On Wednesday, Wall Street Journal editors argued that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney must focus more on policy ideas and less on his background. On Thursday, Journal contributing columnist Karl Rove made the same point.
“The Romney campaign is tilted too heavily toward biography and not nearly enough toward ideas,” former President George W. Bush’s senior adviser writes.
“It should make its mantra a line from President Ronald Reagan’s final address to the nation: ‘I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things.’”
Romney has proven his skill at eviscerating Newt Gingrich with a negative attack. But now he must build something positive, Rove says. “He should become bolder in his prescriptions, presenting a confident agenda for economic growth and renewed prosperity through reforms of tax, regulatory and energy policies.”
That shouldn’t be a problem for the former Massachusetts governor, Rove says. “While Mr. Gingrich called Congressman Paul Ryan’s entitlement reforms ‘right-wing social engineering,’ Mr. Romney complimented them last November,” he writes.
Romney simply needs to repeat that speech of support. “He can also build on his best moments in recent debates, when he unapologetically and passionately defended free enterprise,” Rove says. “Far better to best Mr. Gingrich in the weeks ahead by taking the fight to President Obama, challenging the incumbent’s unpleasant attempt to appeal to envy and resentment.”
Following that advice will help Romney unite Republicans, win the nomination more quickly and stand better prepared for the race against President Barack Obama, Rove maintains. “If not, the GOP contest will go on, the bitterness will linger, and the road ahead could be treacherous,” Rove writes.
“With his substantial war chest, Mr. Romney can easily saturate airwaves, stuff mailboxes, and jam phone lines to win most contests and more delegates. But Mr. Romney should be looking ahead and realize that what worked against an underfunded Mr. Gingrich won’t work against the well-funded Barack Obama.”