Playing It Safe is Always Dangerous, which GOP Elites Never Learn

Mitt Romney palyed it safe and lost.

Mitt Romney palyed it safe and lost.

by Jonathon Moseley

The 2012 Presidential election was a rerun of 1988.  Michael Dukakis was slow and superficial at presenting himself to the voters.  It was already too late by the time Dukakis got around to trying to tell the voters who he is and what he stood for.  This time, it was the Democrats who defined Mitt Romney and controlled the national debate before Mitt Romney’s campaign could get its message across.

Democrats learned the lesson of 1988.  Republicans forgot it.  Democrats acted early, aggressively, early, relentlessly, early, forcefully, and early to define Mitt Romney in the voters mind.  In fact, the Democrats sought to smear each of the potential Republican Presidential candidates in anticipation of 2012 as far back as merciless attacks on Sarah Palin in 2009.  Each time a potential nominee started to gain traction, the Democrats and the media immediately sought to destroy them.  Watching this whack-a-mole process for four years, Romney’s team should have known better.

Mitt Romney turned out to be far better than his campaign organization.  But Romney’s campaign was dragged down by the Republican establishment’s eternal strategic mistakes.  The Republican elite always confuses spending lots of money, making lots of really bad campaign consultants rich, and having lots of people running around aimlessly with having an effective campaign.

Like Ronald Reagan, the goal of the tea party candidate should be to inform, to inspire, and to persuade.  A good conservative candidate seeks to educate the voters.

However, the GOP elite ran a “play it safe” campaign — as they always do.  The Republican establishment has a supreme belief in its own cleverness.   RINO’s believe in trying to manipulate and out-smart the voters rather than talking to them honestly, answering their questions and concerns, and persuading them.

Voters had real questions:

First, who is Mitt Romney? Romney allowed Democrats to define him.  In an election where humanizing a rich businessman was an urgent need, that should have been obvious to Romney’s team two years ago.  Frankly, we know more about the mysterious Barry Soetero Obama than we do about Mitt Romney.  In typical RINO fashion, tremendously positive attributes of Mitt Romney’s life story were never used.

The typical campaign schedule starts out with warm, friendly television ads talking about the candidate and his life and his family.  Where were the “This is Mitt Romney” ads or videos?  We did not learn about Mitt Romney’s early married life from a warm, friendly campaign video.  We learned about packing the kids into the station wagon only from an attack about a dog.  Forget the dog.  Tell me about early family life driving 11 hours each way in a station wagon for family vacation.

But oh no! Campaign consultants will fervently argue that maybe we could win 3 million votes by humanizing Mitt Romney with his life story.  But we might lose 1 grandmother in North Dakota who doesn’t like station wagons.   Gain 3 million.  Lose 1.  Naah.  Play it safe.

Second, Romney’s campaign never addressed the central question of the entire campaign for the voters:  The economy under Obama is bad.  But another economic crash would be worse.  We survived the 2008 crash.  We can’t afford another 2008 economic disaster.   It is entirely reasonable for voters to calculate that Obama has done a bad job.  But that is better than a rerun of 2008.

Republican insiders insisted that it was enough to simply point at Obama and say “Him do bad job!  Him no good!”  But the American people are intelligent enough to ask the follow-up question:  “Okay, but will you do any better?”

George Bush crashed the economy, the average voter has been told relentlessly for 4 years.  After all, the media says so.  The Democrats say so.  And the Republicans don’t deny it.  Republicans don’t ever want to talk about it.

At a perfect teachable moment, the country needed to be educated on the core differences between Keynesian Economics with its proven failures and Republican policies.  This is one of the core issues of the tea party.

The Republican establishment ran away from the question.  They will tell you how brilliant they are.  They will insist that leading a national discussion about our country’s future would only remind people of the 2008 economic crash.  Better to ignore the voters’ legitimate questions and concerns and hope they will just go away.

Imagine the hubris of thinking that voters will forget about their own concerns when they vote.  Imagine the Machiavellian manipulation of refusing to answer what is upper-most on voters’ minds and hoping voters will forget the 2008 economic collapse.  This is the kind of thinking that rules and ruins the Republican Party.

Third, the campaign never really explained how would Romney’s business experience translate into the ability to fix the economy.

Fourth, the establishment declared that the strategy would be to run a ‘referendum’ election rather than a ‘contrast’ or ‘message’ campaign.  That is, they would make the election all about Barack Obama’s failures, and offer as little substance as possible.  The GOP wanted to avoid a comparison between the candidates.

Heaven help us.  The voters decide — not the campaign consultants — what the election is about.  The voters decide how the voters view the election decision.  Who in their right mind thinks that a campaign can decide what the election is about?  You have to answer the voters’ question and concerns.  The GOP needs to respect voters as real people with legitimate concerns.

Fifth, the Tea Party and Republican machinery were unable to swing the election.  Why?  Because if everyone votes, the ground game and organization has no effect.  The goal of these mechanisms is to get more of your people to vote than the other guy.  But if everyone votes, any difference is wiped out.  The power of the tea party in 2010 was lost in the flood in 2012.

Sixth, Democrats play chess.  Republicans are playing checkers.  Democrats plan ahead.  Republicans do not.  In 2011, Virginia Republicans trashed a conservative Hispanic woman who was in the tea party from Day One.  Hispanic leadership in Virginia would have helped in 2012.  But Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cucinelli chose foreign money over building long-term Republican Hispanic leaders and winning Hispanic-American votes.  But they are not raising up any other Hispanics, either.

In 2004 through 2006 I worked hard to get support for Paul Schiffer’s radio program influencing Ohio.  Paul was drawing large numbers of women, young people, and minorities with a strong but thoughtful conservative message.  We argued that Ohio as a battleground state needs to hear our conservative message.  The show went off the air for lack of support.  These are only examples of GOP short-term thinking.

Romney was looking more and more like a Ronald Reagan for today.  But he was dependent upon the GOP elite.  Republican insiders don’t “get” ordinary voters, because they are not interested.  They want to play clever games instead.

While Romney excelled in the Presidential race as a Reaganesque leader, Romney never rose above the inherent weaknesses in the Party.


  1. The republican party or some party need to learn to be tough and call a liar a liar at the time it is stated and ram the dishonesty down the throat of the person stating untruths immediately and keep pouncing for all its worth. GM jobs will be moved to China, Obama watched as our Americans were murdered and then tried to cover it up. He has went around

    • until I found out in 1982 the republicans and democrats agreed to not pursue vote fraud I was NOT for starting a third party, but I am now starting to think it's the best way if it is handled correctly, that the person does indeed qualify as a Tea party Conservative, not in name only, we still have the 12th Amendment option, to get more than 1/3 or 18 states to refuse to cast electoral votes and force Congress to decide, this puts them ALL on record as to who's side they are on, but it must be done before mid December………..

  2. Sure – it was all the Republicans fault. I mean, you had the whole MSM on your side and they helped as much as they could by hiding some stories and publishing others. (sarcasm for those who don’t recognize it)

    Yeah, we failed by picking a decent man when a highly compromised life candidate would have had a chance to win. He didn’t do drugs, drink, or play around, and the public eats that up – as we can see by the scandal ridden life of the NJ Senator who had no problem winning and they lying faux Cherokee in MA.

    It was all our fault!!! Now take up the mantle of guilt again and watch the show.

    • right on. Only six corporatons now own all of our media today in the US and 5/6 of it is liberal… yet they buy into it hook line and sinker. My own mom voted Dem. b/c she always has. I asked her to look into what they are about today and see if she really agrees with it… she told me I was spreading rumors. RUMORS… yeah.. uh, here are some real world wide sites that prove what I am saying.. the trusted media of London, a few in Germany, one from Ireland, etc…. the Washington Post, etc… but it was rumors. oh yeah.. and MA.. cause I have a Native American nose… please. She won't even speak with the Native American counsil members from her own "tribe" that she claims… so, how true is that? sigh. What happened was two things… Ron Paul told his avid supporters to vote Johnson, because he's an idiot and apparently.. they are idiot… squared. Anyone who voted Johnson voted for no reason. It was a lost vote. If one asks a room of twenty people if they know who Johnson is, most of them would answer… "Who?" Maybe five people knew his name at all… now how is that worth a win? I'm not anti-Johnson, by the way… I am for getting O out of office. If I can dig up proof of anything that might make him be forced out of office… I'm going to push it until it happens. I'm digging now… anyone with me? Let's can this jerk legally. It's out there… find out who we have to pay to open those seals and how much it's going to have to cost.

    • Pii, please understand that I am arguing that HOW Republicans campaign is extremely important.

      I state in my article that Mitt Romney proved to be BETTER than his campaign. The article states that I think Mitt Romney could have been a Ronald Reagan for the decade of the 2010's. He would have had to grow out of early waffling and searching in his early career, just as Ronald Reagan left the Democrat Party.

      But Mitt Romney's campaign structure — filled with Republican establishment types and dumb campaign consultants — kept Mitt Romney from reaching his potential and cost Mitt Romney the election.

      The Republican establishment let MItt Romney down.

  3. The Republican Party has learned a lesson, Mitt is a good guy…sometimes good guys finish second (Second is first at being LAST). Mitt had him in the second debate and I'm sure he will regret not slamming that home…. the infamous 'lie/no lie/yes you did/move on govenor' regarding the speach on 9-12-2012 after the Libya murders.

  4. I think the behavior of the President and Vice President was offensive in that they called two good men liars trying to deflect attention from their own deceit. However there are a lot of Americans out there that did not study their civics, government or history lessons when they were in school. They also did not do their homework before voting this election. there was absolutely no sense in how dirty this campaign got. And no excuse for any American to
    go to the polls to vote not knowing what they are voting for.

  5. I think hind sight being what it is we can say he played it to safe. But I also feel that perhaps he was listening to what a lot of people were saying. which was that they were tired of all of the rhetoric and mud slinging a political posturing and they just wanted to hear facts about what they were going to do. I also feel like maybe they underestimated the pull that Obama had by coming out and backing EVERY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP UNDER The Sun That had something to whine about. Need the Gay vote support same sex marriage. Want the pro choice vote support abortion for any reason. Get those environmentalist in there by supporting every 'green energy' project that comes down the road whether they have a good business plan or not.

    • personally.. I hate mud slinging… talk about what you are about and show who you are. If you're considerate, then be considerate. Obama showed how inconsiderate he was, but people chose not to see it. Biden showed exactly how rude and impossible he is, yet they agreed to another four years… just hope they don't send him to third world countries to help calm things down.. he'd probably return in a box. That's how rude he was. Romney has principals, Obama has no principles. well.. allow me to say that more completely.. Romney has good principals and Obama has terrible principals. 😀 Romney would easily sit down and enjoy a good, sincere, conversation with anyone he meets… O is standoffish and selfish… that's how egomaniacs are. Secretly.. I'm still hoping the electors all vote for Romney… it could happen… hahahaha 😀

  6. Look up the name George Soros and see what you find out. He is a very evil man who has been linked to Obama.

  7. Yes, Romney should have gone for Obama's throat right from the beginning. Obama is nothing but a liar, he had lied about everything for four years and now four more. GOP just have to toughen up, not going to win by being nice. No more nice GOP!

  8. Patricia.. you're right about Soros.. .he's not just linked to Obama.. he's the guy typing in what O says into the telepromptors. Apparently, Dems like a good puppet. Now, add his buddy Bill Ayers, who I'm almost certain has added to those speeches and his czars, plus … well.. who knows who all… he also takes what he learned from Rev. Wright and Frank Davies and has a field day… We all need to be vigilant now. Listen to everything the man says. We need to know what he plans and we need to speak up to our representatives about how we feel about his latest plans. We don't need more of what he's been doing and he'd best not ask for "help" in dealing with our representatives… cause to give him the requested "help" will be to sign all of our rights away. He's after dictatorship. I know he is hopeful of it at least. He has commented upon it a few times…

  9. The usurper should have been hit with the economy, the debt, Benghazzi, Fast and Furious, ad nauseam. He seemed to think this was a gentlemen's campaign. You can't play gentleman's rules against a Chicago thug!

  10. Well if the GOP didnt suppress the true conservative in the race and kick out his supporters, we would be looking at a solid red map from sea to shining sea. In 2016, try to keep the name Rand in your head and ignore the others.

  11. Maybe people will start voting with the Tea Party and GOP only when they start respecting The President Of The United States.