Karl Rove writes about "How the GOP Can Blow It in 2012." Among other pieces of advice worth noting, the following stuck out:
The Republican Party will find it more difficult to gain [target voters'] support if its nominee adopts a tone that's harshly negative and personally anti-Obama.
The GOP nominee should fiercely challenge Mr. Obama's policies, actions and leadership using the president's own words, but should stay away from questioning his motives, patriotism or character. He will do this to his GOP opponent to try to draw Republicans into the mud pit. They should avoid it.
He's right. It's important to remember that the voters who will ultimately decide the election aren't interested in wide, overarching theories about why President Obama does what he does, or who he "really" is, or how he "feels" about America. They're interested in results. And the President's are dismal.
Should the GOP make the mistake of getting into the "softer" areas referenced by Mr. Rove, it will be a disaster. They will be portrayed by the (pro-Obama) media as crazy, hate-filled loons -- who are every bit as out of touch with Americans as voters suspect President "Recovery Summer" Obama is.
What's more, if Republicans give in to the impulse to bash Obama personally, we'l send the message that we're more obsessed with beating him than with actually restoring America's greatness. And we'll sound unready for serious leadership, preoccupied with politics and personalities.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't about making some call for the goo-goo "civility" that equates with never criticizing a liberal. There's plenty to criticize, as Rove points out: Obama's "policies, actions and leadership." In fact, there's so much there that it would be a shame to get distracted from it.