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September 10th, 2012

Campaigns Enter The Final Stretch

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Written by: Craig Robinson

Labor Day typically marks the time when more and more voters begin to engage in political campaigns.  The Republican and Democrat conventions have also helped amp up the presidential campaign as it enters its final phase.  A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.  Below are a number of thoughts that are bouncing around in my head that don’t quite warrant a stand-alone article.

Why Republicans Should Be Optimistic After Their Convention

The Republican National Convention was impressive, especially when you consider that Hurricane Isaac caused the first day to be cancelled.  Even though the Republican nominee didn’t light the place on fire with his remarks, the convention showcased an impressive group of future Republican leaders.  The future of the Republican Party is bright, with a number of people ready to run for national office.

Why Democrats Should Be Optimistic After Their Convention

The Democrat National Convention provided better stagecraft and featured greater enthusiasm for its nominee.  From the first night of the Democrat convention, it was apparent that the goal was to fire up the Democrat base.  Gay marriage and abortion rights were the most discussed topics.  Only the speeches by the First Lady, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Biden, and President Obama were designed to appeal to a wide cross-section of voters.  Democrats have to love the enthusiasm that came out of their convention.

Which Convention Scored Better With Undecided Voters?

If a truly undecided voter objectively watched both conventions, I think they would tend to have a more favorable opinion of Romney and the Republicans than President Obama and the Democrats.  The main reason is because the Democrats spent most of their time talking about divisive issues like abortion and gay marriage, while the Republicans spent most of their time talking about the proper role of government and spending.

Before you celebrate by high-fiving a fellow Republican, most people are not truly undecided.  In fact, the undecided voters that could decide the race probably didn’t tune into either convention.

Could the National Debt and Spending Be a Losing Issue?

I’m beginning to fear the national debt is a losing issue for Romney and the Republicans.  Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not important.  It also doesn’t mean that we should ignore the issue either.  Romney and Republicans are asking voters to oust the sitting administration because they are plunging the nation into debt like never before.

Former President Bill Clinton did a masterful spin job in his convention speech pinning the debt on Republicans, who according to him, got the U.S. involved in two wars, enacted tax cuts, and created a new prescription drug entitlement.  Clinton conveniently forgot that Democrats joined Republicans in authorizing the Iraq invasion.  He also didn’t mention that President Obama signed the extension of the Bush tax cuts into law.  And, in regards to Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, Clinton praised President Obama for making the program larger and more expensive in a recent ad.  So much for being the party of fiscal responsibility.

It’s not Clinton’s spin that has me worried heading into Election Day, it’s the fact that Americans are not troubled by debt like they should be.  Sadly, many Americans live beyond their means through the use of credit cards, which is exactly what our federal government is doing.

Being fiscally responsible isn’t quite as exciting as making a big purchase like a massive TV or new vehicle.  President Obama went on a spending spree and has racked up $5 trillion in new debt in his first term.  The scary thing is that his biggest purchase, Obamacare, is one of those no interest, no payment until January of 2014 kind of deals.

It seems to me that things will have to get really bad before Americans will wake up to our debt crisis.  If voters ignore the debt crisis like many ignore their personal debt, the Romney campaign isn’t offering much else to voters.  Romney has come under attack for not mentioning the troops in his convention speech.  We already know that he’s not one to fight on social issues.  And for the first time that I can remember, we are not even talking about Supreme Court appointments.

Romney Campaign Finally Ventures to Northwest Iowa

Romney’s visit to northwest Iowa last week was a welcomed sign.  Ever since securing the nominating, Romney has spent most of his time visiting either Polk or Scott County.  Both areas are places where Romney needs to do well in if he’s going to carry Iowa, but when President Obama is visiting places like Marshalltown, Oskaloosa, and Ames, Romney needed to get off of Interstate 80.

President Obama’s multiday campaigning in Iowa means that he has made himself very accessible to voters.  In a state where people are used to seeing the candidates in person due to the caucuses, Romney now needs to make himself equally available.  There is no reason why Romney can’t visit places like Waterloo, Dubuque, and smaller communities.  Not only would visits across the state help Romney reach out to voters, but it would also help local congressional candidates and other local candidates.

As the Battlegrounds Shrink, Things Get Better For Obama

Public Policy Polling is out with its latest poll in Ohio, which shows President Obama with a five-point lead.  Ohio has proved to be a difficult state for Romney, and if Ohio continues to trend towards Obama, the path to 270 electoral votes gets much more difficult.  This is why Obama’s barnstorming of Iowa is smart strategy.  If Ohio is off the board for the Romney campaign, it means that states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin become critical.

A Lesson Learned

During the Republican primary, the media and some Republicans were critical of Rick Santorum for being an outspoken social conservative.  The “conventional wisdom” suggested that discussion of topics like religious freedom, abortion, and other family issues played right into the hands on Democrats.  On the other hand, Mitt Romney was lauded for his discipline in avoiding those issues.

Romney’s avoidance of social issues in the primary hasn’t stopped Democrats from painting him as some social conservative warrior.  It doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate, Democrats will always cast the Republican candidate as anti-woman.

The mistake Romney made was avoiding those issues in the primary.  Doing so has left some social conservatives less than motivated when it comes to the Republican nominee.



About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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