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.