Mitt Romney as a Brand: What Does He Stand For?

Credit: Gage Skidmore

Let’s say you have a choice between Tide and Bounty to wash your clothes. You’ve been using Tide for the past four years. It cleans your clothes well enough, but you’d like them to be even cleaner. You’d like the Tide to cost you less tax in the checkout line. You’re thinking about switching to Bounty.

The problem is this: though Tide isn’t accomplishing everything you want it to—nor everything the brand has promised it would do—Bounty has yet to prove it can step up to the plate. Bounty has only enunciated broad descriptions of how it might clean your clothes. Nothing about specific microfiber cleaning. Nothing about smelling floral or fresh. And though Bounty promises its tax will be cheaper in the check-out line, it hasn’t given you an explanation of how this will come to fruition.

So, which do you choose? Bounty or Tide?

It’s the $10,000 question. (Really. Mitt promises to pay up if I’m wrong.) There’s been a lot of debate in the country for the past year about what Mitt Romney stands for. The man himself often seems unsure when it comes to personal beliefs and takes on policy, so it’s no coincidence that the public is equally uncertain.

Nonetheless Romney has solidly worked on building himself as the Republican’s candidate to challenge Obama, and along the way, he’s convinced enough voters in 17 states and counting that he’s the man for the job.

There’s just one problem:

“The case for firing President Obama is really pretty obvious, but the case for hiring Mitt Romney is one that has yet to be made.”

That was Charlie Cook, a political analyst, quoted in a story in Monday’s Wall Street Journal about how Romney does not own the swing states he needs to win.

One constant issue with Romney’s branding throughout this campaign is that he has been unable to shed his wishy-washy persona. A great example of this is how he’s wavered on abortion.

Romney was determinedly pro-choice while governor of Massachusetts. He was quoted saying he turned pro-life while in office, being unable to come down on the side of fetal death. However, he’s also said,

“I’ve always been personally pro-life, but for me, it was a great question about whether or not government should intrude in that decision. And when I ran for office, I said I’d protect the law as it was, which is effectively a pro-choice position.”

He said the above during a 2007 GOP debate. But when he beat out moon man Newt Gingrich and handsy Herman Cain to win the Republican nomination, Romney came down on the side of abortion being equivalent to murder. Women’s choice is out the window, and Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned.

I understand changing your mind on an issue. I understand giving something deep thought, investigating it from different perspectives, and talking to friends and family to understand their thoughts on it.

And while I understand caving to political pressure and reversing your opinion on a significant, controversial topic, I don’t condone it.

If Romney wants to win over those eight swing states, he needs to shape up his game, stop speaking in vague generalizations, and be confident and consistent with his beliefs. Until the branding of Mitt Romney is clear and precise, voters are going to resist dropping Tide and walking Bounty all the way through the check-out line.

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