The Campaign Spot

Romney’s Hard-Hitting Ad on Obama in Pennsylvania

However much Mitt Romney is paying his guys who create web videos, they’re probably earning their pay. Here’s another hard-hitting one for Obama’s visit to Pennsylvania:

You’ll notice that like Romney’s “I am not a bump in the road” video, the message is simple – some statement from Obama about feeling optimistic or hopeful about economic recovery, followed by a barrage of grim statistics about the economy indicating that we’ve fallen very far, very fast, and that any “recovery” is nominal at best.

The message is not an argument in favor of any particular Romney proposal; it is, instead, that Obama is incapable of solving the problem because he is perpetually unrealistically optimistic and out of touch with the real scale of the problem. Obama always insists that better days are ahead, usually right before the joblessness problem takes another turn for the worse.

Not long ago, the blogger Ace of Spades took a guess at what Romney’s strategy is, and it seems to be pretty prescient so far:

Obama’s strategy: Remain as undefined as possible, even though this makes not a lick of sense, given that he finally has a record and a meager set of accomplishments (and a rather more lengthy accounting of failures). Make the GOP opponent, whoever that might turn out to be, the defined one. Define him, and, as Alisky said, freeze him, polarize him. Continue running as the candidate of Hope and Change, despite the fact that after four years, you’d think he’d be able to run as the candidate of Accomplishment and Deed.

Romney’s strategy: Call out Obama for failing to define himself through action and proposal; do not allow him to grab the mantle of “Not A.” But also — and this is tricky — also run himself as a fairly undefined candidate. That is to say, while Obama seeks to run as “Not A” to an opponent’s “A,” Romney wants to reverse the situation and run as “Not A” to Obama’s “A.” But Romney himself, then, is using this “blank screen” strategy.

The political strategist in me thinks the label-Obama-a-failure-and-be-vague-on-solutions approach could not merely work, but work spectacularly, winning over Republicans, almost all of the disappointed, frustrated independents and even a few straggling Democrats weary of the hard times of the Obama years. But the conservative in me wonders if this is a formula to win with no real mandate.

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