One of the most frequently-deployed strategies from the Karl Rove/Frank Luntz playbooks is to ferociously attack the adversary at their strength. It appears that this is what Romney is now trying to do, as indicated by the New Hampshire launch of his campaign for the general election. As Benjy Sarlin reports at Talking Points Memo:
Romney outlined an agenda aimed at combating what he called “unfairness” in government, spinning a phrase often employed by Democrats as they make the case that wealthier Americans and corporations should pay higher taxes. Earlier Tuesday, Obama said the rich should “pay their fair share” in a speech to college students in North Carolina. While other Republicans often debate these arguments by emphasizing “opportunity,” Romney adopted the “fairness” language to criticize federal spending.
Here’s how he twists the term “unfairness” in support of right-wing policies:
“…We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
Translation: :”We will twist and distort the concept of fairness to justify bashing government workers, crushing labor unions and privatizing public schools.”
Amazing, however, that Romney dared to even mention “the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses,” which pretty much defines the core value of the GOP.
It’s the old co-opt the opponent’s most potent terminology, muddy the waters and foment confusion among low-information voters about what it means. Hard to see how it would impress many swing voters who have even a rudimentary b.s. detector.