Sitting 3-4 strokes behind the leaders on Sunday morning, remember the days when you said Tiger Woods had the competition right where he wanted them? Whether or not those days will ever return is still in question however one had to take notice of the way he conducted business in such a measured, methodical, timed, and unflappable manner. I sense the same pattern with Mitt Romney and how he has conducted business in his world. In case there’s any doubt; the Woods – Romney analogy stops there.
There’s something informative about the way Team Romney has engineered his presidential campaign thus far. Up until Paul Ryan was tagged to be his running mate even die hard Romney-ites saw themselves as a stroke or two off the lead. But it’s Sunday morning in the 2012 Presidential campaign; expect the picture to change.
Granted, the Romney effort has had hiccups and many older politicos think his entire communication department should be shown the door for incompetence. But let’s look at the bigger picture and decide if the best is yet to come, especially in light of the Ryan pick. I think it is quite likely that on November 7th the Romney critics will change their tune and brilliantly declare his strategy, organization, vision, and timetable were a measure of his exemplary business mind.
Consider that Mitt Romney dispatched all of his Republican opponents in a bruising primary season that saw him hover a couple percentage points behind the weekly changing leader board. Negative ads became the mainstream method for attacking the leader while Governor Romney sat back and allowed his bickering colleagues to exhaust themselves and their bank accounts. In the end, none could not match the funding, financial stewardship, and strength of the Romney organization. Boring, but effective.
Move on to the general election campaign and we’re seeing and hearing the same theme. Team Obama has sent signals that it is running low on cash after leading the troops from day one on a blistering personal attack strategy aimed at the Republican candidate. The problem is that it didn’t produce the statistical separation from the challenger. The desperation elicited by the President’s message on the stump these days and the rancor cultivated by his surrogates gives one the impression they underestimated Romney and realize their campaign strategy is slowly failing them. President Obama does not have a Plan B. The last thing he wanted to do in this campaign was to confront the reality of the issues and his record to solve them.
Supposedly having Paul Ryan picked to be Romney’s running mate has the Democrats giddy with excitement. Certainly no one expected them to say they were scared to death of him. It is feigned excitement however because they he represents an aggressive move to focus voters attention on substance instead of a dullard’s popularity contest between which candidate is more likable. This shift would be in America’s best interest.
Paul Ryan’s entrance into the race brought us to this point. Looking now at the roster of both party’s candidates one has to admit that Ryan is the smartest policy guy in the room, especially when it comes to fiscal numbers and reform. President Obama is just thankful he won’t have to debate him on national TV. The VP debate should be a doozy though – almost as satisfying as an Obama vs. Gingrich get together would have been.
I suspect that the homestretch for the Democrats will feature more of the same tactics they have used thus far; class warfare, a government safety net for all while portraying Mitt Romney as a rich guy that couldn’t care less about the middle class and Paul Ryan as the youngster who will surely steal grandma’s Medicare and Social Security. My sense is that going into the homestretch the Republican super pacs will employ a strategy to fend off these negative attacks and leave the Romney folks to focus their campaign funds toward projecting a positive message specifying his programs and what his presidency would look like. From my perspective, its okay that Mitt Romney won’t take David Axelrod’s bait to get in the mud, Chicago style. The addition of a smiling Paul Ryan deflecting partisan barbs simply guarantees it.
If the 2012 election pivots on money raised and spent – which it likely will; Romney has a decisive edge. Chief executive experience really does matter when it comes to raising, stewarding, and using capital: a key measure of Romney’s business acumen. This presents a stark contrast between someone with a business/financial mindset and experience versus someone with eloquence and an ideology. President Obama’s rhetoric and eloquence won’t mean so much the second time around after many consider that his underpinning ideology has proven to have fatal flaws.
In this close election the key will be in seeing if the Romney – Ryan team can clearly communicate a positive growth and global strength message to a select few undecided voters. It’s been decades since we’ve heard this type of appeal. How that message is delivered will be the real test to see if Mitt Romney can run a country as well as he ran many of the companies that succeeded under his leadership.
I think Mitt Romney is comfortable where he sits right now.