NEWS BLOG (WSAU) The rule of thumb in boxing is that to become the new champion, you have to knock out the current champion. The challenger isn’t supposed to win on points. If you have a draw, the champ retains the title.
Same thing in politics, where the most difficult thing to do is to beat an incumbent.
When a challenger has a chance to win – they have to throw a haymaker.
That’s why I’d advise against Mitt Romney’s debate strategy last night. Look presidential, don’t appear angry, avoid risks, no cheap shots. (And apparently Youtube videos and real-time intelligence about Bengazi was considered a cheap shot.)
Romney has momentum, no question. Whether he has a lead is debatable. I don’t think he does. His strategists believe the drifting, coasting course of the campaign flows towards their side. Maybe. Two more weeks riding the slow currant we’ve seen in October would bring battleground states into Romney’s column. Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia have already drifted there. If the narrative doesn’t change, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada may follow – and with it, the election.
But what if the daily tracking polls are stuck, and perhaps shift back a point or two? If Rasmussen and Gallop are +2 or +3 Romney on Election Day, momentum will have stopped or reversed. Ohio would not happen. Obama would hold on.
The Romney strategy sees the campaign as an ocean liner… hard to turn, stop or steer. And they believe the ship is heading to their port. But what if the final two weeks is more like a speedboat? They will have squandered a change where an incumbent president would have had to defend a weak foreign policy. It’s a risky strategy that I couldn’t endorse.