Even though we are sheltered here in a state that bleeds red, Mitt Romney is in what appears to be a losing battle for his bid at the Presidency, and, in the eyes of most Republicans, the GOP presidential candidate has disappointed. After feebly responding to charges that he’s a factory-closing, job-outsourcing and maybe even tax-evading plutocrat, Romney has simply missed the opportunity to make the American people like him, particularly since the surfacing of the "secret video".
That leaves only a very few options left for Romney if he wants to win over distrustful swing-state voters in the remaining days of the campaign. Wednesday night is the first debate between our illustrious Presidential candidates, and Mr. Romney, this is your chance to set us straight - your chance to overcome a 4 percentage-point advantage. With less than 10 percent of voters saying they are undecided, you, Mr. Romney have a big challenge, so if I were your campaign manager, here, for what it's worth, would be my advice:
10. Yeah, you have bank accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens, but so do many other American companies because the corporate tax rate, which Obama refuses to reduce, is so high - now 35 percent. I read in a Fox News story that 30 of the world’s leading developed countries, which were looking to boost their economies, have cut their business tax rates. Tell us that you would fight to drop that rate and how much money that would bring back to America as a result.
9. You really blew it with the 47% comment, so own it. Tell us exactly what you meant when you said it. I know I personally don't think you meant it like it came out, did you? Explain how so many Americans pay no taxes and what you would do to address the issue. (Maybe it's a $5 a year tax that everyone must pay - no exceptions - that would help address entitlement!)
8. Bravely address your own tax issues. Don't mince words about the amount of taxes you have paid. Remind people that in order to accomplish your tax rate of 15%, you had to establish and build a multi-billion dollar private equity firm, invest (which by the way, had the same risk of loss that all of us face when investing) in order to qualify to pay capital gains tax instead of ordinary income tax, and, give millions to charity. You gave $4,020,772 to charity in 2011. We need people like you who care about various charities to donate the funds to build our hospital wings, our centers for the arts, housing for the poor and I could go on and on. Really? Let's not take this away!
7. Prioritize your goals. No one can successfully work on more than two to three goals at one time. So make a stand. What, Mr. Businessman, given your experience, would be the first things you would tackle? Help us understand that fixing our country's deep seeded issues will be a process and, akin to eating an elephant, we must do it one bite at a time. Lay out that strategy for us, sharing your plans to tackle the issues over the next years.
6. Reopen the war over your business career and try to reverse the attacks Democrats ran against you. Go back to your message of being an astute and successful business man. Don't back down from this! What happened to your commitment to this strategy? Stand on your business experience. You've flourished at turning around businesses and turning around bankrupt companies. I have to say, if my company was facing bankruptcy, like our country is, I'd sure call on your expertise before I'd contact the President. Use your business experience as the template for change.
5. If you can't fix it, feature it. Yes, you were born into a family of priveledge, but unlike many second generations born into wealth, you worked hard, made your own way, didn't rest on your proverbial rich laurels, and co-founded a very successful business. Free enterprise is the backbone of your campaign. Remind us that it worked for you. You have said, "I have inherited nothing." Add to that, "But look where I am today because I worked for this!"
4. Admit that you live a different life than most of us (but then so do the Obamas!). Tell us you understand that you have had the ability to provide opportunities for your family in a way that only the top one percent of our population is able to manage, however, tell us that you want this for everyone in our country. You've experienced that rise to the top and your passion about sustaining that opportunity for all Americans is paramount to you.
3. Remind us that "hope and change" have turned into disappointment, anger, distress, and, for many, real pain. Hope has turned into hopelessness for some. Minorities have suffered a loss of wealth during recent housing crash and economic downturn. Young college graduates face low employment, burdensome student loan debts, coupled with little hope of reaching a higher standard of living than their parents. Spell out your strategy to once again provide hope for Americans of all socio-economic levels. Make us feel like you do care. Be specific! Obama told us he'd keep unemployment below eight percent - where are we today? Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job. Are we better off today than we were four years ago?
2. Be a man and suck it up and tell the American people that pain in unavoidable. We will all, not just the uber wealthy, be required to make some sacrifices for the good of the country. We know, deep down, that the status quo can't continue if our country is going to survive and flourish. Lead us. Show us and convince us that you have a specific, long range plan that will start us on the road to recovery and begin to get us out of the enormous debt. Give us the simple bullet points that you have put together to start us on that road. Keep telling us that it will be a long trip down that road, but dangle that carrot of success before us at all times.
1. Tell us the truth! Stand up and admit that the country is in such a mess you can't fix it alone. Admit it. We all know how bad things are - don't make us feel stupid. The job of turning around an enormous national debt is going to take persuading both sides of the aisle. Tell us about examples when you were able to pursuade during your business experience. You said, way back in 2008, "Well, you know, what’s this guy (running for President) going to do for me? What’s the concrete thing?" So, really, Mr. Romney, give us the real bullets (and don't make us go to your website!) but tell us that you realize that you can't do something for everyone. At least at least not today. The plan is to do something for everyone in time.
Angie Bado is founder, owner and publisher of TownSquareBuzz.com. Follow her on Facebook