August 10, 2012
Some thoughts regarding Romney’s VP selection

1.    A tremendous amount of the conservative press is agitating for Paul Ryan or some other selection which would force this election to be about “a big choice” or “generational decision on the philosophy of government.” This is not to criticize Paul Ryan or any of the other Fox News favorites who may be fine choices but the key matter is the framing of the choice and the ideas that animate that framing. This framing really demonstrates how disconnected the conservative media is from the actual world of people trying to make ends meet, or even truly understanding the challenges facing the Romney campaign. The people who will decide this election are concerned about finding a job, preserving their job, stretching their paychecks which have shrunk, and long term economic security. They think Obama has done a poor job but are concerned that Romney is not interested in their problems and will only serve the interests of the affluent. Romney’s challenge is to persuade these people that he understands their problems and is interested in coming up with policy proposals that are suited to improving their conditions. This is not a giant philosophical choice about abstract ideals but rather a matter of practical politics. Practical governance is an area the Republicans have generally been woefully inadequate in addressing in recent years. Turning the election into a philosophical referendum may interest someone sitting in a DC think tank or pontificating on Fox News but has little relevance to the average middle class family or even more critically the white working class voter who most likely has to decide between Romney or not voting (the Obama campaign strategy in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania is entirely focused on discrediting Romney so that these voters sit out. They have already rejected Obama.) For the conservative pundit in a DC think tank or on Fox News making ends meet is hardly a pressing day to day problem. Justifying their ideology and their heated rhetoric against the Obama administration is a more immediate concern. However this has no relevance to the concerns of actual voters. The Romney campaign ought to be more concerned with the people who will decide the election in November than the people who will decide the coverage on Fox News tomorrow.

-M.D.B.