Campaign Management 101: The New Mitt Romney

Campaign Management 101: The New Mitt Romney

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The morning bell has rung and it’s time for Campaign Management 101. Everyone take your seats because today’s class is all about the New Mitt Romney.

After shuffling through almost 10 months of the primary campaign, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has his first real scare in the form of Newt Gingrich and now he’s pulling out the big guns.

Every pundit’s tongue is wagging now that the Romney offensive launched to mixed success. The question everyone is trying to figure out is: what’s the strategy behind Mitt’s attacks on Newt? Is Romney trying to bring Gingrich down in the polls, or bolster his own flagging numbers? More importantly: what are the chances that the ads he’s launching will actually tap into the hearts and minds of Republican caucus voters in Iowa?

Fortunately for you, I’m gonna give you a crash course in campaign management that sheds a whole new light on Mitt and puts Newt right in the crosshairs.

 

Frequency of Attack Ads Against Your Opponent’s Policy or Character by Political Party

Democrat

Republican

Opponent’s Character Opponent’s Policies Opponent’s Character Opponent’s Policies
Mostly to Always 18% 57.3% 10.2% 71.4%

 

 

Rule number #1: When running attack ads: know your audience. Everybody thinks that Republicans are the more negative campaigners with their history of Jesse Helms racial ads and going after crippled Vietnam vets as terrorist sympathizers – but it’s not that simple.

In my book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell, I noticed a very interesting and curious set of differences between how Republicans and Democrats attack each other in political campaigns. There are two ways you can attack your opponent: on their policy positions or on their character. As you can see from the chart above Democratic campaign managers admit to attacking their opponent’s character twice as much (18%) as Republicans (10.2%).

So is it true? Are Democrats just nastier than Republicans? We just don’t notice it because they have a warm and fuzzy image in American politics? Not at all – and this explains Romney’s newest attacks on Newt.

Democratic voters use a candidate’s Character to judge their policy positions. So if you’re considered a good guy they can accept that you pass polices that don’t reflect your beliefs as long as it’s good policy. That’s why the liberal base is so angry at Obama for reversing his position on Plan B access. He’s using a character argument to trump what is considered by most health authorities to be good policy. Conservatives are the opposite; they consider Policy stances to be a direct reflection of the candidate’s Character. In other words if you have the right issue stance on abortion, gay rights and immigration they assume you have good character. With that that in mind, take a look at the two attack ads the Romney campign has launched against Newt Gingrich this week:

Leader Ad

On the surface this ad is all about Mitt Romney’s family photos.  But, in reality it’s a not-so-subtle jab at Gingrich. Romney’s been married so many years he can barely remember. Newt’s been married three times and cheated on each one. (Let’s be honest, he cheated on wife #1 with eventual wife #2 and cheated on #2 with eventual #3. The likelihood that he’s playing OPP games somewhere is fairly high.) The message is clear: Romney will make good policy because he is a man of character and loyalty, and Newt will not.

With Friends Like Newt

In this ad we see that the Romney campaign ostensibly goes after Newt Gingrich on a policy issue: his refusal to support the House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) budget.  But, notice how quickly the criticism changes. The voiceover distinctly says “This is a character issue.” Going further the ad quotes important Republican thought leaders questioning Newt’s discipline and integrity. Again, the message is clear: Because Newt Gingrich isn’t loyal to Republican policies he is a man of flawed character.

So class, which ad is going to be more effective in Iowa? The internet ad “With Friends Like Newt” is going to be much more effective than Leadership because it actually attacks in the language and the structure that the Republican mind can understand and agree with. No matter how hard he tried, Mitt Romney is still seen as squishy on core Republican principles and Tea Party folks don’t like him. Just because he’s been a good husband doesn’t mean he’ll make good policy. Romney needs to save that for when he’s smooth talking independents for the general election.

On the other hand attacking Newt on not having party discipline, attacking the beloved Ryan budget, and possibly waffling on core Republican principles? Now that is an ad that will resonate with Republican caucus goers in Iowa.

We will see during Saturday Night’s debate if either of these ads has drawn blood and gets a rise out of Gingrich, but I doubt it. For now, Class Dismissed.

On Monday we’ll have a pop quiz on how many times Romney manages to mention faith in God without saying the words “Mormon” during the debate. I’m guessing about 30.

5 COMMENTS

  1. My name is Jim Seward age 76 and I live in Las Vegas, NV. I am a registered Democrat however do not vote straight party lines and did not vote for the incumbent president.

    I consider myself to be an average moderate to conservative citizen who is deeply concerned with the future of my country and where it's headed.

    In my opinion, TV ads attacking other GOP candidates as well as personal attacks during debates is petty and counter productive. Psychologically it tends to alienate voters and create the impression there's a lack of cohesiveness within the Party.

    All GOP presidential candidates should focus and direct their energies toward replacement of the incumbent president in 2012 General Election.

    From my perspective, It would be better for all candidates to refrain from attacks on one another, but rather refer to their opponents as worthy adversaries then focus and verbalize on how their personal attributes and experience better qualify them over their opponents for the office of President.

    When individuals running for a political office are seen to heavily criticize his or her opponent, it's commonly perceived by the voting public as an attempt to distract from their own inadequacies.

    Just a few thoughts and observations from an average voting citizen.

    Respectfully Yours,

    James E. (Jim) Seward

  2. In short, Mr. Gingrich has revived the whole national debate on amnesty which had been essentially dead after you/we defeated the DREAM amnesty last December. Any chance for amnesty votes was essentially dead until Gingrich revived the idea. Whatever you may think of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich or his recently announced legalization plan, the fact that he has broken the 4-year Republican taboo against amnesty has unleashed pro-amnesty efforts everywhere. Any mass amnesty will ignite CHAIN MIGRATION that will be more billions of dollars, taken from your taxes. Gingrich amnesty calculated by ‘The Heritage Foundation’ could cost us $2.3 Trillion dollars, that is not including CHAIN MIGRATION of following family members and further attracting even million more to these shores or through borders—adding even more—POVERTY– to American low income bread lines we have now. This is Dire Poverty unseen since the Great Depression of 1929? This country is broke, from corruption, attributed to both political parties and we are facing a upward spike in the 15 Trillion dollars we have already.

    The pollsters have a single "Big deception" that skews all the results:
    The polls don't give voters the option of Attrition through Enforcement.
    Instead, they make voters basically choose between mass deportations or mass legalization. In the case of a National Journal poll just released, voters were given a third choice of half-mass deportations and half-mass legalizations (which is essentially the Gingrich Amnesty).
    But nowhere do voters hear that there is an “ATTRITION THROUGH ENFORCEMENT” such as the E-Verify option that doesn't involve mass deportations or mass legalization. What Attrition does do is:
    •Quickly (over a couple of years) moves illegal aliens out of their payroll jobs.
    •Quickly takes away taxpayer-provided benefits
    •Gradually over perhaps 10 year period, will cause illegal aliens to go home.
    •The Tens of Millions of TEA PARTY members should not fall for this clever ruse.

    Attn: Keep an eye on Democrats as they are intentionally pushing non-citizens to vote in all coming register and immediately vote, using groups like the fraudulent canvassing of the ACORN group, that’s reappeared under another name. Additionally the Left is introducing legislation, so you don't even need a picture ID; this to me is as close to fraud as you can get? Already there has been instances of Voter Fraud, including an Indiana forged signatures registration for Obama before he became president, that is being investigated currently.

    In conclusion, insist that Obama and his cronies expedite the ‘Keystone’ pipeline, as it will bring cheap oil into America and less need of petroleum from unfriendly countries. Its installation from Canada to Texas will require the hiring of 20.000 US Workers. Unless the present administration gets its finger out, our Northern neighbor will quite possibly sell this commodity to Communist China. Use the phone number above and tell the Democrats in Washington to do something for Americans.

  3. IN AMENDING THIS CONTROVERSIAL LAW, IT WILL SAVE U.S. TAXPAYERS A GOOD PART OF THE $113 BILLION + OUTLAY OF THE US GOVERNMENT. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT AROUND 500.000 ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO ARE NOT APPREHENDED AND THEN DISAPPEAR INTO THE COUNTRY ANNUALLY.

    Lamar Smith's (R-TX) ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT' is also a zero-tolerance bill, that if past can outlaw illegal aliens from the workplace. Businesses that are violation of the law will be audited and the owners harshly fined and even sent to prison. It is better recognized by hundreds of thousands of candid companies that E-Verify will red flag illegal aliens, opening payroll jobs for lawful residents and the citizenry. E-Verify is a progressive disincentive that is being continuously upgraded by the Homeland Security and ICE. Just like H.R.140, titled the Birthright Citizenship Act, E-Verify ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT', H.R. 2885, is a innovation to stop this travesty of our immigration laws?

    Today with the failure of the numerous administrations to construct the real 2006 Secure fence, consisting of two fences with a wide expanse in between for the movement of rapid interdiction of Drug, weapons and the massive influx of illegal migrants. What is already been built is still incomplete and droves of illegal aliens cross, including terrorist who are impersonating Mexican individuals. Neither the 1986 Immigration nor its 1974 version of these laws after enactment were enforced. The 1986 Immigration reform and Control Act was rife with fraud, and both laws have been neglected and abused. One huge lie played on the US taxpayer by politicians, who sold their souls to the huge abhorrent special interest lobbyists and open border radical entities.

    Currently it needs serious action by all patriotic Americans. This can be done by the voter contacting Washington 202-224-3121 and giving your name, address to the political aid and insisting your representative in the Senate-House uphold the law and co-sponsor both laws. More and more legislators are moving to co-sponsor both laws, to begin enforcement by Attrition, or self deportation, as jobs being commandeered by illegal aliens are returned to the rightful American workers. The website of NumbersUSA can be Google’d, where you can send free faxes and read in detail about the corruption at the highest levels of federal and state government.

    Right now, a bunch of polling firms and news media have used this as a chance to do polls that manipulate questions in a way to seem to show that most Americans want most illegal aliens to stay, showing that pro-amnesty doesn't hurt a candidate and causing rumblings through Congress that maybe it does make sense to reconsider amnesty over the next couple of years, after all. The pollsters are doing this with the Big Trick of never offering voters an option of Attrition through Enforcement (forcing them to choose either mass deportations or mass legalization).

  4. E-VERIFY! LAST STAND FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICAN WORKERS?
    Illegal Immigration is vastly becoming a war of–THEM and US–which is an invasion of people who came here to steal jobs, with the collusion of nationwide businesses. Every part of this country is saturated with a patchwork of illegal foreign neighborhoods. Scores came here under false pretenses, smuggling unborn babies to take advantage of laws forced upon Americans by the black robe activists in the courts. Judges have mishandled the 14th amendment, by allowing every expectant Mother who lies of their intention to enter our country, whether as a tourist, student or here on a business venture. These fetus carrying females are fully aware that if they can get a foot on to our soil, whatever the reason they have immediate access to free–FREE HEALTH TREATMENTS, WHICH TAXPAYERS HAVE TO PAY. THEN THE CHILD GROWS UP AND BILLIONS OF MORE DOLLARS ARE APPROPRIATED BY THE IRS, TO PAY FOR THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN OF ILLEGAL PARENTS.

    This is unerringly the same circumstances on the U.S. Border, that a woman with a child can get free medical care. But for Americans–forget it, you will be hunted forever for unpaid bills, unless you are under the poverty level. But the 20 million, perhaps even 25 million already existing here, don't pay a penny. All the time I hear that these people who slip past agents at the border, or managed to deceive trained inspectors at other ports of entry, including airline arrivals. They get immediate assistance from the welfare departments as they are well versed in law and where to procure forged ID’s.

    H.R.140, titled the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, was introduced on Jan 5. 2011, by Rep. Steve King a Republican of Iowa.. As of last month, the bill had 80 co-sponsors. While its companion bill S.723 was read twice in the Senate and referred to the Committee. On April 2011, H.R.140 was referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement; January 24, 2011 where it gather Congressional dust without further action. The bill does not need amendment of the Constitution but rather Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act is to explain those classes of individuals born in the United States who are considered nationals and citizens of the United States at birth. THIS ISSUE NEEDS THE URGENT PRO-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, PATRIOTIC AMERICAN ATTENTION, AS THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST COSTLY EXPENSES BORN BY TAXPAYERS. The Birthright Citizenship Act amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify a person born in the United States "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States for citizenship at birth if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national, (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States, or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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