Rupert Murdoch has taken to Twitter this morning to offer Mitt Romney some unsolicited political advice:
@rupertmurdoch Retrospect; Conventions mixed but net big win for democrats. Michelle O and Clinton the big stars. Bill brilliant, Hillary away until 016.
@rupertmurdoch Election: Romney must draw clear line: offer specific path to restore American dream versus ugly Obama class war with jobs disappearing.
@rupertmurdoch Election: To win Romney must open big tent to sympathetic families. Stop fearing far right which has nowhere else to go. Otherwise no hope
The Fox News mogul joins a chorus of conservative voices expressing frustration with Romney’s stubborn refusal to provide details about any number of proposed policies. Every candidate likes to keep things as vague as possible, but as a reading of the Romney campaign website confirms, the man from Massachusetts takes meaningless blather to a ‘hole ‘nother level.
His Afghanistan policy, like his Iraq policy and Syria policy and Iran policy, amounts to a promise to be betterer and bestest than Obama. His economic policy is a promise to produce 12 million jobs, with little indication how that might be accomplished. On “Meet the Press” over the weekend, he accidentally stumbled into specifics on health care, promising to retain ObamaCare provisions extending parental health insurance to those 26 and younger and protecting those with pre-existing conditions, only to have his campaign release a statement a few hours later retracting every word. And he refuses to identify even one tax loophole that might be closed under his much-ballyhooed tax reform plan.
As he told a curious David Gregory on MTP, “Well, the specifics are these which is those principles I described are the heart of my policy.” I’m not sure, but I think that’s another way of saying “We’ve told you people all you need to know.”
In his tweets urging Romney to “draw clear line: offer specific path,” Murdoch hits on one probable cause for the GOP nominee’s aversion to specifics: “Stop fearing far right which has nowhere else to go.”
Romney understands that the policy specifics that would be acceptable to his party’s base would be unacceptable to the general-election voter, and vice versa. So he grimly refuses to go there, judging that the cost of silence will be lower than the cost of clarity. His entire presidential campaign has been built around the goal of establishing himself as “severely conservative,” to use his own description, and he has internalized that goal to such a degree that he simply doesn’t dare to put that reputation at risk.
The problem is, there’s no reason to believe that he would show any more independence while governing than he has in campaigning. As Grover Norquist said back in February, “We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it.”
That’s the job description that Romney is attempting to fill.
– Jay Bookman