Romney goes negative yet again! Results? Uniformly, and across the board, negative.
The estimable Nate Nelson argues:
I agree that it’s better for Republican presidential candidates to focus on their Democratic opponents than on primary opponents from their own party. Many Republicans still believe in Reagan’s 11th Commandment and don’t like to see all the in-fighting. Moreover, this is a smart political strategy for Romney: acting like a general election candidate while he’s still a primary candidate could become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
But let’s be clear about one thing: Romney has done his fair share of mud-slinging at his fellow Republican candidates. It’s not as though he’s innocent and the rest are guilty. Moreover, other candidates, like Giuliani and McCain, have taken some serious shots at the Democratic candidates, and Fred Thompson has been almost exclusively focused on the follies of the left.
There’s another problem, as well: Romney’s not picking all of his battles wisely. Pointing out others’ executive inexperience is smart. Calling Hillary Clinton out for her socialism is brilliant. But the brouhaha over the Barack Obama sex education issue was unwise.
It was unwise because it was untrue. Barack Obama favors age appropriate sex education for kindergarteners, which means that he favors education about things like inappropriate touching. That’s information that children should have. Obama has said that it should be left to local school boards to determine what is and is not appropriate, and he has further said that parents should be able to opt out. Saying simply that Obama favors sex education for kindergarteners is dishonest, and it makes him look like a perverted ogre rather than a concerned politician.
This is a thorny issue precisely because it could be a problem for Romney, rather than Obama, when the general election comes around. Yes, right now this is winning Romney some major points among social conservatives who favor abstinence only sex education, and these are the voters who vote in primaries. But if Romney manages to win the primaries and becomes the Republican nominee, what then? Then this issue becomes less black and white, much more gray. Then Romney will have to face Americans who believe in comprehensive sex education: Democrats, yes, but also independents and Republicans who aren’t social conservatives – in other words, the voters who matter in general elections … more [Emphases ours]