A year ago, most pundits would have guessed that a slow economy with millions out of work, and record spending and deficits projected into the future, would favor a credible Republican challenger. Yet Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a see-saw battle, as polls fluctuate daily at the national and state level. Why is the race so close?
Despite the Governor’s resume in business and public service, it is clear his strength is not in retail politicking, and the Democrats have smartly exploited Republican weaknesses and idiotic statements. The President’s campaign also defined Romney through negative ads in swing states, and is now running as many ads as the Republicans through election day.
To win, Gov. Romney needs to make the affirmative case that he can address the huge problems facing America. Bush II notwithstanding, the traditionally Republican ideas of spending restraint, responsible budgets and limited but effective government still play well with most voters. But after years of hyper-partisanship and Washington dysfunction, the people want government to actually work, for everybody’s benefit.
This past summer No Labels conducted a poll and found that 54 percent of American voters want candidates who are focused on problem solving rather than on loyalty to their political parties. 84 percent want candidates who will work across the aisle to solve their problems.
No Labels — a grassroots movement of nearly 600,000 Democrats, Republicans and independents who are dedicated to a new politics of problem solving — argues that the only way to address our country’s big problems is to work across the aisle to find practical solutions. That’s what undecided voters are looking for, and that’s what Romney needs to focus on.
In a recent ad Romney said, “We need to have leadership — leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if — if it’s a Republican or a Democrat. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.”
As an entrepreneur, I understand the poor state of our nation’s finances and that big things get done only when people pull together — that’s why we need a leader who can work across the aisle and appeal directly to the American people. In 2008, then-candidate Obama won in part on the hope for a united “red-white-and-blue America”. In 2012, this is the roadmap to a Romney victory and to a Presidency worth having. And in 2013, the President (whoever he is) needs to embrace the No Labels philosophy. That’s the only way to begin truly fixing our big problems.