The Right Opinion

Dear Mr. Romney

By Arnold Ahlert · Jul. 9, 2012

Dear Mr. Romney:

Since you apparently have advisors that are very clever people, perhaps a word from a troglodyte like me might be refreshing. In the last two weeks, you have tried to explain the difference between “off-shoring” and “outsourcing” with respect to the economy, and despite the great gift handed to you by our addled Chief Justice, John Roberts, you insisted on playing a semantical game between calling Obamacare a “constitutional tax” or an “unconstitutional penalty.”

Let me give you a clue: the overwhelming number of people who understand and/or appreciate the nuances in such parsing of the language already know who they're going to vote for. They're the ones who follow politics, have a far higher understanding of economics than the average American, and make an ongoing effort to pay attention to what's happening in general.

The rest of America knows there is an election in November, and not a whole lot else. Luckily for you, most of them won't even be paying attention to the details of that election until September or October. That doesn't make them unintelligent per se. For the most part it means that a lot of them are busy living their lives, trying to get from one day to the next. And while a lot of them know there's something not quite right with this economy, they can't immerse themselves in the kind of facts and figures – or nuance – that you and your campaign managers seemingly think they can.

You know why a slogan like “tax the rich” works so well? Because it taps into one of mankind's baser instincts, namely envy. And as you and yours have likely surmised by now, Mr. Obama and Democrats will tap into whatever negative instincts human beings possess, if it means winning the 2012 election. Divide-and-conquer is as old as the Romans, and has been effective for that long as well.

So here's my advice. First, reduce your campaign to its simplest terms. You had it going on when you asked Americans if they want to live in a “government-centered society,” yet even that was a bit clever. A simpler question might be this: if you needed a street light installed at a dangerous intersection in your neighborhood, would you rather call your local government representative, or be beholden to a federal bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.? Yet the bottom line here is this: you need a slogan that captures the essence of American exceptionalism. Hold a contest if you need to, but get something simple that appeals to a human being's higher instincts. When Ronald Reagan referred to America as a “shining city on a hill,” Mr. Peanuts had no comeback. Furthermore, appealing to Americans' higher instincts will further separate you from the Divider-in-Chief.

Yet even more importantly, maybe game-changing, have the guts to admit that your Massachusetts healthcare plan was a stinker. That's right, admit you made a colossal mistake, even if it was for what you considered all the right reasons. If you don't understand why, let me explain it in political terms that are quite germane, even if somewhat oblique: the cover-up, or in this case the cover-my-ass, is worse than the original “crime.” Watergate, Monica Lewinsky, and Fast and Furious are as in-your-face as it gets regarding that truism. A presidential resignation, an impeachment leading to a $90,000 fine and disbarment, and a contempt of Congress citation are a testament to the kind of arrogance and stubbornness that turns people off. So does giving Mr. Obama and his media harpies something to club you with, over and over again.

You know what turns people on? Someone man enough to admit he was wrong.

Understand something else as well. You're never going to be perceived as a regular Joe, no matter how hard you try. It's just not part of your DNA, it's never been part of your DNA, and any attempt to make it so will be taken for exactly what it is: overt pandering. What you need to demonstrate above all else is quite different. You need passion. It's not enough to have the right argument, if you're going to deliver it in measured – dare I say sleep-inducing – terms. Ask John McCain how staying “above the fray” works in a presidential campaign. I know this seems like a contradiction, but it's worth remembering Ronald Reagan, in the midst of praising the nation, wasn't afraid to ask the question that became the quintessential slogan of the 1980 election campaign. To wit: are you better of now than your were four years ago?

Hopefully by now you've figured out that any criticism of this president and his policies will be deemed racist by the Democrats and their useful idiots in the media. Get over it. And get over the idea that any topic, from the president's associations with race-baiter Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground Terrorist Bill Ayers, to the various scandals of this administration, such as the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running debacle and the crony capitalism surrounding Solyndra and LightSquared., are “off-limits” because a bunch of progressives say so.

Finally, stop pretending Barack Obama is anything less than a Constitutionally-contemptuous, Congress-bypassing, fact-challenged, socialist/Marxist, no matter how “appalled” the chattering classes become. This country is hanging by a thread, and if you can't make the case – and make it with gusto – that he and his administration are an unmitigated disaster, you're going to lose an election you should win in a walk. In other words, a little righteous anger goes a long, long, long way.

Cleverness is for losers, and nice guys finish last. Step out of the self-generated campaign bubble, sir. Whether you like it or not, you may be the last best hope for our nation.

Start acting like it.


 Arnold Ahlert


Chas Holman in Portland said:

Governor Romney's dad, when he was running for president, basically said any moron could come up with a years worth of returns and make it say anything they wanted. So he went all unprecedented and released 10 years worth.

Mr Romney doesn't seem to have learned a lot from his dad integrity wise, but maybe he is actually listening to that advice by NOT releasing more than 1 year?

I also know George warned about the growing military industrial complex, and lost the vote much because he said he had been brainwashed by the Generals in control of nam, and he was wrong and we simply had to get out.

George Romney also walked out of the 1964 Republican National Convention to protest the Republican platform plank against civil rights legislation.

It seems Governor Romney learned everything from his dad what not to do to win an election, but ditched the whole 'integrity' lesson along the way.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Ct-Tom in NC said:

The "Finally,..." paragraph says it all. Obama is not a nice guy in over his head. Romney (or his surrogates) better take the gloves off, and soon.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 7:36 AM

MAH in Wisconsin replied:

Last time I heard 'gloves off' was during the McCain disaster. Hardly even know there's a presidential campaign going on. It's Obama and who? Where is the candidate that insisted he was conservative and ready to go to battle with Obama? Haven't heard much from him at all. Will this be a repeat as some fear?

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Paul Couch in N.C. said:


Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

Well said, Hammer the Obamao Liars with the truth, and let the marxist statist liars spew whatever they want. This Should Be A Landslide, the choice between Libery or Tyranny, the Republic or Bankrupt Euro Socialism, Freedom or Slavery to the State. Time indeed to take off the gloves, because if we fail at the ballot box, you better have your ducks in a row!

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Rod in USA said:

Wow. Another PERFECT column by Mr. Ahlert. Way to go!

There are so many nuggets in here I can scarcely tell where to begin. The base point is right on: Be straight forward, honest and hard hitting. Tap dancing around "touchy subjects" will get you nowhere.

After developing the messages, anticipate the likely comebacks and have the retort ready. For example, if you attach Obamao on his associations (Wright, Ayers et al, the list is long), then I would anticipate him or his minions to do two things: One come back with a "that's not fair" or "that's not impoirtant" line and two, attempt to change the subject.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

JAC in Texas said:

Best column yet that needs to go to Romney. Quit calling that idiot a nice guy, and start calling him out on all his bulls--t.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Truthseeker in Springfield, MO said:

I disagree in one important area. "Romneycare" was immensely popular in Massachussets and the more radical parts were opposed by Romney but passed anyway, so he shouldn't apologize for what teh people in his state wanted. The fact is that "Romneycare" and "Obamacare" are two very different programs and one is small and state-based (constitutional) and the other is a bloated, national, and probably unconstitutional mess. Romney needs to put a large amount of daylight between his program and Obama's, rather than apologize for it.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Tex Horn in Texas said:

Thanks once again, Arnold, for cutting to the chase. Doing what you suggest is the only hope Romney has, in my estimation.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Jim in Western NC said:

This whole business of releasing tax returns is ridiculous. What about to privacy? All it will show is that Gov. Romney has made a lot of money, along with the Obama's, and has given a lot to charity (unlike Gore, Clinton, and Biden, before people starting looking into them). If Romney was a tax cheat, like many Obama cronies in Washington, I'm sure we'd know. Making honest money used to be encouraged. What happened to using success as an example? Perhaps to play along, Romney ought to take the approach of immediately releasing his college transcripts and then his tax returns only when the president releases his college transcripts.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

QueensJudyG in Queens, NY said:

For the Romney campaign buzzwords or another slogan for his bumper stickers, how about under his "Believe in America: It's Worth Fighting for...We the People Can Take It Back.

Romney should show all his school records; his community service work in all places where he lived and did his missionary work; his citizenship papers and his father's and his grandparents' papers; his passports; his charitable giving in the multimillions; how many payrolls he had to meet in his life; how much executive experience he's had in his life; and then just flat out state -- he has not committed any crimes under U.S. law for putting his money after he's paid his annual taxes, wherever it is onshore or off. Tell the current occupant to show where he hides his money from his Chicago gangsta days, and explain about the Rezko house purchase fully. Then point out that JFK and RFK never had to show similar records, and their family fortune was tainted, to say the least. LBJ never had to show such things, either, and certainly not FDR. Dim Dems make me laugh.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Mark in NH said:

Of all the people in this country, Romney was the best the voters could come up with? Unless something magical happens, it's looking more and more like Obama is going to get a second term.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Tex Horn in Texas said:

Arnold, please allow me to sum up your excellent article: Hey, Mitt, grow some balls!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Rob in Florida said:

Is it too late to draft Allen West to be the Republican presidential nominee? He isn't afraid to offend people with the truth. Without question, Allen West's integrity, devotion to the U.S. Constitution, and proven leadership abilities far surpass that of the current occupant of the White House.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 4:32 PM