I had a professor tell me once that if you can dictate the terms of the argument, you should always win.
In other words, if you can determine what “winning” the argument is, then you ought to set it up to most favor your presentation of the facts.
That means even without changing any of the facts in the case, you can manipulate the narrative to your advantage.
Politics is a never-ending case study in just why this holds true and right now, that’s bad news for conservatives.
It’s going to take a Herculean effort from the GOP and Mitt Romney to wrest control of the political argument from Barack Obama and the liberal media.
If you were to take the facts about the economy, the runaway spending and reckless foreign policies of this administration, Barack Obama would have no chance in November.
But there’s no such thing as objectivity in politics.
The President, particularly this one, has such a massive advantage when it comes to the media narrative because he has the built up credibility of his office, plus the eternal love of his liberal cronies in movies, music and MSNBC.
David Letterman isn’t going to ask Brian Williams what else Mitt Romney has to do to prove himself. As simple as that seems, there’s a stacking effect to all of this.
We’ll hear it constantly from now until November, why we’re racist if we don’t vote for Obama, or how we love rich people or corporations or bigotry.
None of it has anything to do with how good a president Barack Obama has been or how good Mitt Romney would potentially be.
It’s all about secondary narratives, about framing the argument.
Obama, as the leader of the
socialist Democrat party, has set the argument on his terms. Obama wants this to be about which guy you like better and which guy you’d rather be.
Our soon-t0-be-former president is charismatic, funny, charming and bright.
That’s great if you’re looking for someone to marry your daughter, but when it comes to being qualified to lead the free world, Obama has failed over and over.
Unfortunately for Romney, he may be in a lose-lose situation. His best strategy all along has been to refrain from getting in a tit-for-tat with Obama over these tangential issues, choosing to instead hammer home the economic issues that plague this country.
But after a while, Romney becomes the doom and gloom candidate which has consistently failed as a strategy among modern presidential campaigns.
What the campaign will have to do is focus on the strengths of Romney through the lens of some of these issues.
For instance, rather than coming out and making your own declarations about gay marriage, talk about the strength of his marriage to his wife and the love he has for his children.
It’s harder to pin a word like “bigot” to Romney if the majority of the country sees him as a devoting husband and loving father.
Rather than defending his record at Bain, choose a private equity firm with a conscience (they do exist) and tout the laurels of capitalism as it relates to social justice.
Instead of repeating that you “won’t apologize for success,” remind people that you’ve donated millions to charity, that you want to lower taxes so other people can choose to put their own money to specific use rather than having it siphoned by the government.
Romney and the GOP may be fighting a losing battle trying to dominate the national presidential narrative, but they can at least control how their candidate is being framed.
Given the way the country feels about the president, that seems like it should be good enough.