Did you hear about Romney Hood? He steals from the poor and gives to the rich. The response: That’s “Obamaloney.” And this is how we choose the leader of the free world?
My daughter Rebekah, who just turned 18 and will cast her first ballot in this fall’s election, responded to President Obama and Gov. Romney’s latest campaign salvos by saying, “Really? These are the people who lead our country?”
In what will be a constant stream of negativity for the next 83 days, we will be privileged to hear from Obama, Romney and people and groups making independent campaign expenditures for and against both of them. Our reward for being one of the few states that will choose the next president is that we have and will continue to be bombarded with campaign ads for both sides that unfortunately are likely to leave most of us asking a variation of Bekah’s “Really?”
And the irony of the strategy is that polls suggest the vast majority of us have already decided how we will vote. The relatively few people who are left to make up their minds are primarily unaffiliated voters who are most likely to be disgusted by the histrionics and whose skepticism will make them unlikely to be persuaded by ridiculous and over-the-top accusations designed to scare people away from voting for either candidate.
There are two key strategic components for the Obama and Romney campaigns to employ for success in close states like Colorado. The first is to attract undecided voters. The second is to solidify their bases and employ successful get-out-the vote efforts to ensure their supporters actually vote.
While I know campaign professionals believe claims about their opponents’ extremism will energize supporters, I think it’s just as likely that over-the-top claims against the candidate whom people support will make them make sure that their votes count. And let’s step back from the rhetoric for a minute and ask a couple questions. Does anyone really believe that Obama doesn’t want welfare recipients to get jobs and make livings that don’t require public assistance? And who really believes that Romney wants to destroy the middle class?
These candidates have different views of the world and different visions for the role of our government, but neither of them wants to destroy life as we know it or is running for president with any kind of evil intentions.
Eighty-three days to go. Let’s hope over that time span the candidates for president give us reason to think something better than, “Really?”
Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.