In the flurry of other news, a major strategic decision from the Romney campaign has emerged in a series of reports over the weekend. In brief, the dismal economy won’t be enough to boot President Obama from office, the Romney camp has decided. Something more is going to be necessary. And the ‘more’ is going to be the ‘culture war’, specifically a new campaign angled on race and President Obama as an alien presence in American life. In other words, for the sprint to November 6th, get ready for Birtherpalooza with a hard-edged focus on race, President Obama as a foreign threat to American values and so much more.
We’ve been seeing some of this in the hard run — but relatively undiscussed — of demonstrably false welfare ads in swing states. Then there was that birther crack from Romney at the end of last week, which seemed like a candidate-driven ad lib rather than something planned by the campaign. But now I’m not so sure. I think it’s pretty clear it bubbled up from new strategic conversations within the campaign.
But it only really became clear in the story Romney advisors told the Times that appeared yesterday. There they noted that the economy simply didn’t seem bad enough to boot Obama from office or perhaps that even a really bad economy couldn’t accomplish it. So in the Times’ words Team Romney decided Romney “needs a more combative footing against President Obama in order to appeal to white, working-class voters” by “injecting volatile cultural themes into the race.”
Meanwhile, Tom Edsall chimes in with a more granular look at the numbers. Having failed to make any headway with non-white voters, the Romney campaign is doubling down on ads “designed to turn the presidential contest into a racially freighted resource competition pitting middle class white voters against the minority poor.”
Just how far will they go?
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.