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Friday, August 17, 2012

 
Romney's "trust me" strategy: trust what?

by digby

Greg Sargent has a nice rundown of the Romney "trust me" strategy including some very damning quotes from Romney advisors telling Politico:

Advisers say the campaign has no plans to pivot from its previous view that diving into details during a general-election race would be suicidal.

The Romney strategy is simple: Hammer away at Obama for proposing cuts to Medicare and promise, in vague, aspirational ways, to protect the program for future retirees — but don’t get pulled into a public discussion of the most unpopular parts of the Ryan plan.

“The nature of running a presidential campaign is that you’re communicating direction to the American people,” a Romney adviser said. “Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today’s environment, get tripped up.”

Sargent has more. I'll just add this: if a campaign is going to rely on the "trust me" strategy and not talk about any policy specifics, the candidate had better be an upfront, straight arrow of the utmost integrity. For instance, he would need to be like Mitt's father George, who released all his tax returns in order to show the country that he was a citizen of high ethical standards who not only followed the letter of the law but the spirit of the law as well. It would require a person of very strong principles, principles that have been demonstrated publicly over a long period of time so that the public would understand how this person thinks and acts.

Uhm... Mitt Romney is not that person and people of both parties would be right to suspect him of the worst. After all, this is a man whose public record shows that he will literally say and do anything depending on the circumstances. To "trust" him is to trust in a phantom.

Now, one might say that the "trust me" strategy could work for someone who is the head of a party which the American people have, rightly or wrongly, deemed trustworthy on certain issues over the long haul. If Romney were a Republican national security expert or a Democrat running on his record of health care achievement, perhaps that would convince enough people to trust him under the right circumstances. But a Republican running on the vague promise to "fix Medicare" while promising to "close tax loopholes" for the wealthy? I don't think that's a formula that inspires a lot of trust, do you? In Romney's case, it may not work even among Republicans who haven't got a clue what this guy will really do once in office.

Even incumbents in a time of peace and properity have a hard time running on the "trust me" platform. Some rich guy who served one half-hearted term as Governor, belongs to secretive religion, refuses to say what he paid in taxes and has held every conceivable position on every issue, is the last politician on earth who can tell people to quit asking questions and trust him. It's frighteningly arrogant that he would even try.


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