Here is the eighth issue of Capital Brief, from August 28, analyzing the Republican National Convention and the expectations placed on Romney.
Click below to read the Brief.
Capital Brief, n°8 – August 28, 2012
· The RNC platform is a snapshot of the current G.O.P. and the shifting currents within it. The document outlines main principals/objectives for the coming years, ideas that do not always become legislation. Some elements of the 2012 RNC platform:
o Favor economic growth, extension of Bush tax cuts; support constitutional amendmentopposing same sex marriage; opposegun control legislation and use of public funds to promote or perform abortions; tougher measures against illegal immigration; energy independence via offshore drilling, coal, and prevention of greenhouse gas regulations; prevent implementation of Obamacare
o Criticize Obama’s weak stances towards North Korea, China, Iran, and reductions in military spending; calls Republican national security strategy one that “restores as a principal objective deterrence using the full spectrum of our military capabilities”
· Hurricane Isaac delayed the start of convention activities and distracted in part from RNC news coverage.
· The RNC is the first in a series of high-stakes general election events for Mitt Romney, to be followed by three crucial presidential debates in which stellar performance is essential for him.
· For many Americans, the RNC acceptance speech is the first time they seriously looked at Romney candidacy. There was pressure on his speech to:
o Introduce Romney to the American public and reclaim and reshape a narrative about Romney that has been defined much by Obama campaign;
o Frame general election by bringing focus back on economy, outlining a clear vision for the country, and explaining how his leadership is solution;
o Move beyond calling Obama failure to prescribe specific corrective policies.
· Current electoral dynamics slightly favor Obama:
o Since summer, Obama’s relentless attacks have been effective at defining the candidate Romney – Romney’s unfavorability ratings rose steadily, and he did not narrow the gap with women, minority, and youth voters.
o Majority of Americans call Romney “too rich for too long” and see him as a symbol of corporate America/Wall Street in a climate of contempt for executive culture and excess.
o Obama maintains an Electoral College edge and is polling better in several key swing states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and especially Ohio.
Adding Paul Ryan as VP candidate has not fundamentally changed the race. His conservatism provides cover for reticent conservatives allowing them to vote Romney. He may help put his home state, Wisconsin, into play. The Romney camp hopes Ryan’s addition will take the debate from personal attacks to big issues, namely the economy. But the debate since Ryan’s introduction has not been the economy, but rather a fight over the future of Medicare (and notion that Romney/Ryan would gut it).