The Romney Smear Machine in Ohio

In a way, you have to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. His record is nothing to brag about. He was the Founding Father of Obamacare, his fiscal record in MA is a mixed bag, and he’s flip flopped on nearly every issue that conservatives hold near and dear. In some ways, he’s become the GOP’s affirmative action candidate. Everyone knows he’s not at the top of the conservative class, but because he can (allegedly) attract the underrepresented independents and moderates, he is given a pass on his shortcomings and a leg up from the GOP establishment and many in the media.

And so, all eyes are turned on the battleground state of Ohio tomorrow. If you live here you, like me, you probably want to throw something every time you hear the name “Mitt Romney.” That’s because he has outspent Rick Santorum 12-1. My phone has been ringing  constantly the past week—up to 8 times a day— almost all of the calls from the Romney campaign or his superpac, Restore our Future.  The calls are nasty. Many of them start with, “I have an urgent message about Rick Santorum…” They have the feel of teenage girls gossiping about the head cheerleader at school.

The TV ads are even worse. In one, quotes from Santorum about Title X are taken out of context to give the impression his pro-life credentials are not to be trusted. This was rolled out the weekend before the primary, too late for Santorum to respond.

The ads from Camp Romney have been overwhelmingly negative attack ads against Santorum. Romney is not trying to convince us to vote for Romney—he’s trying to convince us to vote against Santorum. Judging by recent shifts in the poll numbers, it appears this vicious carpet bombing strategy is working. Yay for Romney.

I’m not sure how Romney’s defenders can defend this. To me, it is a reflection of the candidate’s character. Romney’s squeaky clean image stretches the bounds of credibility when his almost single-minded campaign strategy is to severely disparage and destroy his opponents. The ability to perform a severe character assassination is not a characteristic I’m looking for in a president. This is the domain of the Left. Our side should be better than this.

If you live in Ohio, I’m asking you to vote for Rick Santorum. Others have made the case for why Santorum is the best candidate here and here. But on the eve of the Ohio primary, as a simple matter of strategy, we must vote for Santorum to stop Romney from being the nominee. Newt has no chance of winning Ohio or any of its delegates. He hasn’t campaigned here, I haven’t received a single call from his campaign, not a single mailing, and there are no Gingrich signs in Ohio.

A vote for Gingrich is a vote for Romney. Don’t waste your vote.