Anyone listening to Mitt Romney last Sunday morning got a wake up call. We expected the Republican candidate to give lip service to current Republican views on political issues like jobs and the economy. We expected a dose of Obama bashing. Many of us were not surprised by his refusal to take a stand on whether to repeal the executive order granting immunity to 800,000 illegals, a gaffe that has been the object of pointless speculation in the media. What was truly appalling was not Romney’s refusal to commit. It was that the very first words out of his mouth when asked about the president’s order were not “He is stealing jobs from Americans.” (see: Why Americans Are Owed Unprecedented Job Creation This Summer)
Does the Romney campaign have anything new to sell? Proving that you can articulate a litany of conservative political issues is not the same thing as convincing voters in a sinking economy that you understand their plight and are ready to fight for their future.
During a Republican primary season best forgotten (see: Bad Habits Republican Candidates Need to Break Now) we heard charges that Romney was not conservative enough. Considering Barack Obama’s polarizing influence, keeping a respectful distance from the far right is a good thing. The problem with Romney is not where he stands on hot button political issues, or whether he can accurately recite Republican views on health care, oil pipelines, and business regulation. The problem the Romney campaign needs to deal with is whether their man can convince voters that he believes in what he says, and is not so out of touch that the best he can do is recite what we already know he will say. Taking the ethically questionable stance of trading citizenship for military service and making vague promises about green cards is what we expect from a politician trying to play both sides of the fence, not the Republican candidate who should be asking why we are giving away jobs that belong to Americans.
Jobs will trump every political issue the Romney campaign needs to deal with right up to the moment the votes are counted. There is no acceptable excuse for not voicing outrage at the president’s plan to sell out unemployed Americans with illegal immigrant labor so he can save his own job in November. On Sunday we did not hear outrage. We did not hear anger. We heard a politician serving up a boilerplate assemblage of Republican views, a party line that becomes tiresome when it is wholly lacking in passion and justified outrage at an out of control president who no longer recognizes any constraints on his powers.
Mitt Romney’s handlers need to wake up and put the Romney campaign on a different course. We are waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down two big decisions. Whether or not the high court decides to agree with the president on immigration and health care, Mr. Obama’s reaction will likely be the stuff of legend for our political process. Romney needs to summon the passion for what will be an unprecedented challenge and opportunity for a conservative candidate. Just going through the motions is not going to cut it.