Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's gutcheck time, Mr. Romney. Are you in or out?

Right now the Romney campaign and their team is at a crossroads. I'm hearing two different rumors conflicting with one another right now. With about a week before the absentees (34% of the vote) and a little less than a month and a half before the November election, it's time for the campaign "experts" and advisors to take a close look at what they are doing, what they aren't doing, and adjust properly.

Now is the time to make a move, and by that, I mean a helluva lot more than just phone calls and lit drop n runs.

I've done a lot of campaign stuff, even after originally planning on doing nothing except my business stuff. Glutton for punishment I guess. I'm not a rookie, and not someone who just armchair quarterbacks after the fact. After 11 years on the inside with politics, I will call out incompetence when I see it. I also do not live in a bubble and come from a family with independents, democrats, republicans, and capital l libertarians. Most of them aren't that political outside of voting and following the issues.

One of the things I refuse to do however are political phone calls. I always thought they hurt us back in the day, and believe more so now. They are a waste of time, money, and resources - ESPECIALLY in a general election campaign. We all know Election Day is in November. People are tired of being called multiple times, from multiple organizations. We have the robocalls, the party calls, the superpac calls, money calls, etc. People don't like to be bothered 7-8 times. It pisses off voters who may very well take actions against that candidate. The insider asks "What are they going to do, vote Obama?" Probably not if it is a base voter (although some have said they will vote for who call them the LEAST), but that voter may very well say "go foxtrot yourself" and stay home, especially for the "electable" candidate that people aren't excited about in the first place. This isn't a race between Romney and Obama (and the 3% of 3rd party votes). This is a 3 way race between Romney, Obama, and staying home.  I don't think it is a coincidence that Romney has dropped in all polls after the major Super Saturday phone calls. Some think Paul Scott was recalled partially due to all the phone calls there as well. Romney always had trouble closing the deal. Don't close the deal against him by 7-8 phone calls. Phone calls also have diminishing returns with caller ID. I know the claim about how 7-8 calls help, but even if that was true then (which I doubt) it is certainly untrue for the past few years. I'll mention more on that after the election, win or lose.

The other thing you can't do is insult the base, especially with bad tactics. When you have hundreds of millions of dollars, you need to spend the money wisely. TV ads are only one part of the budget. Some, so they can bray about their large small donor base, are selling their signs (or giving them out to volunteers only). That's the current state of Romney's campaign in Michigan regarding signs. That is possibly the absolute stupidest idea I have ever seen in politics outside of Akin's comments and McCain and the overrated Karl Rove announcing their quitting to the world. Whoever had that idea has his head up his ass and needs to get fired and blacklisted so he is not an adviser on any campaign ever again. Signs belong on yards in front of houses, not right of ways. They belong out starting at this time, not just at polling locations on election day after 35% of the people already voted. Signs in front of houses build momentum which builds on itself transforming light blue states into late swing states forcing opposition to spend money on TV ads where they did not plan to do so before. Sign momentum and hard work with doors takes candidates who supposedly have little shot to win like Joe Hune in 2002 and have them win. You don't refuse to give them out to supporters and then sell signs to people in yet another nagging push to bother people for money - especially when they are used to just picking up signs. You give signs out, and tell people we're running out and need money to get more of these signs that you are seeing everywhere. People don't waste their money on losers. No signs on lawns = loser. Campaigns selling signs and refusing to give them out = loser campaign dragging down the entire ticket and causing insulted members of the base to stay home hurting all of us. Don't complain to the victory center directors. They are just the Indians and follow orders. It's the fault of the advisors and consultants who live in a bubble and have their heads up their asses. When you have hundreds of millions of dollars with fundraising, there is no excuse - none - for not having signs for any supporter that needs one. If county commission and township races can budget for signs properly, so can presidential.

Romney's campaign has to choose whether or not to be a winner or a loser. I'm hearing two different possible scenarios, one I won't say good but not bad. The other scenario is McCain 2008 in its operation.  This race will be won or lost likely in the next two weeks. If it is doing the same thing it is doing now, it's game over. I'm hearing conflicting reports in the direction it takes. I've also learned a few things from the past several years.

1. Do not donate to non-local Superpacs or National Organizations. They are run by Washington/Maryland/Virginia and Washington/Maryland/Virginia style consultants in a bubble who don't understand reality. If they can't run things properly, they aren't worthy of our money. We don't work for the party. It's supposed to work for us.

2. LONG TERM - Local parties and organizations needs to be self sufficient and if that steps on a few national toes, TS. Every local and district party should have an active federal FEC and state/local Secretary of State account so we don't let national decisions hurt us down the ticket. Since it has been shown over and over again that National doesn't do things properly, we have to take care of things ourselves and be ready and able adapt to all situations. It's time for our political party money to stay home and not go to Ohio. Those local resources then need to be spent our way and on our terms. Precinct Delegates elect local and (through state convention district caucus) district leadership. We can control our party. It's time we take control in case another national campaign does a McCain and hangs us out to dry.

As far as this goes regarding Romney, I've heard two different scenarios. I don't know if he will do a McCain. He was on a lot of damage control because of the overrated Karl Rove's comments regarding Pennsylvania. Right now regardless of what decision he makes, the momentum is against him. The pundit class has him required to run the table to have a chance to win. That's an unacceptable premis that needs to be changed. It CAN be changed because elections aren't in September. Romney needs to - at worst - make sure Obama has to fight in the light blue states, much as Obama did in Indiana back in 2008, and even Bush in 2000/2004 in a pre Chris Christie New Jersey. If Obama dictates the fight, it's game over.

Romney needs some specific plans that are more than talking points, and needs to create momentum. He needs to put signs up in all those sign locations that requested. ASAP. That encourages supporters. Don't sell them. Don't play games with them. Do your job and let your workers and volunteers get their guy elected. 

Are you in or out, Mitt? I'll find out in the next weeks.

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