Election Will Be About the Economy, Not Healthcare Ruling
Choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama won't come down to tax versus mandate semantics
July 5, 2012
The Wall Street Journal's column criticizing Mitt Romney's response to the Supreme Court's healthcare ruling makes couple good points about his narrative, but overall its weak.
GOP kingmakers are running down a primrose path if they think this tax versus penalty semantics argument resonates with voters. It's not a game changing issue. The threat of higher taxes typically carries weight in elections, but not this time. Voters don't understand the law, nor do they rank healthcare as their number one concern. GOP primary exit polls tell this story. It's about job creation. Elephants forget the reason Democrats lost the 2010 midterm elections. Voters believed the president spent too much time working to pass the Affordable Care Act and too little time improving the economy.
The Journal is right to urge Romney to revise his narrative. But any new narrative must short-circuit the president's attacks on his Bain Capital career, and help him build a personal connection with voters. They're not ready to share a beer with him until he shows them that he's not a bean counter. However, Romney has a sizeable lead in swing states, and he's on track to outspend the president two-to-one. He's got a solid chance of taking the White House in November, regardless of Eric Fehrnstrom's MSNBC interview fumble.
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