While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scored an impressive victory in Tuesday’s Florida primary, he still must present Americans with an inspiring policy platform, according to an editorial in The Wall Street Journal
“With his resounding comeback win in Florida Tuesday, what have we learned about Mitt Romney?” Journal editors ask. “He can take a punch. He’s shown the discipline, tenacity, and organization to dismantle a vulnerable opponent. What we still don’t know is whether the one-time, and now once-again, GOP front-runner can make a convincing case for his own candidacy.”
Romney must attract more Republicans and independents as supporters — and as passionate supporters, the editorial says.
“One troubling sign is that nearly 40 percent of voters in Florida’s exit poll said they would prefer that another candidate enter the race,” Journal editors write. “Mr. Romney’s largely negative campaign was able to demolish Mr. Gingrich, but it is also hurting his own favorability, especially among independents.”
In his victory speech Tuesday, Romney said Republicans will coalesce around him as a self-made businessman who can generate jobs. And he blasted Obama for his economic policy. That’s not going to cut it in the general election, the editorial states.
“Every successful presidential candidate needs two narratives that work together,” the editors write. “One is personal, a biography that builds trust among voters and explains why he is up to the job. Mr. Romney has done this well, perhaps too well, because he seems to believe that his biography is his main selling point.”
The other necessary narrative consists of ideas that are strong enough to cure the country’s ills and tap into its zeitgeist, the editorial says. “On this, Mr. Romney has far to go,” the editors write.
“His remarks in Tampa provided the outlines of a case against Mr. Obama, but they offered little to suggest how Mr. Romney would improve life for anxious Americans. They will not follow him merely because he saved the Olympics or ran a private equity firm.”
As for Newt Gingrich, he was his own worst enemy in Florida, the editorial says.
“In his fury against Mr. Romney, the speaker fired away in scattershot populist fashion, denouncing Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and other capitalist institutions in terms not all that different from Mr. Obama’s,” the editors write.
Gingrich has a superior tax plan to Romney’s, but he didn’t bother to present it in Florida, the editorial says. “The Speaker preferred to campaign against Bain Capital.”
Exit polls show that Gingrich lost big-time among voters whose No. 1 concern is the economy, and Romney was the candidate who voters said most identified with their concerns.
“When Mitt Romney out-duels you as the man with the common touch, you have a larger problem than negative TV ads.” the editorial states. “Mr. Gingrich would do better to return to the more positive vision and activist agenda he laid out in his remarks Tuesday night.
“Mr. Gingrich is vowing to fight on, and having already been counted out twice he has standing to do so,” the editors write. “He won’t have Mr. Romney’s resources, but then with so many more states in play on Super Tuesday on March 6, Mr. Romney also won’t be able to spend as much everywhere.”
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