17 Apr Karl Rove, the Election, and the Lincoln Club
Folks who follow my updates from time to time on Facebook know that Saturday evening was the 50th anniversary gala for the Lincoln Club of Orange County, a simply unbelievable organization founded 50 years ago here in the southland by such business titans as Arnold Beckman, Walter Knott, and Si Fluor. The club has a 50-year history of playing in local and state politics, and was insturmental in such historical events as the passage of Prop 13 here in California, the recall of Governor Gray Davis, and more recently, the making of the Hilary Clinton movie with Citizens United that led to the landmark Supreme Court decision. I am blessed to serve on bothe Board of Directors for the club, and its Executive Committee, and I chair the Programs Committee for the club. It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside some of the top business leaders in the county at seeking change and improvement in the political system (at a federal, state, and local level). I encourage you to learn more about the club – especially the absolutely pivotal initiative, Stop Special Interests Money Now, a measure that I truly believe represents the very last hope for the state of California.
We had Karl Rove give the keynote address Saturday evening, setting the stage for what I hope all conservaive junkies will be focused on for the rest of the year (and all God-fearing Americans as well), and that is the defeat of Barack Obama. I got to spend a fair amount of time with Karl throughout the evening, meeting him in the lobby to escort him to a VIP reception we hosted prior to the event, talking with him throughout the reception, and then sitting with him for dinner. As you can imagine, he was inundated throughout the evening with thoughtful questions, but I took away a lot from what he had to say. There was his keynote address as well, where he essentially summarized the case for why BArack Obama must be defeated, and more importantly, how he can be defeated.
Karl did not give me much privately about the Veepstakes, though he did say he fully agrees with the various lists that are floating out there (primarily featuring Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan). He said there is always the chance of a candidate no one is thinking about, but that in this case that candidate will be vetted like no one has ever been vetted. Incidentally, talk radio giant Hugh Hewitt was our emcee for the evening, and Hugh believes that Chris Christie is the overwhelming favorite to receive the nod from Romney.
Karl is beyond optimistic about our chances for defeating Obama, and I mean this in a “wink-wink-nod-nod” private handshake kind of way. He acknowledges we have a heckuva fight in front of us, but simply believes that history favors an incumbent who can not run on his own record going down in defeat. The two voting blocks that must be re-captured are those whio sat out the 2008 election, and those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 with a bit of hesitation. It is not very likely that there is a large group of McCain voters out there who will not vote for Mitt Romney this time around. Karl believes that the case for reclaiming the group who hesitantly voted for Obama in 2008 should not make the mistake of making those voters feel stupid for how they casted their vote. Rather, we simply need to give therm the basic facts. They believed they were voting for reduced deficits, reduced health care premiums, and greater stimulation of the U.S. job market. There is not an attorney in the country who can prosecute the case that Obama has succeeded in any of these areas. We already know where Obama is going with his election strategy: It will be the most intense and melodramatic plea for class envy and class warfare in the history of our country. It will generate some buzz here and there and certainly voters who are already predisposed to vote that way will be excited about his unashamed advocacy for confiscation, redistribution, and rank transfer payments as a means of generating “fairness” (note: Not growth) in the economy. The mainstream media will surely be his accomplice in portraying Gov. Romney as an ally of the rich. But to Karl, this is a matter of discipline. We must be disciplined and unrelenting in our message of fairly and accurately (and repetitively) demonstrating Obama’s record. He and I talked at dinner about the pot pourri of sound bite ads that exist from the President (his fawning over Solyndra as evidence of the success of his stimulus package, his claim that George Bush was unpatriotic for increasing the deficit a fraction of how much Obama has now moved it, his claim that if unemployment and GDP growth are still anemic after three years that he should be a one-term President, his guarantee that insurance premiums would drop 20% for a family of four by 2012 under ObamaCare, etc., etc., etc.). The list of proof for this man’s failed Presidency would crash my blog, but I am just speaking to low-hanging fruit that represent powerful commercial possibilities using the words of the President himself.
Karl wants a focus on the failures of the incumbent President, but he also is very clear in this: We can not win without a positive and optimistic message of our own. Voters can be talked into staying home by denonstrating the inadequacy of Barack Obama, but they must be convinced that the Republicans offer an improved alternative. He believes Romney is a very capable candidate to make this case. The general election is now off and running, and the key issue for the Romney campaign will be discipline: Stay on message as the candidate who represents growth, productivity, job creation, and economic progress. Avoid the traps that Obama and the media will attempt to pull him into. And let the American people know: the last four years have not worked; what we have to offer (tax reform, entitlement reform, a serious appraoch to deficit reduction, a repeal to ObamaCare, etc.) will put us on a new course that represents what the American people want from their elected leadership.
To assist in the effort of laying out the failures of the Obama administration, the American Crossroads PAC is committed to spending over $300 million to bring this case to the American people. The commercial spots they have created are powerful, hard-hitting, succinct, and brutally effective. I can not wait.
Is Karl Rove saying that we are going to win this election? Yes, he is. In fact, he is adamant about it. He respects the things that we have to deal with along the way, but he does not believe that any incumbent who has to RUN away from his signature legislative “achievements” (the stimulus and the health care act) can possibly succeed in diverting the American people’s attention away from what he has done. The incumbent has to say this: “Think about what I have done over the last four years; don’t you want me to do it for four more?”. The opponent has to say this: “Think about what he has done for the last four years; do you really want him to keep doing it for four more?”. If this campaign stays along that narrative, I agreenwith Karl Rove: The Republicans will reclaim the White House from the most radical occupant it has had in American history.