Leading conservatives are offering blunt advice to Mitt Romney: Quit ducking details, start engaging in a real and specific war of ideas with President Barack Obama — or lose.
Here’s just a sampling of the past 24 hours:
• Rupert Murdoch, the most powerful voice in conservative media with The Wall Street Journal and Fox News under his control, said on Twitter that “Romney must draw clear line: offer specific path to restore American dream…To win, Romney must open big tent to sympathetic families. Stop fearing far right, which has nowhere else to go.”
• The Wall Street Journal editorial page, playing off Romney’s confusing answer about what if any parts of “Obamacare” he would retain as president: “Mr. Romney’s pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies. As this flap shows, such vagueness carries its own political risks.”
• In an open letter to Romney posted on the Weekly Standard, a publication hard-wired into the Paul Ryan operation, Peter Hansen wrote: “The assertion that you are more competent than President Obama strikes many people as merely that — an assertion. It would be supported by your speaking in more detail about a range of financial issues.
“It is still possible to convince voters that you will do a better job with the economy than President Obama has, but telling people you’re better qualified isn’t enough. To some extent, as writers are often told, you need to show it, not tell it.”
•Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), told The New York Times: “It is always difficult to run against a sitting president, but he does need to be clearer about what his vision is and what he would do. People are ready to vote against Obama, but Romney has not yet sold the deal. Now is the time to do that.”