Only Way Romney Can Win is By Being Vicious?

I hope the columnists that The WEEK magazine excerpted today regarding Mitt Romney's keys to winning the November election are wrong. But I'm not sure they are. And that's discouraging.

In the article, several political commentators said that, for Romney to overcome his present deficit in the polls, he needs to unite the conservative wing of the GOP behind a "get rid of Obama at any cost" strategy, and go to on the attack in a way that is so vicious that it puts all previous negative campaigning to shame (or perhaps the opposite of shame).

IOW, don't offer any positive platform. Don't present any fresh ideas. Don't tell us how you'll govern. Just destroy Obama.

It's conventional political wisdom that negative, attacking ads are widely disapproved of, and enormously effective. This CNN piece is one of several good articles I've read recently on the subject. The researcher featured in the piece says that one reason negativity works is that negativity is more memorable than positivity. ("Think how you remember insults," she says.)

But I believe that sooner or later our better angels will prevail and we will become sufficiently disgusted with negative campaigning to punish those who engage in it. Trouble is, neither side can afford to engage in unilateral disarmament in the hopes that now is that time.

Quite a conundrum. I hope Obama's team can at least minimize anti-Romney advertising but given the success the GOP presumptive nominee has had with burying opponents under vicious attack, he's not likely to back off in the General.

2 comments for “Only Way Romney Can Win is By Being Vicious?

  1. Chipp Walters
    April 13, 2012 at 2:09 am

    And Obama’s platform is NOT about going negative? The most divisive president in history is trying to drive a wedge between the rich and the poor, women and men, and now with this Martin case, between blacks and whites.Eric Holder jumps to the microphone saying how he’s going to mandate a federal investigation in the unfortunate death of a young black boy, but when the Black Panthers put a bounty out on Zimmerman’s head, including Wanted posters, Holder does nothing– even after multiple requests from the media and Zimmerman’s family. I can only imagine what would happen if the shoes were reversed and a white group put out a bounty on a black person.Not since the OJ trial has our culture been more racially polarized. And what about Obama advisor Hilary Rosen saying Romney shouldn’t take advice from his wife because, she “never worked a day in her life.” That’s not only negative– it’s also political suicide– as indicated by the rush by the left to *quickly* distance themself from her and her anti-woman thinking. Obama knows he needs ALL the women vote if he wants a chance in November.(Maybe she’s not his advisor, but her firm has been paid by the Democratic National Committee, and she’s been down to the White House 35 times.)

  2. Dan Shafer
    April 13, 2012 at 3:29 am

    Chipp, I didn’t say that Obama wouldn’t go negative. I suspect he will. It’s what works.I really see the notion of Obama as divisive completely different from you, which I suppose tends to prove your thesis on some level. :-)It is however worth noting that Hilary Rosen is not and never has been an Obama ort Democratic Party adviser. She’s a Democratic strategist who has worked on lower-level campaigns over the years but she is at the moment a TV commentator. Obama’s team was VERY quick to denounce her comments. (BTW and FWIW, I think her comment was badly misinterpreted even by the Democrats. I think her point was that Ann Romney hasn’t been in the workaday world and that because of that it is sort of silly for Mitt to rely on her as an economic advisor. She also apologized, by the way. This was a real tempest in a teapot.