It's Thursday but it seems like this week should have been over 48 hours ago with all the big news events that happened Mon-Weds. The biggest of course, being that Rick Santorum suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination, thus making Governor Mitt Romney the de-facto Republican nominee and President Obama's chief opponent for the 2012 elections.
Despite many on the right (including myself, in this space) decrying the "long, drawn-out, unnecessary" GOP primary process, the 2012 GOP nomination battle wrapped up about the same time it always does, and thus Romney has almost seven months to campaign against the president.
Op-eds about what Romney needs to do from here until to be successful against Obama will be more numerous than ears of corn sold at the Cedar Rapids, IA annual Sweet Corn Festival. I'm going to add to the total here, but I'm going to go completely out of the box with my suggestion. I say out-of-the-box because I think it would likely be considered "bad advice" but I honestly think it could work.
Mitt Romney should spend the next six and a half months just "Big Timing" the president.
What is "big timing"? you ask. Big timing is a social tool used to emphasize economic, social, and-or intellectual superiority over someone who are bound to have fundamental disagreement with, without being outwardly offensive to the person.
Typically, big timing is used in situations where some form of social, economic, or intellectual disparity might be obvious to others, yet needs to be fully displayed to the inferior party. In all cases, big timing is used to make sure the inferior party winds up "getting" the fact that they just aren't qualified to hold the superior party's Solo cup.
Now it must be noted that big timing is not the same thing as "pea cocking" -- a social tool used to illustrate cultural, social, economic, or intellectual superiority by braggadocio, overt cockiness-or basically, being a huge, offensive, jackass.
A proper big time, when executed flawlessly, should mirror that one scene from that one overrated sword play movie in which the audience watches the protagonist violently wave his sword at his opponent for a brief few seconds until the camera flashes to the opponent who has been cut down to only his boxers.
What I mean is, a big time, when executed to perfection should be apparent to the person who's being big timed throughout the entire process, but can do absolutely nothing about it.
If ever there was a presidential race in this country where a big time was so warranted, and also obviously easy to so many, it's this one.
While big timing can be performed by anyone of any socio-economic or with any varying intelligence level, big timing is largely a trait of the WASP, and this thus best executed by the WASP. There has not been a more overtly WASPy candidate for President since John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
So how does Romney execute a six and a half month big timing campaign for president? He follows the protocol, of course!
He shouldn't concede any point to the president, at any time, no matter how wrong he may be and how right the president might seem. -- He's already missed an opportunity on this when his campaign allowed Obama to completely shift a negative (the fact that women have been hit harder by any other class in the economic downturn) into a positive for Obama-negative for Romney (asking and expecting an answer on where Romney stands on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) to which his campaign responded "of course, Romney supports fair pay for women." Thankfully, there was no reference to the legislation in their response, but on the early big time scoreboard, it's Obama .5 Romney 0
Here's how team Romney would/should execute the perfect big timing campaign.
- Expose your family to America. That means your campaign should be brazenly sending out campaign postcard-type photos of you, Ann, your five sons, and all of your grand kids smiling at the camera in khaki pants and capris, with oxfords on everyone with the women's collars in the "half upward position" and all the women should be wearing pearls. The only thing should change should be the view of the Massachusetts bay area behind you, and the colors of everyone's shirt. What I am getting at is, get people recognizing how great your family looks, and that you and your family represent everything America is about, and that the terrorists (and plenty of San Franciscans hate).
- Talk about Obama's terrible policies by actually speaking about your own. The key to any successful big time is to emphasize what makes the inferior party inferior, by talking about what makes you, superior. If you do this correctly, the American public will catch on to what you're doing. E.g. When wanting to talk about how Obama has upped massive federal regulation on businesses, say something like, "I firmly believe that when businesses have the freedom to operate in a climate where they are focused on their customer's (your) lives easier, instead of worrying about whether or not they have the correct brand of socket covers on their outlets in their factories, goods and services will be produced at such an outstanding rate that new jobs will have to be created." You've just trashed current policy (which is obviously the current President's policy) and you've highlighted your beliefs about how effective a private sector can be when free of the President's burdensome regulations.
- Be positive as much as you possibly can, because the President has to go negative. This is the fundamental basis as to why this campaign is so ripe for a solid big time. After being elected with huge majorities in both houses of Congress, the President spent two of his four years campaigning for government expansion in all public sectors, and for health insurance legislation that took 14 months to complete and didn't receive a single Republican vote, and needed a parliamentary gimmick to pass even then! Unemployment hit 10% under his watch, the economy is growing at minuscule rates compared to other historical periods of "recovery." His only shot is making sure the American people think you are unqualified and incapable of taking his job. The only time when you should be negative is when Obama's attack dogs go after your personal life, including your goofy religion, or the fact that your wife is a stay at home mother who's raised a zillion kids. Remember, your greatest strength is that you're actually a really likable guy with a great looking family, who's main qualification is that you've made your fortune literally turning fledgling economic performances into massive success stories. You couldn't be more inherently qualified, and thus, your superiority on the issue of the day is a big time in-and-of itself.
- More Ann, less free-wheeling stump speeches. If Obama proved anything, especially something that I personally concluded had a huge impact on his success in 2008, is that a great looking WASPy wife (even if she's black) endures you to the most important voting class: The white suburban mom who spends their days dressed in J.Crew whilst shuttling their over-privileged sons and daughters to practices and recitals with the only thanks coming from a generous glass of Sauvingon Blanc (or Cab-in the Winter) and not from the bread winning husband who comes to expect the shuttling and a clean house to return from work to. You know what the ultimate big time here is, Mitt? (I think you're already onto it, based on the last few days...but) knowing that you're going to turn this "woman problem" into Barack Obama's woman-loss. You're going to do it by getting your wife out there as much as you can, not to talk about how you turned a once-shitty, almost failed office supply company into the company who's name is plastered to one of the most famous venues in the country-but to talk about you, and what a great husband and father you are. Ann should be dispatched to every major suburban area of each of this countries major cities, touting what her life as a homemaker was/is like and how, since many of these women can relate to her, they're really relating to you. Listen, you may not win women, but statistics have shown that all you have to do is lose to the Democrats by single digits and the election is yours-that fact in-and-of itself, is a big time. This voting class doesn't relate to their workaholic husbands, which means quit the goofy stump speeches where you try to relate to them, you don't-your wife does. End of story, remember we're executing the biggest big time there ever was here, are you paying attention?
- Let Barack Obama be himself. We've already seen the shift from the 2008 Barack Obama to the 2012, re-election Obama. The guys speeches are less and less positive by the day. He's actually trying to big time the GOP, but failing miserably (it's just something liberals cannot do effectively). Since his policies are for the most part unpopular, you'll notice he never talks about them. Still, the media will have its collective throats filled with his you-know-what for the next six-plus months, so they'll report on whatever he says and use his words to come up with narratives and talking points against you. Fine. You shouldn't care. The more you get out relevant information, like the fact that women make up 90% of the unemployed, the harder it becomes for anyone to objectively criticize you. Obama will not speak about what he wants to do in the second term until he gets a second term, and the media and his other attack dogs on the internet will make sure no one knows. It's your job then, to paint Obama as goalless for the next four years without ever mentioning his name, and only using his budget, you know the one that failed to get a single vote in the house.
- Objectively talk about yourself and your history. Everyone knows that you're a former Governor and primarily a businessman, just like everyone knows Barack Obama was a Community Organizer and a law professor. What people don't know is how your two professions compare to his never having an adulthood job in the private sector, or a public job as an executive. To use this properly in a big time, you simply have to talk about what your experience means to your credibility as a candidate and thus as a potential President. This is where you can slightly cross the "I'm talking directly to/about you" in the big time process. E.g. "I think what makes a successful President is the nature of his professional history. When you have a time where the country is fledgling economically, jobs are being lost, it's time to elect someone who's turned economies (however small). It's not the time to re-elect someone who used four experimental years, dabbling as an executive, who's previous jobs consisted of voting 'yes,' 'no,' or even, 'present', teaching people about the need for constitutional change, and scaring communities into voting for like-minded candidates." Obama is going to be Obama, he's incredibly cocky, he's incredibly smug. The catch is, like most outspoken liberals everywhere, he's self-loathing. You can hear it in his speeches, and its why he has shown precious few moments where even some liberals I know are left saying, "wow, that was a bold move." His self-loathing nature can be your gain, you've just got to realize it plays right into your big timing plans.
- Run as if you're running to be a successful President, not as if you're trying to be the President. As previously discussed, Barack Obama is going to spend very little time talking about what he wants to see happen under his second term, and instead is going to spend 99% of his time talking about you and your ideas. When you boil it down, his main attack about his opponents whether they be "some in Congress" (an Obama catchphrase) or specific Republicans, Boehner, Ryan, Cantor, etc. or their ideas, is simply that they aren't his ideas-which plays into the entire "he's too smart for even some intelligent Americans" vibe we gotten from members of the media. This is your opportunity to make your ideas bigger than your campaign for President, it's your opportunity to make your ideas about your Presidency. Think about it, campaigning about a Romney presidency, instead of a "Romney for-president" vibe is the ultimate big time. If you talk about where America will be in 2016 under your leadership by providing specific details about what you'll do, you will have success and possibly win.
I know most of you will read this and think I'm hamming up for laughs, or that this is all some sort of joke. It isn't (it is in the humorous nature that big timing will forever hold, but aside from that) it's a completely legitimate argument for a strategy I think can win. The reason I think this is simple actually. Romney will be going up against a President that I haven't seen a media lust for and love so much since JFK. A president that has so much going for him as far as fundraising and again-the media's willingness to swoon at his beck and call is going to be close to unbeatable as the GOP imagines he is. That's why Romney's campaign has to be free-spirited, and conducted as if there is nothing to lose.
Romney is the ultimate underdog, except he's not. There isn't a more qualified candidate out there that can adequately deal with the US economy and its current state, while leading efforts to balance budgets and put our country back on a path to fiscal stability. He's got a family that you can't help but envy, and he's the penultimate family man. He's as good looking as he is smart, and that means something. His age in contrast to his opponent, I think is actually valuable. And when you boil it all down, you've got a WASP who's made his own fortune, conducted his entire personal life in the most honorable way, with the ideas and capabilities needed to lead this country away from the fiscal cliff it's approaching at Selma and Louise speed; going against a man who's personal life is equally as honorable, but who has a professional life that exists entirely in the public sphere, without so much as a day working a private sector job in his adult life, who had a career that was birthed from one of the most corrupt political scenes in America, and who's Presidency has served more as a four-year half-assed Keynesian experiment. If there ever was a campaign for President of the United States so ripe for a good Big Timing, it's this one.