Avlon: Devil is in the details for Romney campaign
June 22nd, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Avlon: Devil is in the details for Romney campaign

In the wake of President Obama's immigration policy announcement, Mitt Romney delivered a speech yesterday to a group of Hispanic elected officials from around the country that was long on platitudes, broad thematic arguments, and attacks on the president, but short on specific policy details.

In his latest column for the Daily Beast, John Avlon digs deeper into why less is more when it comes to details and factual arguments in Romney's speeches and statements during the campaign.

John Avlon is also a CNN contributor and member of the OutFront political strike team.

Policy Black Hole: Mitt Romney Keeps His Ideas To Himself

Welcome to the policy-free presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney has learned from experience that policy specifics can cause political headaches. That’s why Romney has been mealy-mouthed about President Obama’s executive action on immigration that effectively implements a modified version of the DREAM Act, sidestepping the issue again in his speech to Latino elected officials in Orlando on Thursday.

The speech was elegant but evasive, inclusive in tone but inconclusive in terms of actual policy. When it came time to comment on the DREAM Act move by the Obama administration—a policy that Romney pledged to veto in the primaries—here is what he said: “Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure.”

That means precisely nothing. It gives the impression that Romney backs comprehensive immigration reform, which he criticizes President Obama for not advancing. But of course Romney intensely opposed the bipartisan McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration bill backed by President Bush in 2007.

The specifics that Romney did offer in the speech—like giving green cards to immigrant university graduates, expanding E-Verify or giving illegals who serve in the military a pathway to citizenship—are already backed by President Obama, with varying degrees of success. Others, like Romney’s call for a high-tech fence along the border, were already implemented by the Bush administration and in that case abandoned after Boeing wasted $1 billion of taxpayer’s moneyand couldn’t get the technology to work.

And then there’s this howler: “The president hasn't completed a single new trade agreement with a Latin American nation.” Apparently, the candidate hasn’t heard of the Panama or Colombia Free Trade agreements. Fact-checkers should have a field day.

But accuracy isn’t the point when you’re dealing with bumper-sticker policies—narrative is unfortunately more important than facts. And so we all get a little stupider, day by day, during this campaign.

FULL COLUMN: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/22/policy-black-hole-mitt-romney-keeps-his-ideas-to-himself.print.html

Filed under: Opinion • Political Strike Team • Politics
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Ron

    What would you call someone that says something one day and the next week or day or hour says the opposite? Many of us would call that person a liar, independents call them a flip flopper and Republicans call him their candidate. The devil is not in the details but the candidate call Romney. Erin you give too much weight to the convoluted stories the con men and women of the right make up for their "candidate".

    June 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply

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