KAMPANJ | Mitt Romney har haft det tufft den senaste tiden. Han har varit under ständig attack för sin tid i riskkapitalbolaget Bain Capital.
Parallellt har man också angripet honom för att han vägrar offentligöra alla sina deklarationer.
Man skulle gissat att det var mer fruktbart att inrikta sig på hans ständiga byta av åsikter i olika sakfrågor. Listan över alla gånger han har flip-floppat är nämligen lång som en måndag.
I artikeln ”Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?” har Robert Draper beskrivit hur strategin har tagit form bland Barack Obamas allierade.
Bill Burton och Sean Sweeney har grundat en s.k. super PAC. Deras Priorities USA Action är en av de ledande på den demokratiska sidan.
Last December — specifically, on Pearl Harbor Day — Burton and Sweeney met with a few other Priorities advisers in the Dupont Circle office of the pollster Geoff Garin to decide just what their Romney story would be. They quickly discarded the Romney-as-flip-flopper leitmotif. To say that the Republican lacked a firm set of positions was to concede that he couldn’t be defined. Better, they concluded, to assert that Romney in fact possessed beliefs — very extreme ones.
Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. What became clear was that voters had almost no sense of Obama’s opponent. While conducting a different focus group — this one with non-college-educated Milwaukee voters on the eve of Wisconsin’s April 3 primary — Burton and Sweeney were surprised to learn that even after Romney had spent months campaigning, many in the group could not recognize his face, much less characterize his positions. Compounding the Republican nominee’s strangely persistent obscurity is that, as Garin told me, “Romney is not a natural politician in the sense of embracing opportunities to talk about himself.”
That left an opening for the Democrats to tell Romney’s story, and over the spring they figured out how to do so. Obama’s opponent was not an ideologue per se, the Priorities team decided, but instead someone who knows and cares only about wealthy Americans. Burton describes the distinction as “a top/bottom rather than left/right approach” — also known in Republican circles as class warfare.
The best explanatory tool for this narrative would prove to be Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. In this recasting of Romney’s self-described chief qualification to be president, the candidate may well be someone who understands how the economy works but cares only about making it work for rich guys like himself. As one participant in the Priorities focus groups told me, “Businessmen are often highly admired, but there’s no real template for somebody with Mitt Romney’s type of business experience getting embraced.”
Läs mer: ”Romney’s Midsummer Test” och ”Status of Bain and Romney’s Tax Returns”. Båda av Mark Halperin på Time. ”After missteps, Romney adds to communication team” av Sam Youngman på Reuter. ”Democrats Pounce On Poll Showing Attacks On Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Career Are Working” av Jon Ward, The Huffington Post.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 8 juli 2012.