I write this morning about the power of negative thinking and positive cash flow. In the four-and-a-half years that Mitt Romney has been running for president, I have yet to hear him present a positive idea. Instead, his operating style is to tell us why his opponent is so dreadful and assure us that he represents the opposite.
Because Newt Gingrich is the consummate insider, Mitt Romney is the unsullied outsider. Rick Santorum was Mr. Earmark; Romney stands for rectitude. Obama wants to impose “government-centered society;” Romney will offer a non-government-centered society. Once he has defined his opponent, his SuperPAC rolls out the heavy artillery and scorches the earth.
It seems to be working, as Romney is now perceived as the inevitable nominee. Yet the reluctance remains, even in his own party. To date, Romney has won over 50% of the vote in only four states – and he is running against one man (Santorum) who lost his senate seat by 700,000 votes and another (Gingrich) whose party forced him to resign as Speaker of the House.
To present a negative image of others is not enough. At some point a candidate must fill his own empty vessel with substance and augment his attack ads with ideas. After having spent millions of dollars to demonize whomever gets in his way, Romney has given us almost no idea of what he believes in or how he would decide anything should he get the office he so desperately wants.