By Robert Schlesinger |
Mitt Romney has done a good job throughout the campaign of running as a mainstream conservative while avoiding the trap of trying to win over the most conservative primary audiences and ideological purists. He's paid a price for this in the primaries by ceding an opening on his right that Rick Santorum is only the most recent alternative to exploit. But Romney appears to be threading the needle in a way that keeps him competitive in the general election—something Santorum would not be.
In the end, some conservatives will put a Romney sticker on their car, and others will put an anti-Obama sticker on theirs instead. Either way, Romney gets their vote. For conservative voters and swing voters alike, the election really comes down to the same question: Is President Obama a success, or a failure? If he's a failure, vote to replace him with a credible alternative, Romney.
My advice to Romney is this: Be bold, not timid, and embrace your own financial success. Romney is often too cautious about drawing bright policy distinctions with the Democrats. This is especially true about his jobs and economic proposals. They are defensive, trying to avoid being attacked more than going on offense. As for his wealth, Americans of all economic classes admire earned success. If Romney believes in an America in which everyone has a chance to maximize opportunities the way he has, and to do so in a way that creates jobs and wealth for others as well as for oneself, he should say so, proudly.
About Fergus Cullen Former Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
David Crockett Author of 'Running Against the Grain: How Opposition Candidates Win Presidential Election'
Lara Brown Professor at Villanova University