Rachel Marsden
This week's Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., is a political autobahn. Depending on how Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan play it, they'll either gain some unfettered mileage in advancing their agenda with the voting public, or slam into a pole in a single-car crash.

Nothing stands in their way except themselves. Not even the liberal media can be used as an excuse -- if only because Romney and Ryan should be prepared for it and should know how to handle it. Let's look at a few things the Romney-Ryan ticket needs to accomplish in this critical week:

Ditch the Romneytron vibe: Even before the convention, party talking points were leaked, and -- surprise, surprise -- they precisely match the words that have been coming out of Romney's mouth in interviews leading up to the convention. Things like "take-home pay" (a key talking point) are important, but they need to be repackaged a bit and humanized. It shouldn't be difficult to illustrate a talking point with a short story -- a couple of lines that explain why you personally care about something so much. This is real life, not a "West Wing" script from which Romney has to read verbatim.

Counter the "rich guy" narrative: Most people think that the rich were simply born into wealth and can't relate to those who struggle to earn a living. It's a narrative that benefits Obama and his class-warfare focus. Romney should explain where his inherited wealth and opportunities ended and his own efforts began. Many people are convinced that self-made wealth is just a myth to which only naifs subscribe, and that in doing so, they vote against their own self-interest in the faint hope of one day becoming rich themselves. The perception is that Romney landed on a pile of dough in the delivery room. Most people don't know that Romney and his wife, Ann, lived in a cheap basement apartment in Salt Lake City when they were first married. That obviously doesn't fit the Daddy Warbucks narrative, so Romney should explain to voters, in passing, the other ways in which he's like them, and explain precisely how he managed to get rich through his own efforts.

Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is a columnist with Human Events Magazine, and Editor-In-Chief of GrandCentralPolitical News Syndicate.
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