Redstate has had a habit of giving advice to the Presidential contenders on what to do. The recent famous example being Erick Erickson calling a play for Team Perry, and then – wow, incredibly – Perry delivered it like Tim Tebow making a long pass for a touchdown, making a graceful exit and delivering a Gingrich boost in one fell swoop.
After Mitt Romney’s not-good, terrible, broken-inevitability-dreams result in SC leaves one almost sympathetic for the guy. Okay, well, maybe not. But even so, we can try to play the Karl Rove game and imagine what advice we would give Romney if we were the political strategist for Romney. Here’s what I would say:
First, get that tax return monkey off your back. Release them already. They’ll show what people already know. You are rich and paid a lot in taxes. Hopefully you will be smart and make a point to note that you paid in full and on time and crack jokes about Tim Geitner when you say it.
Second, stand up for yourself. Newt showed how it’s done. Defend your personal record. Blame liberals and the media. If you really did close down factories and give people pink slips, make it like you did these folks a favor, giving them a shot at the American dream by getting them out of some dead-end job. Tout your successes and insist that the only criticism of your venture capitalist days comes from communist sympathizers.
Third, it’s now a mano-a-mano race. Only Gingrich can stop you and if you beat him in Florida, well the Establishment can light up a cigar. ‘Massachusetts moderate’ is your tag, what about “Newtron bomb”? Newt in South Carolina showed you another lesson of political warfare – the best defense is a good offense. Go on the offense. People didn’t hear how much better you are. They didn’t hear how you ran a state, and these other guys are mere legislators – and not just that, two of them fired legislators (We’ll leave out that part of how you left your post in 2006 because the Massachusetts voters would have kicked you out anyway, but … ). Why let Newt, the guy who WAS the establishment for 4 years and has been in DC for 30 years, be the ‘outsider’ candidate? You’ve been in office for a mere 4 years (just dont let the other guys mention you’ve been running for another dozen). Lift every line you can from Perry that wasn’t a flub to underscore that you are the ‘outsider’, ready to come in and fix Washington that’s been screwed by all those legislator clowns and lobbyists.
That’s what I’d tell him.
But they already know this. We see the Romney Machine is already putting the wheels in motion on just this strategy. They are correcting their tax record flub and releasing something this Tuesday, tamping down that story. Romney is already in interviews and speeches today pointing barbs at Newt, re-raising the Fannie-Freddie line of attack deployed in Iowa.
But we will know if Romney has adopted the full strategy only if we get a “Romney unleashed” media meme, where AP or some other outlet mentions something like “fiery” and “passion” and “defends himself” in a story about a Romney speech. Does there even exist technology that can make Romney get unscripted, passionate and fiery? If you can get a robot to dance …