What in the World Are The Mitt Romney Folks Thinking?

“I’m tough on China…”

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, you’ve encountered my healthy skepticism of the campaign operation advising Mitt Romney. Despite his recent surge in the polls — which I view as an expected reordering reflecting the established divide in this country — nearly every decision made by the Romney campaign has been wrong. Indeed his best strategic decision was lowering the state of political discourse in the first debate and denying his own policies while dropping zingers, which was hardly a proud moment for the Republic.

Now they’ve sent out Dan Senor, their top foreign policy advisor — or at least the top foreign policy advisor who isn’t gay — to explain the strategy they intend to employ in tonight’s debate. Perhaps this is a ruse to throw off President Obama’s preparation, but that’s a decidedly bush league tactic. While I wouldn’t put it past these jokers to engage in such trifling tactics, I’m assuming they actually intend to use this strategy and want it laid out in front of the media beforehand to guarantee that the post-debate coverage focuses on Romney’s “success in executing his strategy” rather than his “failure to directly address the President.”

But this strategy is just weak sauce:

“It’s not so much point-for-point in terms of how he would handle this tactical issue versus how the president has handled that tactical issue,” he said….

To try to overcome that, Senor said, Romney plans to make his résumé as a CEO relevant, because he has a history of turning around “messy situations” and “complicated organizations.”

Yes we’ve heard a lot about his turn around work. Most of those seeking the White House while lacking foreign policy experience focus on weaknesses in the current administration and pledge that an outside perspective will solve the problem. It’s what President Reagan did by claiming that a new perspective held the answer to the Iranian hostage crisis (that new perspective was “giving the Iranians weapons” either at the time or down the road). It’s also what Barack Obama did in bashing those who supported the invasion of Iraq.

Instead, the strategy Senor outlines suggests that Romney will cede the fight over the specific strategies of the administration on Afghanistan, Libya, or Iran and instead try to build his own credibility. But why attempt to leverage his history is as a CEO in a foreign policy debate? Is the theory that voters are too stupid to understand that CEO’s of non-publicly traded companies have unilateral power over their subsidiaries while the American government is merely a powerful negotiator at the large table of foreign policy — and beset on all sides by players eager to buck America’s influence.

In Gov. Romney, you have someone who has been a chief executive of a state…

Ah that forceful state leadership that just a week ago when Romney described thusly, “I ran the — the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does.”

…who has dealt with turning around complicated issues throughout his career, both in the U.S. and around the world, whether it was failed companies, whether it was a failed U.S. Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The Winter Olympics again?!? I would have assumed this debate was all about selling Romney as someone with the qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief. Team Obama would never make this attack, but to my ear, if “I once ran a Winter Olympics” is in the first three paragraphs of your presidential resume you are unfit to be commander-in-chief.

“Gov. Romney travels around the country, goes to places like Ohio, where he meets with companies that are being set back directly because of China’s unfair trade practices and its currency manipulation, and he’s a tough, no-nonsense, competent negotiator, who’s going to put an end to this. Period,” Senor said.

…and we all look forward to hearing Romney’s detailed plan for accomplishing this. Maybe next election?

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