Just Go Away Romney

by Frank Heleniak

Widener University American Government Student

Before the election Mitt Romney was “the man,” “America’s comeback team,” and the next president. The GOP suddenly and blindly stood behind their candidate as the answer to the Obama question. Well now they just want him to go away. Post-Election sounds like the primaries all over again. Republican strategists will liken Romney to that of McCain who never established a strong foothold in the party and not seen by Republicans as one of their own. So why did those who did vote Romney ever vote for him in the first place?

Maybe 2012 wasn’t much unlike 2008. Another lame duck candidate? Or that the GOP is at fault and is too extreme and needs to change? Honestly, I think the real issue might be the general Republicans. It’s fair to say the Rs threw away the election in 2008. So 2012 could have been different, instead we allowed the candidates to destroy each other giving fuel for the Democrats. I’m sure some of the moderates like myself even hated the idea of voting for Romney then come election time offered our full support. That’s why it’ll be so easy to forget this election and Romney. Does the GOP need to rethink strategy and campaigning? Sure. But without regular Republicans demanding more from the party itself, the presidency is going to stay blue.

Romney’s Loss?

by Bridget Hicks

Widener University American Government Student

Election day is tomorrow and voters seem to be siding with President Obama, at least on the east coast. In the aftermath of Sandy’s tragic visit, Obama seems to be the only feasible candidate for to help the country. After the hurricane, the east coast, especially in my home state of New Jersey, was devastated. How is it possible for Governor Christy to spearhead the state’s recovery alone?

Obama paid a visit to the places destroyed by Hurricane Sandy to present his support for the recovery of the towns and people who were distraught by this storm. He came to lend a helping hand to Governor Christy. Where was the other candidate? Where was Governor Romney?

Romney is staying strong with his word. Romney supports more state power, with smaller federal government power. He believes the states should be in charge of disaster recovery. As an in-land resident of New Jersey I was fortunate not to experience the complete and utter destruction in the coastal areas. However, my home, as well as others around me, also experienced destruction. Seeing President Obama going around to New Jersey citizens and offering his support was comforting. Obama is someone I would want to see leading the country. He is a man who is here to help in times of need and does not just assume his role to give states powers that he should also take responsibility for. With the election so close, this trip to New Jersey for Obama was a huge help not only to gain support from the people of the east coast but everywhere. When people hear of this, they think “what would I expect if I were in that situation?” They would want a president who is there for them and ready to come help. Romney seriously damaged his campaign by not coming over to the east coast and acknowledging this disaster while Obama capitalized on this opportunity.

The Impact of Images in 2012 Presidential Advertising

by Amanda Raimer

Widener University American Government Student

A New York Times article, “Images, Themes and Props in Presidential Campaign Ads”, listed statistics about the kinds of subjects that were contained in the different ads for each party and how they were used in the ads. While many of the statistics were similar between the parties, there were a few that were glaringly different. For instance, only 1% of Obama’s campaign ads show “tears or visually sad” subjects, while 21% of Romney’s ads focused on this pertaining mostly to unemployment and taxes. This makes sense in that Obama is attempting to focus on the positive parts of his past four years and reminding people of their hardships will remind them that it was under during his presidency that these things happened; Romney is using these hardships against Obama to convince voters they don’t want another four years like the past four.

Another drastic difference showed in the number of ads that focused on the elderly, with Obama having 38 ads and Romney only having two. I thought this was interesting because senior citizens are normally thought to be majority Republicans, so then why didn’t seniors appear in more of those ads? It is possible that the Romney campaign believes they have already secured the vote of the elderly and don’t want to waste money, but the Obama campaign is trying to sway more elderly to vote Democrat and so includes more seniors in their ads so that this population feels included under the Obama administration.

One statistic that I thought was interesting was that Obama not only used the American flag in his ads 5 times as much as Romney, but he also made the flag appear in a positive light, while Romney sometimes showed the flag as damaged or burning. In this case I think that Obama has the right idea on this strategy. Romney is trying to show that under Obama we are not safe and the country is disintegrating, but at the same time he should try to also use the flag in a positive light while talking about the American future under his presidency. I feel like positive and progressive outlooks are more effective than just looking at the past and only talking about what went wrong in the past.

Overall these statistics showed me how the candidates use different subjects to evoke certain emotions in their audiences. Even the same subject matter can be utilized to provoke very different reactions depending on the context. This article gave me insight into what the candidates are most concerned about and their strategies for dealing with those issues.

Romney Didn’t Watch Democratic Convention Either

by Frank Heleniak

Widener University American Government Student

As I’m sure is the case with many students around the US right now, many professors/teachers have harped on their students to watch both the Republican and Democratic conventions – especially to the speeches of the two candidates. Instantly the thought of bypassing both broadcasts popped into my head, and apparently Republican candidate Mitt Romney agreed with me. He claimed to not watch the DNC either.

As a 20 year old Engineering student, maybe my main reason for not watching President Obama’s speech is because I (and maybe the country) would be better off finishing homework and reports. However it could also be my preconceived notion of endless rhetoric from the President over the last four years and that creates a bond between myself and Presidential hopeful Romney. The Republican nominee cites another series of “new promises that [President Obama] is not going to keep” as his main reason for not watching the President’s speech, that Romney “saw the promises the last time.”

My opinion on the President aside, at first glance this doesn’t seem tremendously intelligent. If I was going up against anyone, I’d like to have as much information on them as possible. But maybe there is more to his public announcement. It very well could be a ploy to appeal to conservatives as a stance of action against the President’s “promises he did not keep.” For Mitt’s sake, hopefully a lot of voters on the bubble followed his example.

3 Keys to the 2012 Republican Convention

Three things to watch form at the GOP Convention this week:

1) Rebranding Romney

2) The Tone of the Convention

3) The Future Stars of the GOP – a number of governors are among the list of up and coming leaders of the party that will address the Convention: Chris Christie (NJ), Susana Martinez (NM), Bob McDonnell (VA), Scott Walker (WI), Nikki Haley (SC) and Bobby Jindal (LA).

Special thanks to Allyson Roberts of the Widener PR Department

Romney’s Leadership Potential: Allow Strengths to Outweigh Weaknesses

by Craig Ricks

Widener University Class of 2012

Editor’s Note: In the following series of posts students will discuss Mitt Romney’s leadership qualities based on Fred Greenstein’s The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney is just months away from officially being announced as the Republican presidential nominee.  If he were to win the election in November, what type of president and how effective would he be?  Based on Fred I. Greenstein’s characteristics outlined in The Presidential Difference, Romney’s potential can be evaluated.

Greenstein’s first quality is a president’s public communication skills.  Romney is a very elegant public speaker, which he can use to his advantage.  He carries with him a spirited sense of confidence and seems to know what to say at any given moment.  To his disadvantage, however, is the fact that he often has trouble relating to people of the middle and lower classes.  If he can find a way to better relate to these members of society, he will have no weakness in the public arena.  The second key presidential quality is organizational capacity.  When the 2002 Winter Olympics were in jeopardy of being moved from Salt Lake City, Utah, Romney was appointed to take over control of the reigns.  Facing a steep budget deficit for the games, Romney managed to turn the program around.  He changed the leadership and policies of the organization, reduced the budget, and increased fund raising.  His ability to take a damaged program in jeopardy of relocation and turn it around perfectly displays his organizational capacity.

The third and fourth qualities for a successful leader are the president’s political skill and his ability to use that skill to achieve his vision.  While Romney is an above average political operator, as displayed by his ability to lobby Congress for funds for the 2002 Winter Olympics, he lacks a real vision.  Throughout his political career, Romney has flip-flopped on policies because it was the best political move.  If he had a true vision, he would stick to the same policy, but try to convince others that his ideas were for the betterment of everyone.  One example of Romney holding a contradictory position is with respect to universal health care.  As governor of Massachusetts, he set up a universal program for the state; he also opposed President Obama’s universal plan for the country.  His argument was that it was right for his state, but it is not the right move at the national level.

The fifth quality is the cognitive style of the president.  Romney is a very intelligent person, and should be able to use this to weigh any information and ideas given to him.  He displayed his superb cognitive abilities in handling the 2002 Winter Olympics situation.  Along with his organizational skills, this should prove to be Romney’s greatest strength.  The president’s emotional intelligence is Greenstein’s final quality to assess presidential leadership.  Romney appears to be below average in this category, however.  As mentioned previously, he has trouble communicating and relating to the middle and lower class, on both a fiscal and emotional level.

Like each of the president’s Greenstein studied, Romney displays strengths in some of these qualities and weaknesses in others.  If he can use his strengths to compensate in other areas he is lacking, he will be able to lead the country successfully, if he is elected.  However, if he allows his weaknesses to get the better of him, his possible presidency could be tarnished.

Avoiding W to Get the W

by John Vuotto

Widener University Political Science Major

In politics it is not uncommon for a candidate to try to associate him or herself with prestigious members of their party. This happened in 2008 when comparisons were made between, then, Senator Obama and President John F. Kennedy. Former President, Bill Clinton, also accompanied Senator Obama at points in the campaign.

There was also a very clear negative association game played by the Obama administration. They successfully made John McCain out to look like a 3rd term for President George W. Bush.

That negative association with George W. Bush seems to have carried over into 2012. Throughout the Republican presidential primaries, the candidates have tried to make themselves look like the most conservative candidate. Often, the candidates mention the name of one of the most popular Republican presidents in recent time; Ronald Reagan. The numerous candidates, especially Newt Gingrich, have mentioned Reagan several times during the debates.

While the attempted association with Reagan remains popular, there has been little, if any, mention of George W. Bush. The Bush presidency was no doubt controversial but it is strange that a former Republican President who served two terms has not had more influence in the current race. It seems the candidates are trying to avoid any association with Bush because his name still turns a lot of potential voters off, especially moderates and Independents.