This election is about credibility, not likeability. And tonight nearly 60 million Americans are predicted to huddle around their TV sets with high expectations as they watch President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney’s first presidential face-off addressing the fiscal crisis in which America finds itself.
There is no doubt, tonight’s debate can make or break either candidate’s chance of winning this election. With the latest Rasmussen poll showing a mere one percent divide of support among nationwide voters, the time is now for the candidates to clearly communicate their differences. For most voters, the economy is the top concern in this election. So, if either candidate can articulate their plan to fiscal recovery, tonight would be the moment to sell it to the American people.
Tonight is Mitt Romney’s chance to shine by outlining his plan to get America working again, but to do so he must be specific. It isn’t enough to use vague talk in a debate. Reality is more important than rhetoric at this point. The country’s future is not looking bright, and families all across the country who are struggling to make ends meet want solid solutions, not empty promises. The average annual income in the U.S. has declined for four consecutive years, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 12.5 million people are out of work.
Gov. Romney has said he plans to create 12 million jobs, but hasfailed to concisely present his creation strategy. The former Massachusetts governor’s campaign site states, “Mitt Romney will rebuild the foundations of the American economy on the principles of free enterprise, hard work, and innovation.” Those are admirable goals, Governor, but what Americans need to know is exactly how you will put those plans into action.
American families, and especially women, understand what it means to cut, cap and balance a budget better than any CEO from a Fortune 500 company. Women hold the purse strings of this country and fully understand that a household whose annual salary is $55,000 cannot spend $155,000. In these terms, Romney must explain why the President cannot continue increasing national spending faster than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) without raising taxes and devastating the economy’s growth.
With a goal to convert Obama supporters, undecided and independent voters, it’s critical for Romney to preach to his own choir. In other words, Romney must convince the untapped 30 million Christian women conservatives who typically do not vote in any given election that his plans are vital and it is necessary that they register and vote on Election Day. If Romney successfully engages these conservative women voters, we will see a ground-swell of the silent majority forming lines outside polling centers on November 6 similar to the Chick-fil-A masses of August 1. If so, Romney will win. If not, then he will clearly lose, because let’s face it if this comes down to just likability, he is toast.
For President Obama to win, he needs to be honest with himself and his voters. Conniving campaign ads like, “Vote Like Your Lady Parts Depend On It” (classy) are no longer sufficient to appeal to women voters . Women are multifaceted, multi-issue voters, and the one-sided messaging approach of “bikini area” issues, insults rather than engages the female voter. His actions have spoken louder than his words. In total, student loan debt is approaching $1 trillion dollars and millions of college graduates are saddled with unplayable debt as they search for jobs that no longer exist.
It won’t be enough for Team Obama to garner votes with empty promises of debt-free college educations, job creation and, apparently, free cell phones. With the harsh realities of today, voters crave authenticity from national leadership.
The candidates’ words tonight and their actions in the upcoming weeks must sell themselves to their voter base. At the same time, voters must arm themselves with facts as they head to the voting booths. What voters do in the next four weeks will have a major impact on the future of our country. In order for voters to make a difference for themselves, their families, and their country, they must understand the issues and vote.
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