Mitt Romney’s Lame, Uninspiring Campaign

Mitt Romney must be trying to bore the American people into electing him this November. There is no real bold, inspiring vision behind his campaign other than “Obama sucks”. Nor should we really expect anything bold from a man who has been on both sides of most political issues. Romney’s campaign also shows an unwillingness to buck the conventional Beltway wisdom and propose any bold solutions to our nation’s problems. Mitt Romney is running a “safe” campaign, but I fear he maybe running too safe of a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November.

More evidence of how safe (ie. dull) of a campaign that Mitt Romney is running is who has already been excluded from speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa next month:

Texas congressman Ron Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican to be denied a speaking role at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. Here’s another high-profile snub from the Mitt Romney camp… Nope, the woman who was the HIT of the 2008 Republican National Convention — not to mention the party’s VP nominee — Sarah Palin, has not yet received an invitation to speak at the 2012 shindig. Must be stuck in, ahem, e-mail. But, as Palin told The Daily Beast, she wasn’t surprised. And not because she hasn’t endorsed her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, other than to tout him someone who isn’t President Obama and has a pulse.

I understand that Ron Paul is not the most disciplined or the most articulate speaker possible and I understand that Sarah Palin is a very controversial figure. However, both people speak to a constituency of independent conservatives and libertarian-leaners that Romney must not only win, but have rally around him and he must motivate to do the campaign volunteer grunt work such as canvassing and phone banking that will be needed to try and match Obama’s excellent grassroots efforts. To snub both speakers is Romney’s way of taking grassroots conservatives and libertarians for granted and telling them that he’s not really interested in their votes and their sweat and shoe leather. I really hope the Romney campaign reconsiders this decision or invites other speakers like Rand Paul or Mike Lee that can also speak to this constituency.

Mitt Romney has also apparently narrowed down his choices for vice president. Suffice to say, the three most probable are all safe (again, dull).

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, 56

PRO: Former legislative affairs director for President George H.W. Bush, U.S. trade representative and budget director for President George W. Bush, congressman, senator. Rarely invites controversy, soft-spoken, won big in his 2010 Senate bid in a state crucial to the election.

CON: Too closely aligned to Bush and the struggling economy. Portman presided over the fiscal 2008 federal budget, which more than doubled the deficit. Style may be too bland.

Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor, 51

PRO: Compelling bio: His mother died when he was a teenager and his father was laid off from his trucking company job. He’s the first in his family to graduate from college. An evangelical, he was seriously considered for the 2008 VP slot. Strong conservative Republican credentials in a Democratic-dominated state.

CON: Unexciting. The state probably isn’t in play. His presidential campaign fizzled in 2011, and he was a sharp critic of Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan – which would be duly noted by the Obama campaign.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, 41

PRO: An Indian-American two-term governor and Rhodes Scholar who could add ethnic and regional diversity. A rising star regarded as a problem solver in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

CON: Bombed on the national stage when he delivered the Republican response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union speech. Initially supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential run. Wrote in 1994 about attending the dorm-room exorcism of a friend.

The most exciting pick of these three most likely VP candidates is Bobby Jindal and he’s about as exciting as driving a Toyota Prius. Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty can give speeches that can cure insomnia. I can’t really see Romney’s VP pick doing for him what John McCain’s selection of Palin did for him in 2008, which is fire up the conservative base.

The best political campaigns inspire passion in their supporters while moving towards the middle of the electorate. The Obama-Biden voters are committed and fired up. In these swing states that both candidates have to win to get to the magic 270 electoral votes needed to win, passionate and committed supporters, along with a smart campaign can be the difference between victory and defeat. Unfortunately for Republicans, it appears that their nomination of a moderate from Massachusetts will have the same results for them in 2012 as it did for Democrats in 2004 against a divisive president. What Romney needs to do is be bold and offer a clear choice against the big government agenda of Barack Obama and the Democrats with real solutions to reduce the size and scope of government and get the economy going again. If he doesn’t do this, he will lose and deservedly so.

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