Romney’s "Yes, But..." Strategy

Posted on September 03, 2012

With Mitt Romney there always seems to be a "but” that enters the conversation when discussing his campaign. For instance, Romney was a staunchly pro-abortion governor of Massachusetts, BUT now he's says he is pro-life. Or, on the issue of government-run health care, Romney supported forcing citizens to buy health care insurance as part Romneycare, BUT now he says the individual mandate that is the centerpiece of Obamacare must be abolished.

Whether Mr. Romney is sincere about these flips in policy positions or not is a profoundly important question. For now though we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Coming off a reasonably successful Republican National Convention, however, it strikes us as quite remarkable that Governor Romney's campaign is actually relying on what we'd call a "Yes, but . . .” strategy to win the White House. And not merely to address his inconsistent positions on hot-button controversial issues, but on the economy as well.

The sad fact is that both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan enthusiastically supported the October 2008 TARP bailout. The $700 billion dollar plus taxpayer paid-for "rescue” of financial institutions all over the world was supposed to save America from economic disaster. Republicans like Romney and Ryan insisted they had to support the bailout in order to "save capitalism.” They locked arms with Barack Obama and helped ram through one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in American history.

And the economy still tanked.

To be sure, Barack Obama's stimulus plan, Obamacare and all the other nonsense big-government boondoggles have made things worse. However, the economy was already going up in flames when Obama came in and threw a trillion dollars of taxpayer cash on the bonfire.

The plain truth is that TARP failed. And the precedent it set gave Barack Obama the political license to nationalize General Motors, seize control over the entire student loan business and introduce Americans to the wonders of crony capitalism through fraudulent companies like Solyndra.

Millions of Americans are now left asking the question, "Why should we trust Mitt Romney to turn our economy around when he, like Barack Obama, were so profoundly wrong about the TARP bailout four years ago?”

Romney's answer is to claim is that YES, the economy is terrible BUT it would have been worse without TARP. That sounds an awful lot like Obama's defense of the failed stimulus plan, doesn't it?

This, "Yes, BUT . . .” excuse is a tough sell to a family that's seen its annual income shrink and its net worth fall off a cliff. It's probably the reason Romney is locked in a political battle that resembles World War I trench warfare instead of crushing Obama by ten points in the polls.

The Romney-Ryan campaign is relying on a very dangerous strategy. It is gambling the American people will overlook their excuses for failed policies while fixating on Obama's.

To be sure, for conservatives Mitt Romney is not the most appealing candidate. His political resume reeks from spending years carrying water for the GOP establishment. BUT, he'd make a better President than Barack Obama. Romney is quite literally gambling that this tiny three letter word will be big enough to win him the Oval Office in November.