The Challenge Ahead for Romney-Ryan

Carol Platt Liebau

8/12/2012 12:57:27 PM - Carol Platt Liebau
Seeing the Sunday news shows did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm over Romney's choice of Paul Ryan for the VP slot.  It did, however, provide a sobering realization of the scale of the challenge ahead for the Romney-Ryan ticket -- given that (1) the Obama campaign has shown a willingness to lie without shame; and (2) the ostensible "referees" of the debate (i.e., the media) have already made it more than clear that they are in the tank for Obama.

There are some things that the Romney-Ryan team needs to do right away.  These include:

(1) Get surrogates and spokesmen the facts -- fast.  Reince Priebus has done a stellar job as RNC chairman, but he was not prepared for David Gregory's onslaught this morning on "Meet the Press."  It is entirely predictable that the left was ready with a "Romney-Ryan want to push Granny off the cliff."  The response needs to be strong, unified, coherent and easy to understand.  Paul Ryan has a talent for making the complex simple.  It is a talent everyone else needs to develop, fast.

People need to understand why entitlement reform is an integral part of our nation's fiscal recovery -- and how it helps them in the short term with the jobs crisis and the other fiscal issues we're currently facing.  The Obama message is short and simple: "They want to cut spending so millionaires don't have to pay taxes."  It's wrong (and assumes a level of evil and bad faith that's simply shocking!) but the GOP needs something almost as crisp and easy, keeping in mind that it has to make sense to normal people (who, quite sensibly, never believed Obama's claim that ObamaCare was needed for economic recovery to take hold).

(2) Inoculate the electorate against the "politics of fear" that's all the Obama team has to push.  How about an ad splicing together every apocalyptic denunciation of Republican reforms that the Democrats have routinely made over the last 30 years?  How about clips showing talking heads of the day predicting doom if Reagan were elected, or his tax cuts went through, or the 1986 tax reform passed, or welfare reform was passed in 1996?  People need to remember that this is the way Democrats have always responded to any effort to reform Big Government.  As part of this effort,

(3) Offer the states as examples.  GOP-led states are thriving (relatively), where governors have made tough choices and withstood the left's onslaught.  As part of the ads referenced above, show the left prophesying doom in Wisconsin and New Jersey . . . and then show the turnaround Governors Walker and Christie are achieving.  And for heaven's sake, get the governors on the campaign trail.  Governor Walker did fine this morning on "Meet the Press"  -- because he's used to dealing with the kind of "fear and smear" tactics the left employs and the media happily passes along.

(4) Help people understand that the Obama campaign is trying to make them afraid of the wrong things.  It's a tough sell to convince voters that President Obama is a bigger threat to government programs as they currently exist than Mitt Romney is -- although we were reminded, accurately and with some regularity this morning, that Obama is the one who cut $700 billion from Medicare.  But people won't believe that any more than the left can convince them that Republicans are the party of high taxes.

Instead, point out that the pain and the cost of addressing tough issues now is going to be significantly less than doing it in just a decade or so.  If we make changes now -- not even terribly horrible changes -- we can right the ship.  If we wait, our entire country will start to look like . . . California.  And that will be a disaster.  That's what we should really fear -- not, for example, paring spending back to 2006 levels.  In addition, explain why this time, it really is different than, say 1992 (when Ross Perot drove concern about the deficit, but we grew out of it shortly thereafter).  This isn't 1992 -- Obama has gotten us into a situation that -- in four years -- will be hard to recover from.

And offer some hope, framing the election as a choice: "The Obama campaign offers nothing but more fear, and more of the same.  Americans don't have to be afraid . . . if we do the right thing now.  We've all had to worry for four years.  It's time those day were over.  And it's time for us to stop blaming each other for the problems we face -- and to start solving them.  It's time for real hope, real change and a fresh start."

Finally, tHIS VIDEO SHOULD BE EVERYWHERE.  It shows Bill Clinton speaking with Paul Ryan about how he hopes the 2011 Democrat win in New York won't become an excuse for his party to "do nothing" about reform -- and invites Ryan to call him.  So who's really out of the mainstream -- Ryan and Clinton, or Obama and his lefty "do nothing" crew?