I'm not so sure. "Just say no" worked for some during the Reagan administration when Nancy Reagan appealed to the young not to take drugs, but once people are addicted to a government check they can't just check into rehab to get "clean." Romney needs a supplemental strategy. As he campaigns around the country, he should seek out those who have overcome difficult circumstances with right personal choices and without government and present them to voters. Let Americans see that standing on your own two feet beats riding on Uncle Sam's back.
Last week, Rachel Rose Hartman, a journalist for Yahoo.com, reported on a conference call with members of the Republican National Committee in which they were warned "to refrain from personal attacks against President Barack Obama, because such a strategy is too hazardous for the GOP." Though the president's job approval rating is low, "voters still give 'high approval' to Obama personally," Hartman writes. Does Romney feel he can attack Obama and not suffer for it?
"The president has been in office three years and his record is entirely fair game. I think the American people know his record is the worst we've seen since (Herbert) Hoover. I will be relentless in reminding Americans that (Obama) promised to hold unemployment below 8 percent, if we let him borrow $1 trillion. He did the borrowing, but unemployment has not been below 8 percent."
If elected, Romney promises to reduce the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent, largely through attrition. He would cut off foreign assistance to countries like China, which he says gets $27 million from the U.S. annually, and to nations that "oppose American interests."
But back to the reason so many conservatives are reluctant to trust him. I ask Romney to finish this sentence: "Conservatives will not be disappointed with me as president because..."
"Because I share your values," he says, "because I am a leader who knows how to get things done; because I love America and American principles with an unwavering and committed heart."
We'll see if that is enough for conservatives still hoping for an anti-Romney. The voting starts in Iowa in just over three weeks.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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