What Romney Can Learn From His Rivals and Points to Reinforce
After a very competitive GOP primary battle Mitt Romney is now the presumptive Republican nominee. Newt Gingrich is expected to formally bow out next Wednesday and his recent main rival Rick Santorum dropped out a few weeks ago. Mr. Romney however would be wise to tap or reinforce some of the ideas from his nominee rivals. They would also be wise to circle around and support Mr. Romney if they would like to beat President Obama in November. They all brought something substantive to the table that could benefit Mr. Romney’s campaign and the country.
It has been a very contentious primary but it has prepared Mr. Romney to be an even better candidate to take on Pres. Obama. Many pundits wanted everyone to think the GOP field was weak and often framed the narrative as if none of these candidates could unseat President Obama. However, based on President Obama’s record (which he can’t honestly defend) and where his policies are taking America, the conversation should have been about how much the President could lose by to any of these candidates.
Just as in the primary there is no doubt Mr. Romney’s personal wealth will used by the Obama campaign to discredit him as being out of touch. Mr. Romney instead should embrace and acknowledge his success, speak even more about it and express his desire to see more Americans succeed like he did. He will need to emphasize that while President Obama seeks to redistribute wealth and divide America with class envy, a President Romney would seek to promote conditions that encourage wealth creation for everyone who also aspires to succeed.
Rick Santorum gained a lot of momentum because of his appeal to voters in traditionally manufacturing and blue-collar states. Mr. Romney has an opportunity to appeal to these same voters but again he needs to shake the stigma attached to him by critics that his wealth prevents him from doing so. He needs to outline how his tax or regulatory policies to create a more business friendly job growth environment will benefit these voters. His quest to make American manufacturing more competitive by making America more attractive place for investment, would help the middle class more than what President Obama purports to do.
It will be important for Mr. Romney to outline how President Obama’s loyalty to special interest groups such as unions and environmentalists have hurt the middle class. He should not be shy to speak of the symbiotic relationship President Obama and Democrats have had with unions who funnel large contributions derived from mandatory dues collected from workers who might not even support the Democratic party’s agenda. The President sided with the National Labor Relation Board when they sought to block Boeing from building a factory in the right for work state of South Carolina which delayed much needed jobs. The President also sided with unions who fought against school vouchers that primarily gave low income and minority children a better choice of schools.
President Obama is trying to attract the youth vote but the ‘hope and change mantra’ that he successfully used last time did not materialize. Mr. Romney has an opportunity here to grab the youth vote but he could also learn from his current nominee rival Ron Paul who has not dropped out of the race. Even though Ron Paul is the oldest of the GOP pack seeking the nomination he has successfully grabbed the attention and strong loyalty of young voters. Ron Paul has been successful with young people because he actively campaigned for their support, and outlined the consequences to their generation of ballooning debt and spending by President Obama and other liberals. More has been added to the national debt in three years under President Obama than in 8yrs under President Bush. It is not an under statement to say President Obama has bartered the future of the current youth population by kicking the ‘debt crisis can’ down the road to attain his political and ideological objectives of today. This should be key in any debt crisis conversation.
Mitt Romney also needs to spend more time speaking with young voters especially as more of them are having difficulty finding jobs. He also needs to present a path of optimism though his policies so they have something to aspire to. Otherwise, the Occupy Movement will gladly sow the resentment and hate for success as more young people become frustrated and out of work. This would be a bad recipe for the chaos that radical liberals often seek to spark in order to promote greater dependence on government.
Rick Perry and Ron Paul often spoke about the influence of the Federal Reserve and its role in devaluing the US dollar and keeping interest rates too low. While most of the economic debate has been about fiscal policies such as tax rates very little has been discussed about the role of monetary policies of the Obama Administration and the Fed. Mitt Romney can speak more about how a lower value dollar has reduced the purchasing power of Americans because it helps to increase the costs of everything we buy including food and oil. Hopefully he will continue to expand the conversation of how a sound monetary policy will encourage savings and investment to help the economy and boost retirement plans or nest eggs. Just as Mr. Romney got involved in the discussion of Paul Ryan’s budget to reform entitlements, he needs to get into the discussion about two versions of a bill before Congress (The Sound Dollar Act) to reform the Federal Reserve System. See: Congress Finally Takes on the Fed by George Melloan in the Wall Street Journal.
One of the many points Newt Gingrich has brought up and should be followed up by Mitt Romney is reform of the Food and Drug Administration. This agency is responsible for approving new medicines and techniques but has been using 20th century methods to vet 21st century medical technologies. A reform of this agency would speed new medical innovations to the market by American companies as we face more competition from abroad where there are fewer barriers. It would also enhance competition make drugs and medical devices less expensive.
As Americans face higher prices for gasoline at the pump we have become more vulnerable to higher prices due to President Obama’s energy policies. Mitt Romney can galvanize support from Governors such as Rick Perry who has successfully led a state with a real ‘all of the above strategy’ without picking winners and losers like President Obama has done. The EPA under President Obama has been more of an activist agency that suppresses oil, natural gas and coal energy production to favor alternatives that are not viable to serve all our energy needs. When President Obama could not get his Cap and Trade bill through Democrat led Congress he chose to sidestep the votes of the elected members of Congress and allow the unelected bureaucrats in the EPA to restrict operation and opening of new coal plants. Mitt Romney needs to point out that American ingenuity has come along way in finding environmentally sound ways of extracting and using traditional sources of energy which we will depend on for a long time. The ability to do this has been greatly undermined by liberals such as President Obama. Other countries, which we compete with, are not holding back in retrieving their sources of energy.
Both Governor Perry and Newt Gingrich want to replace the EPA with environmental agencies run by each state which can better access local environmental needs and challenges. Texas governor Rick Perry during the campaign expressed strong support for more state rights to solve issues and to be laboratories of innovation especially for public policies. This is preferred to the expanding of the federal government in Washington DC which likes to hand down ‘one size fits all’ for many policies onto states which they do not live in. Texas has produced more jobs in the last ten years that the other 49 states combined. This has been the envy of many liberal states such as California and is a testament of how states as laboratories of innovation can prove what works and what does not.
Mitt Romney just received the endorsement of Mr. Perry, a former archrival during nomination process. Mitt Romney can point to governors like Rick Perry and a number of other GOP governors to show how conservative policies are leading the way in promoting jobs and economic growth. Countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany and others who use similar policies or reforms are fairing better than countries using the policies President Obama pursues. This could be pivotal in the current debate where President Obama wants Americans think that growth and revenue to reduce deficits will come from higher taxes, government spending and regulations. While President Obama dwells on these fantasies and ideologies, GOP governors have proven him wrong with what has really worked to better the interests of most Americans. See: A 50-State Tax Lesson for the President by Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore.
Mitt Romney got this far because of running a organized and disciplined campaign. His executive experience is an asset to get things done that Americans want. He will have to be himself and exemplify the competence of leadership which he is capable of. Conservatives cannot expect Mitt Romney to have the charisma of Herman Cain, the energy of Rick Santorm, or the assertiveness of Newt Gingrich. However, it will a necessary asset to have more tenacity to match that of the powerful liberal machine which is determined do anything to win. Mitt Romney will have to show Americans the distinctive two paths we can chose and justify why conservative principles are the only way back to a path of prosperity. It is not about President Obama’s interests, it is about us, we the people, who need a leader who protects our liberties not minimizes them.