Republicans often attempt to frame debates on national issues, and some even present their positions quite well… but an overwhelmingly left media has been quite effective in dulling their message. I honestly think everyday Americans have a better ability to frame messages than the Republican party does. Resistance to Obamacare is an example. Angry constituents at town hall meetings across the country did more to sway public opinion than anything the RNC did, or could do.

  • Glen

    John, of course this is pettiness, but don’t give Rosen such a pass…. she (& the feminist left) really has been fighting a war ON women for decades and just tipped her hand.

    • John Daly

       Oh, I think there’s definitely a prevailing wisdom on the left that being a stay-at-home mom isn’t as noble of a profession as having a paid career. However, to use one person’s words as a campaign issue against an entire party is purely political. It’s the same thing that was done with Rush.

      Don’t get me wrong… The Democrats had this coming after the War on Women nonsense. I’m just dismayed that it takes stuff like this to actually get the public’s attention.

  • Jeffreydan

    I’ve been saying the same thing since before Obama reared his anti-American head, that the more ethically Republicans run their campaigns, the less advantage they have against democrats. The former may very well have substance and sound policy on their side, but the latter has a very focused thirst for power, an incredible lack of ethics, and a complicit mass media.
      If Obama were a remotely ethical campaigner, he could never get as far as he has. Of course, if he were a remotely ethical person, his campaigns wouldn’t need to be just a bunch of B.S., blatant lies, and manufactured scandals against his enemies.

    The last thing bullies and street-fighters want is a level playing field. Can you imagine how many criminals would get away if the police weren’t allowed to use deception and the like?    

    • Kathie Ampela

      Politics has always been a dirty game, but now it seems that ”destroy the opposition at all costs” tactics is the only way to gain the attention of a disinterested electorate.

      The GOP went limp in 2008 when Sarah Palin wanted to hammer Obama on his ties to Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright in 2008 and John McCain wouldn’t let her do it. We know what happened.

    • Glen

      Jeffry,  you so summed up my sense of these political follies much better than I could have…. bravo!

  • Michael

    John, you raise an interesting and important issue:  Whether Team Romney can move the ball or simply chase it.  You give a lot of credit to Romney’s team.  It may be deserved, but I can’t help but wonder if the attention over Hilary Rosen’s remarks was due more to an on-fire conservative media - justifiably desperate to see Obama defeated - than to Romney’s campaign team.   

    Maybe Ann Romney and her family were just pissed and decided to fire back.  Maybe the campaign simply cleared the decks for action and went along with it, rather than thought of and executed it. 

    I don’t know who did what, but I’d love to know how this all really played out, and who the real players were. 

    Frankly, I’m hoping Ed Gillespie’s blue-collar small-town Jersey roots will help put a little more fight in the Romney campaign. 

    • John Daly

      I firmly believe that Ann Romney didn’t just do this on her own. The Romney campaign is certainly very sensitive to what is put out for the media to absorb, especially after some mis-steps over the past few months.  I think the Twitter response was a quickly calculated move on the campaign’s part.

  • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com/ Bob

     I think the next few months will be quite interesting.  It’s going to be tough for Obama to blame much on Romney, he has little in common with Bush, so it’s going to be tough to make some of the same old arguments stick. 

    This election is going to be about more than the Democrats spin.  Obama won the last election on a combination of race and “Hope and Change”, but he’s no longer a one term junior Senator, he’s had 4 years to implement.  Romney is a successful businessman and successful governor.  I think it’s going to be difficult to find negative things to throw at Romney that aren’t far left wing issues.

    Romney doesn’t have to stir the pot, all he has to do is shine a glaring spotlight at the Obama administrations complete ineptness and he should win by a large margin.

    • John Daly

       I agree with everything except the last paragraph. The Republicans have been trying to focus the spotlight on Obama’s failures for a while now, and the media has successfully deflected the brunt of it. They will continue to do the same with Romney. Romney really needs to do both – point out the state of the country under Obama and latch on to silly missteps like they did last week with Hilary Rosen.

  • Kathie Ampela

    It is depressing that demagoguery seems to be the only effective tool in politics. There are those of us who have been paying attention all along, but so many more have no idea what’s going on…they don’t even know who Mitt Romney is yet. I know that the Romney camp is capable of Alinsky tactics, I wasn’t at all surprised at the effective “War on Women” morphing into “War on Moms.” I, too, was pissed at Rosen’s remarks and was glad Team Romney turned it around, but it hasn’t changed my opinion of him.  I believe he is a weak candidate who will betray the base and in the end, unless there is a surprising turn of events late summer, early fall, like $6 per gallon gas, a war with Iran or violence in the streets, Obama will win re-election.  Or rather, demagoguery will win.  

    • NANCYE

      I couldn’t disagree with you more.  Obama doesn’t have a record to run on.  He was new and dumbbells believed his chant of “hope and change”.  Now even THOSE can’t help but see that, in 3 1/2  years, he’s done neither.  All he’s done is try to turn the young against the old, rich against poor, black and white against each other.   These tactics may work for awhile but even the dumbest of  the dumb has to “see the light” eventually.  I can’t believe that the America people – who voted for this Marxist-in-Chief – won’t ”get the message” by November.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

      I predict, Robert “Rob” Portman  the Senator from Ohio. Will be Willard Romney’s pick for vice president. What say you?