Anyone who has ever worked in sales, whether retail or wholesale, has watched a competent salesperson sell nearly anything if there is something in a product to appeal to consumers. Of course, there are some consumers that can be sold lousy products if they have brand loyalty, and it is equally true in politics. That explains why Republican loyalists vote against their own best interests and it is especially true in a general election. There is a large segment of the population who will oppose President Obama based on his race, or because Republicans portray him as a foreigner transforming America into a socialist state, so they will never be sold on positive job growth or economic recovery under this President’s leadership.
However, as the President’s poll numbers are climbing, discouraged Republicans are beginning to blame the Romney campaign’s incompetence for his inability to sell himself and the Party’s agenda to usher in an era of economic prosperity. Some Republicans claim, quietly, that Romney’s inept campaign is hurting down ticket candidates, but they are missing an important point; it is not Romney’s incompetent campaign, it is the Republican agenda.
The results of a Bloomberg news poll that show Romney’s disapproval rating is higher than former president George W. Bush are an indictment of both Romney and Bush. Most Americans rightly blame Bush for the Great Recession and slow recovery from Republican economic malfeasance and policies that tanked the economy and started two Mideast wars, and his high disapproval rating (49 percent) bears that out. Romney’s unfavorable rating came in at 50 percent and his favorable rating, 43 percent, was lower than Bush’s at 46 percent and it proves that Americans are paying attention to the Romney campaign’s message that a victory in November will be a return to Bush policies that sent America into an economic spiral President Obama has turned around.
The American people may never forgive Bush-Republicans for devastating the economy, but they are aware he cannot do any more damage and at least he never openly demeaned half the population as parasites and moochers. Romney, however, contends that Americans receiving government assistance are “takers,” and Republicans have promoted that fallacy for the past two years and openly campaign on making Draconian social safety net cuts to make room for tax cuts for the wealthy. At least George W. Bush came in as a compassionate conservative, but Romney, Ryan, and Republicans have abandoned any pretense of compassion and are selling themselves as Draconian plutocrats with full support from the conservative establishment.
For nearly a year, Republican leaders in Congress bemoaned the tax burden on the wealthy and complained it is unfair that half the population is too poor to pay income taxes, so Romney’s remedy is slashing programs like Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and Veteran’s benefits while raising taxes on the poor and middle class to relieve the wealthiest 2 percent’s misery. Regardless who runs Romney’s campaign, it is impossible to sell a candidate, a party, or an agenda that is openly hostile to half the population and promises to exceed Bush’s malfeasance by not only repeating his policies, but increasing the burden on 98% of the population to reward the so-called “jobs creators.”
Compounding Romney, Ryan, and Republicans’ messaging problem is growing criticism for their assault on the least fortunate Americans whether they are unemployed Veterans, seniors, or poverty-level Americans. It is no secret that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed Republican support during the contraception mandate controversy, but he has maintained support for government programs benefiting the poor as Republicans strive to cut funding in the name of debt and deficit reduction. Dolan wrote that “while government programs provide enormous support to poor Americans, it is not enough,” and that demeaning the poor “hurts efforts to aid the least fortunate among us.” Dolan rebuked Republicans for cutting social safety nets and said “much more needs to be done. The government must continue to play its part by providing sufficient jobs for poor people to earn a decent living to support themselves, and ensure there are more resources for Americans in need.” Whether Cardinal Dolan realizes it or not, he is selling President Obama and Democrats agenda that the government has a duty to do more for the American people who need it most; not less.
There is nothing incompetent about Romney’s campaign. They are selling broken down Bush policies with the value added benefit of Draconian cuts to every program that ninety-eight percent of Americans depend on, and few are buying their austerity-to-benefit-the-wealthy and corporations pitch. Americans still disapprove of Bush’s malfeasance, but they know he cannot do any further damage to America. Romney and Ryan, however, have promised to raise taxes on the poor and middle class, provoke another Middle East war, and make Draconian cuts to social programs that would make Bush blush.
For the past year and eight months, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures assaulted the American people with cuts to safety nets and promise to decimate them more if Americans buy their rhetoric that half of the people are takers robbing the makers, and although they find party loyalists willing to support their Draconian sales pitch, most Americans are not easy marks for their bait and switch supply side economic sell. Americans fell for Bush’s hard-sell on trickle-down economic theory twice, but they are not ignorant enough to buy it again, and polls show they are not.
Romney’s campaign is doing a competent job promoting tax cuts for the rich and cuts to education, Veteran’s programs, food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare, but the people are not buying. Romney’s assertion that 47-percent of Americans are parasites was probably the only time during the campaign he has been truthful about his estimation of the American people, and coupled with his and Republican pledges to slash spending on programs Americans depend on certainly represents their best path forward. However, after eight years and a Great Recession, the last thing Americans are going to buy is a remanufactured Bush that promises to be defective and dangerous before the deal is done in November, and Romney’s flagging poll numbers prove it. If Republicans cannot learn that Americans are becoming informed consumers, and if they persist selling the same broken merchandise with a different salesman, then it does not matter how efficient they run a campaign, because the American people are not buying the rubbish Romney and Republicans are selling; especially after buying the same junk from Bush… twice.