#Romneyfail: Yesterday I received my first piece of direct mail from the Romney campaign. As a long-time registered Democrat, I’m probably not high on their lists of target demographics, but presumably Team Romney has nearly unlimited money, and they have to win Florida.
Under the circumstances, I would expect something considerably more impressive than this rather limp and hard-to-read bifold. I’ve uploaded a scan of all four pages of the Romeny direct mail piece for those who want to see just how hard it was to read the white letters on the dark background (never a good idea IMHO), but for now I want to concentrate on just the cover image, the one to the right of this post.
A hand in the cookie jar. No doubt the idea is to sell the Republican idea of Democratic budgetary fecklessness. But I think the ad misfires on two fronts. First, this week it’s Paul Ryan who seems to have his hand in the cookie jar — both for cooking the books on this budget plan. To be fair, given the supine history of our press, Team Romney could be excused for failing to predict that arithmetic gravity would catch up with Paul Ryan, so let’s go to the other, more subtle but also more fatal way in which this ad fails.
See that hand? To me it looks like a white hand. The arm is ambiguously dark, but I at least saw it as white and shaded. The message it sends in this election when associated with an electoral mailer is that it’s Romney’s hand in the cookie jar. I don’t know if the designers of this ad even flirted with the idea of a black(er) limb, but at some point they’d stray too far into the ‘playing the race card’ territory. It would have been much smarter to use a different image.
And if you struggle through the very-hard-to-read white text on page three looking for substance of what Romney would do, it’s pretty thin gruel:
- Cap the federal budget at 20% of GDP, then even lower than that. Leaving aside what that would do to the economy stuck in a liquidity trap, is that a meaningful number to most voters?
- “Pursue” a balance budget amendment. That’s a pretty limp verb. And the idea of course is silly — what if there’s a real crisis like war or deeper Depression?
- “Repeal Obamacare”. Pity that arrived on the same day as extensive coverage of Romney’s dithering on what he plans to repeal and what he’d keep.
- “Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness”. Oh heck, we’re back to balancing the budget by eliminating ‘waste, fraud and abuse’. Not that tired line again.
I thought Team Romney was supposed to be good at management? This is not even Bush-league: both GW & GHW did it a lot better.