First, a few disclaimers:
1. If you want to label me, I’m a 46-year-old-white-Christian-southern-moderate Democrat who’s never voted for a Republican. However, if I’d been the age I am now in the 1980s, I’d probably have been a Reagan Democrat.
2. For the most part, I believe the Obama presidency has failed to live up to its expectations. It’s been particularly harmful in a moralistic sort of way.
3. I think Mitt Romney is a good, smart, decent man who has the qualifications to potentially serve well as president, but his campaign is a disaster.
4. In the 48 hours since I decided to post on this topic, Romney’s apparently decided to name Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. It’s a bad choice that makes his road to the White House all the more difficult. But the Saturday announcement does allow the Romney campaign to dominate tomorrow’s Sunday talk shows, so touche’.
5. I’m pulling for Mitt Romney to turn his campaign around, show who he really is, and there’s a remote chance I may possibly cast my first Republican presidential vote ever. But it’s not looking good so far.
In my world of
professional duffer’s golf, we have this thing called a mulligan.
In certain tournaments, you may purchase x number of mulligans. In a gentleman’s round of golf, players agree to mulligans off the first tee or at certain designated moments along the round. The mulligan is a do-over, a second chance. An opportunity to erase the previous hook or slice.
It’s a chance to start fresh and forget the past.
The mulligan is an applicable metaphor for the Romney campaign.
Though many will disagree, I contend, the Romney campaign has, to date, failed to show its true potential. So far, foreign policy visits have been disastrous, the tax issue looms as a dark cloud of dubious dealings. He runs needlessly from the issue of his Mormon faith and his record as Massachusetts governor. And his selection of Ryan as running mate gives no diversity whatsoever to the GOP ticket. That in itself, is a hugely missed opportunity, but not unexpected.
But Mitt Romney is a good man. Even the most left-wing blue-dog Democrat must admit that. His qualifications for the presidency are as good as any Republican candidate in recent years. He’s a successful capitalist who’s been in the trenches, and that may very well be exactly what the country needs as this moment, as opposed to Obama, who many contend has never had a “real” job.
In a few short days, Mitt Romney gets his last mulligan. His acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa is Romney’s final opportunity to let the world know who he is. He desperately needs to bare his soul. After Tampa, there will be no more defining moments.
As a press secretary to U.S. Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) from 1996-2000, I wrote hundreds of campaign and political speeches. Were I in the same position with Romney today, I’d shape my acceptance speech around the following 10 points, and I’d bare my soul to its innermost core. These points are not the message, but the points around which the message should be shaped.
- Married to the same woman for 43 years with five great kids.
- Stuck beside his wife every step of the way when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996.
- A product of the public school system.
- Successful enough to make his way through Stanford, Brigham Young and Harvard.
- Lived in a basement apartment as an undergrad at BYU.
- Spent more than two years as a Mormon missionary in France.
- And while there sustained a broken jaw defending a female missionary who was being harassed by a rugby team.
- Progressive record as governor of Massachusetts.
- Understands the world of capitalism and pulled off a successful Winter Olympic Games in 2002 at Salt Lake.
- His father is his mentor and hero.
Your down to your last mulligan, Mitt. Rich as you are, you won’t be able to buy another. You need a birdie.
Bare your soul in Tampa.
PS Mitt: Consider making this your convention theme song: