After weathering runs by almost every candidate in the field it appears Mitt Romney has finally collected the GOP nod to be the presidential candidate. The picture finally cleared completely when Rick Santorum suspended his campaign.
Romney has been bloodied by his Republican opponents. He has been painted as a Massachusettes moderate who is not much better than Obama. His signing of Romneycare as governor has been used as a bludgeon to drive home the point.
Populist pounding reminiscent of The Palin has been launched at Romney. He has been lambasted for being successful financially by those on the left and the right.
Of course there is the LDS issue lurking in the background as well. Nobody will come out and say it but that may be more of an albatross around Romney's neck than any minority issue out there.
Did the GOP make a mistake? It is hard to believe that. Rick Santorum leading the ticket would have been a disaster. He occasionally makes The Palin look like a genius.
So how does the GOP make a run at Obama?
There are a lot of factors that are out of both parties' control. The state of the economy over the next 6 months will shift voters. There is not much Obama can do modify that course at this point. There is a lot both candidates can do with rhetoric as the days pass by.
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision on Obamacare may cause a shift as well. Polls show the country is divided on the law. Part of that may be because all of the beneficial aspects to people were front loaded and the pain put off until well after an Obama presidency.
The battle for votes will be determined on how Romney and Obama react to the SCOTUS decision. Romney has to figure out a way to explain how what he did in Massachusetts is significantly different. It is the only way he will be able to use the law to his electoral advantage.
Obama has already made it clear he is planning a class warfare attack. He is out pushing the idea of taxing people making a million dollars a year. You can bet the target of the rhetoric is Romney who is the wealthiest presidential candidate in recent memory.
There has to be an electoral strategy at play. Romney needs to win the states that have been battlegrounds. That means Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He needs to figure out a way to reclaim North Carolina and Virginia. He may even see if he can pull a coup in the Northeast somewhere.
Romney has to take the next few months to circle the wagons with other Republicans. He needs the assorted intellectually challenged members of the party from The Palin to Santorum to keep the base activated. Without that base some of the safe red states in the South could be come vulnerable.
Vice presidential candidates do not make or break a campaign but the choice here is important. One goal should be to look for an electoral prize. The other major goal should be to find someone who can be an attack dog.
The biggest prize out there that Romney needs is Florida. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) should get strong consideration. He is a tea party favorite who actually has an IQ over 100. In addition, he would help bridge the gap with the conservatives disaffected by Romney.
Recent polls show Obama has a 19 point lead with women. Romney has to figure out a way to close that gap. The Democrat rhetoric about a "war on women" has been effective and must be answered. This is where answering the false endorsement of the strategy by the left wing media has to be done. Few have been successful but it is easier in 2011.
Recent attacks on Anne Romney by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen have not received the attention they deserve. The incident did however put Obama on the defensive. Fumbles like this need to be capitalized on to show where the real war is being waged on the women who choose to make family a priority.
Every American wants to be successful but for some reason the Democrats have been effective at demonizing success. Romney has to somehow convince the country that being successful is not a bad thing. It may be a hard sell when many people in his party seem to married to the idea of putting the guy next door in the White House instead of someone with special talents.
It is sad but the biggest issues for Romney is he needs to find his inner rock star. We live in a nation that runs on populist drivel. we saw it in Alaska with The Palin and "Take A Stand." We saw it nationally with "Hope and Change."
Romney cannot win a presidential race on the merits of his arguments. This is reality. Can he win at all? Probably not but he is no John McCain. This time there really is a difference. Even Obama knows it.