I am infinitely more comfortable with Democrats on foreign policy and cultural issues. Watching the Democratic convention I was mostly reminded of how much the floor resembles urban centers and how much the Republican convention floor resembles rural America. Long term the Republicans are going to have to change their appeal, because the country is going to look more like the Democratic floor than the Republican floor.
But so what? We are five years into a terrible economic disaster. In the last two years the President has been unable to work with the Congress on economic policy that might matter. I know the Republicans have opposed his policies. But who created the 2010 election environment that resulted in the Republican victory?
He is the President. He is the leader. Can you have any doubt that a master politician like FDR or Reagan would have created a way to advance the ball?
President Obama signed up for creating a post-partisan environment in Washington. He did not say in 2008 that nobody could fix all the damage in just four years. And more importantly, in 2013 and 2014 Congress is going to look very much as it does now – divided and ideological. What is his plan for working with a Congress that dislikes his policies? What is to prevent the next two years looking like the last two years?
With the exception of Ted Cruz, the Democrats are better at rhetoric aimed at independents and Democrats. But what we need now is someone who can break the deadlock in Congress with a long-term fiscal deal and tax reform. The government has got to convince citizens, the markets, and companies that it can function in the limited areas where it can influence the economy. Then it mostly has to get out of the way.
Governor Romney was not specific and the President was equally non-specific. The difference is that if the President is not going to explain how he solves deadlock in Congress and provides change, why not give someone else a chance?
It is a big opportunity for Governor Romney, because unlike the pundit class I do not think the voters care about convention choreography and rhetoric five years into a horrible economy. But, I just do not understand how the Republicans can continue to fall into the Democratic traps. And the biggest trap is Governor Romney fighting on the ground the President has selected – rhetoric not specifics.
Because the President will fill in the blanks on Romney’s economic plans with winners like “take two tax cuts, rollback some regulations, and call me in the morning.” Governor Romney has got to explain how his plan differs from George W. Bush. It is pretty clear if he does, the President has no answer.
On Wall Street most of next week, so watch my social media feeds for insights from the masters of the universe.