From “GOP to Mitt Romney: You’re so vague,” Jim VandeHei and Alexander Burns, Politico:
“Leading conservatives are offering blunt advice to Mitt Romney: Quite ducking details, start engaging in a real and specific war of ideas with President Barack Obama — or lose.
[The story then quotes conservatives like Rupert Murdoch, Trent Lott, Laura Ingraham, the WSJ editorial page, Alex Castellanos, Mike Murphy, Bill Kristol, William McGurn, Jonah Goldberg, and George Pataki, all from the last 24 hours.]
“This is not a new concern: Before Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, many of the same conservatives were lamenting the Romney strategy of showing very little leg when it comes to his policy plans…. The selection of Ryan, many of these conservatives assumed, meant Romney was prepared to scrap that plan and engage in an authentic, if high-risk, war of ideas. They assumed wrong.
“Romney, according to people who have discussed the issue with him, did not pick Ryan because he suddenly changed his mind about the strategic risk of detailing his ideas. Instead, it was personal chemistry first and a belief that Ryan would be instrumental in a governing context second that ultimately sealed the deal. Still, that didn’t keep conservatives from hoping otherwise — and Romney and Ryan from sending mixed signals about their intentions to go all-in on policy debates, especially on restructuring Medicare. Initially, they promised a campaign of bold choices and substance. Since then, the campaign has very much settled into a pre-Ryan mind-set.
“Why such reticence to go specific? Top campaign officials have explained it this way: In the modern political and media culture, with every day dominated by one side doing a better job than the other of pouncing on facts or, more often, on plausibly defensible distortions or lies, specificity is merely ammunition for the other guys.
“Moreover, the officials believe voters are moved by big ideas — a bad economy or impulse for change. The Romney theory of the case for winning rests on voters turning against Obama because of the economy and then ultimately warming to Romney because they see him as a better-than-even bet to improve it.
“In this context, a full-throated engagement on the laurels of injecting private competition into the existing Medicare system or detailing the loopholes to be eliminated to finance broad-based tax reductions for the middle class are a distraction — not a political asset.
“It’s not clear the pressure from the leading voices on the right will do anything to change this.” Emphasis added.
Don’t listen to them, Mittens. You just keep doing what you’re doing.