Monday, September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney Wants Lift As "Culture Warrior"

Last weekend, there was certainly plenty of political fun at Las Vegas Pride. In addition to the slew of local candidates courting LGBTQ voters, President Obama's campaign made a big splash at Vegas Pride. And especially now that Obama and the Democratic Party are fully embracing full LGBTQ equality, Pride revelers were cheering on OFA and the Democratic candidates.

@ChrisMillerNV @ClarkDems & @Berkley4Senate fired up &amp... on Twitpic

But now, it's not just Nevada LGBTQ voters embracing President Obama. In fact, one REPUBLICAN pizza parlor owner in Florida really gave Obama quite the embrace!

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“Man, are you a power lifter or what?” the president asked.

The iconic photo only shows the back of the president’s head and his arms raised in supplication, so you’re not entirely sure how he feels about it. The video shows that Obama was shocked but seemed to enjoy the ride Van Duzer gave him. The restaurant owner says he told a Secret Service agent his plans, and the agent said “I was alright as long as I didn’t take him away.”

And so he didn’t. The photo was everywhere on Twitter and Facebook Sunday night, and I struggled to figure out why –and why I had such a strong reaction to it. I literally felt for the very first time that the president would win re-election —and of course that’s irrational. But the sight of this swing-state Republican small business owner (who admittedly supports Obama) pulling the president into a gravity-defying bear hug seems to thwart the conventional wisdom that guys like [Scott] Van Duzer don’t like our first black president. It makes me feel optimistic about what I’m saying in my book: that a lot of people we’ve written off as hopelessly Republican don’t like Mitt Romney and maybe against all odds find themselves fond of the president.

[...] Coming out of his convention with a bounce, watching Romney and Paul Ryan stonewall their way through the Sunday shows without a single human moment of connection, the president has to feel good about his chances as we move into the middle of September. It’ll be a long six weeks, but this photo tells us something about why people say, despite the sluggish economy, they believe the president can relate to them better than Romney can. It will be a powerful advantage in the weeks to come.

And here, we see Mitt Romney's worst campaign nightmare coming true. In many ways, what happened yesterday in Florida was a potent visualization of the new polling data suggesting significant movement in Obama's direction after a successful Democratic Convention.

So how is Romney responding to all this? Oh, he's just dipping back into that cesspool of G-O-TEA bigotry! He tried it again at his own convention in Tampa two weeks ago, and he's doing it again this week.

Mitt Romney suggested that President Obama has taken God out of his heart during a rally in Mansfield, Ohio on Monday, telling a crowd of manufacturing workers that unlike the current occupant of the White House, he will always be guided by the Almighty. The comments appear to be a new post-convention Republican strategy to paint Obama as anti-God [...]

The former Massachusetts governor began his address by thanking the audience for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which he recalled saying himself “as a boy in fourth grade.” Then, in what is a newer section of his stump speech, Romney implied that Obama and the Democratic Party have taken God out of their governance, referring to a last minute effort —made at the request of Obama himself —to reinsert the word ‘God’ into the platform at the DNC convention.

The campaign has tried to exploit the incident, with Romney promising, on Saturday, that “I will not take God off our coins,and I will not take God out of my heart.” Last week, Paul Ryan claimed that Democrats had “purged” God from their platform, ignoring the document’s long-standing section on “Faith.”

The new attack line is also reminiscent of Romney’s charge from January —when the candidate was trying to stave off a primary challenge from Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). “Then of course there’s the assault on religion,” Romney said, describing the Obama administration’s policy expanding contraception coverage to women.

Ah, so here we are again! As we discussed last month, silence should not be confused for "softening". For quite some time, Mitt Romney and his Nevada henchmen (Dean Heller & Joe Heck) have said they "don't want to talk about social issues". Yet while they were saying that, they were actually doing something completely different.

Yet now, Mitt Romney has made a calculated move to fully embrace his role as the G-O-TEA's "Culture Warrior in Chief". Since the Republican Convention had the bounce of a lead balloon, he has to try something different to change the course of the election. And he's taking a calculated risk in embracing the standard G-O-TEA "CUL'CHUR WARZZZ!!!" playbook of focusing in on "god, guns, gays, and gynecology".

Tomorrow, Mitt Romney will be campaigning in Reno. And on Wednesday, President Obama will be campaigning in Las Vegas. And as Obama is clearly getting a lift after his uplifting convention, Romney is trying to put together a new plan to tear him down. Clearly, he thinks "TEH CUL'CHUR WARZZZ!!!" may be his last chance to do just that. He may soon be in for a very rude awakening.

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