I understand there are many Republicans who supported Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum in the primary who feel Mitt Romney engaged in a scorched earth campaign against fellow GOP but is now treating Obama with kid gloves, relatively speaking. But primary tactics are necessarily different from those for the general.
In the GOP primary, Romney was the perceived frontrunner from the beginning, and therefore, he was taking heavy fire from everyone else in the race. In addition, each primary state campaign was a sprint, while the general is a marathon. The time he needed to make an impact in each primary state was much more limited than it is for the general election in November. Anyone who is frustrated by the perception Romney is too nice now, have patience.
Primary voters are more engaged in the voting process than the average voter. The average voter isn’t really paying a great deal of attention to the race right now. However, the fact that you are reading this, that you found your way to my average-citizen little-nobody blog, indicates that you are much more engaged, involved and informed than average. (Not to say this little blog is all that, but to find me in the boonies of the internet takes a little effort.) Romney doesn’t need to shoot off all his cannons right now, and it would be a bad idea to do so. You don’t want all of the negative information about Obama to be old news in September and October. It may be old news to us, but not to the average voter.
I’ve seen some speculation that Romney may select his Vice-Presidential candidate well ahead of the convention. If he does, it may be for the express purpose of having the VP candidate serve as the attack dog, while Romney stays above the fray. I can see such a strategy working, since Romney does have to fight the mean old McScrooge meme and it could serve him well to “play nice”. This is pure speculation on my part, though, and I may be way off base.
Maybe Romney is just letting the economy speak for him for now. The most recent employment numbers are devastating to Obama. But what is more important than mere numbers is each individual’s perception of the economy. There are few people in this country who don’t know someone who is out of work (perhaps long term unemployed), underemployed, or has given up looking. There are few people in this country who are not aware of the impact of rising gas and grocery prices on their family budget. No matter how much Obama spins the numbers, people feel the impact of his policies, and no matter how much he blames Bush for what he inherited, people increasingly feel the statute of limitations is up and Obama owns the economy after over three years and trillions spent (allegedly) to try to fix it.
After Tampa, after Romney has the national spotlight cast on him in the convention, and the public is engaged, I think we’ll see a far more aggressive campaign by Romney. We’ve seen a preview in web ads by Romney, the RNC, and SuperPACs. From what I have seen so far, it’s really a cakewalk to make Obama look like the inept and irresponsible President he is. It will be brutally effective once the Romney campaign is making huge ad buys in swing states. I think we should take a deep breath, and let Romney run his campaign as he and his advisers see fit. He’s proven he can take out other Republican candidates. I think we’ll see some kick-ass ads on the air once people are paying attention. The Romney campaign has an absurdly wide vein of Obama incompetencies to mine. The broken promises, green crony capitalism, the state of the economy, and possibly the overturning of Obamacare by the Supreme Court will be exploited when the time is right. If needed, I’m sure we’ll see more about Obama’s radical associations and appointees. If by mid-September you don’t see Obama simply eviscerated in TV advertising, come back here and tell me what an idiot I am. In the meantime, hang tight.