When he left office in January, 2009, lots of Republicans were rightfully upset with President Bush. Still, it’s important that Republicans learn from President Bush’s re-election campaign of 2004.
Just to give a little historical perspective, I started blogging after the election in November, 2004. In September, 2004, President Bush became the first sitting president to visit St. Cloud. I joined with 15,000 of my closest friends that day at Dick Putz Field.
President Bush’s speech had people jazzed. Mostly, it got them jazzed because it was a substantive speech. That morning, President Bush talked about how his tax cuts pulled us out of a post-9/11 recession. He explained that staying on the offensive against the terrorists meant that we fought them in their sanctuaries rather than fighting them here in the United States. He talked about the importance of appointing strict constructionist judges.
He didn’t get into the weeds on policies but it gave activists a reason to fight for him and volunteer for a massive GOTV operation.
The point is that Mitt Romney, I think, would win if he gave the people substance in each stump speech. This isn’t just about resumes. If we know anything about this election, it’s that we know people are thirsting for ideas and solutions.
That’s why Mitt’s polling shot up when he picked Paul Ryan. Ryan immediately launched into substantive critiques of President Obama’s agenda. He made the case for reforming Medicare in easy-to-understand terms. GOP enthusiasm reached its apex.
Mitt Romney needs to hit the same themes day after day, opportunity after opportunity, whether that’s on Cavuto or Hannity or The View or out on the stump. Forcing the media to cover his agenda would work wonders for Mitt.
Mitt should include the EPA’s shutting down coal-fired power plants while preventing new natural gas opportunities in Ohio and other Rust Belt states. He should highlight this administration’s foreign policy failures, then use that as a launching pad for telling people how he’d be a better ally to Israel and how he’d go after terrorists in Iran, Yemen and Benghazi. He should talk about the need for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Finally, he should talk about being the president that will usher in the next great domestic energy boom in our nation’s history.
Billy Joel wrote a song that’s an odd fit for this. Here’s that song:
Here’s the specific part that Romney needs to excel at:
Tell her about it Tell her everything you feel Give her every reason To accept that you’re for real
The lesson Mitt needs to learn is that he’s got to give independents a reason to vote for him. The activists are fine with voting against President Obama. To win independents, though, he’ll need to give them something substantive to win them over.
Telling independents specifically what he’ll do to lower gas prices, create jobs and make them safe from terrorists must be Job One for Mitt Romney every day he’s campaigning. There’s no alternative.