A very interesting take on Romney’s Plan A and Plan B from TPM Reader DE …
I have a different take on the Plan A, Plan B discussion regarding the Romney campaign. I agree with LF that there really is no plan B, but I also think that the Romney campaign miscalibrated or failed to properly execute their own Plan A.
There is simply no way to defeat an incumbent in a strong economy with no major foreign disasters. Challengers in those situations (Mondale, Dole, Adlai Stevenson) just lose — the best they can do is limit the severity of their defeat and come out with their dignity and political career intact.
On the other hand, challengers only win if the public is convinced that things are bad, and the challenger has a role in convincing them. This year, like 2004 was, is right on the edge of possible for Romney. A plan A that had him just be quiet and wait for the economy to defeat Obama was a bad plan. What he should have done, still should do, is go around pounding the bad economy as hard as he can, asking the “are you better off” question, and feeling the pain of the unemployed and struggling. All the successful challengers in bad economies (Reagan, Clinton, FDR) have been very good at this.
I think ultimately the real problem Romney, Ryan and the current GOP managers have is that they don’t feel the pain, don’t even believe it exists, or if it does that it’s the individuals’ own fault. I remember a quote from a rich, young Reagan delegate in 1980: “Anyone who really wants to work can find a job.” “Carter’s recession” be damned.
If Reagan had said that on the campaign trail he’d have been toast. Romney and today’s Republicans can’t seem to execute plan A decently because of their brutal Randian attitude towards ordinary people.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.