Three themes in this presidential campaign

By Tom Quiner

Ronald Reagan presented a relentless message of hope

The theme of Barack Obama’s campaign is fairness.

Taking his cue from the Occupy Wall Street Crowd, he targets capitalism and Big Business as the root cause of our problems. Envy is the foundation of his message: you are downtrodden because the “rich” are making money on your backs. The job of government is to take from the rich and redistribute it to the ninety-nine percent in the name of fairness.

Mr. Obama obviously cannot run on his record. It is a disaster, but irrelevant to the legions of voters who buy into the politics of envy.  He’ll be tough to beat.

The second theme is liberty, as touted by Ron Paul.

Mr. Paul deserves credit for delivering a consistent message that our freedom is dependent upon adherence to the Constitution. In that sense, he is the anti-Obama. Mr. Paul’s take on the Constitution swerves to the Left in the realm of foreign policy. Most don’t buy into the isolationism he touts. But I respect much of what he says economically, even though his style grates on me.

My concern is that too many Americans are apathetic about their freedoms. Team Obama is targeting our religious and economic liberties with a brazen disregard for the Constitution.

They have expanded the budget of government, the number of federal union employees (90% of whom vote Democrat), and federal regulations at the expense of the Constitution and liberty.

Ron Paul’s message of Liberty is vital. Will it resonate?

The third theme is Prosperity.

Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all espouse this theme in some form or other. Mssrs. Romney and Santorum gear their rhetoric a little more strongly toward “job creation,” which isn’t bad. But the only way, the ONLY WAY Republicans can win is with a strong, unabashed message of economic prosperity.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney carries so much baggage, he probably can’t beat the incumbent. His experience at Bain Capital, right or wrong, feeds into the perception that he represents the 1%, that his experience pits him in an adversarial role against the ninety-nine percent.

I’m in the marketing business and perception is reality.

Can Mitt Romney change the perception that he is an elitist? It will be tough. The media will side with Obama. They will trumpet the president’s class-warfare rhetoric to every corner of the earth.

I’m concerned that Mr. Romney can’t sufficiently galvanize conservative voters. His record as Governor of Massachusetts is abysmal. He signed Romneycare into law, the model for Obamacare. Everyone already knows that. They don’t know that his record for appointing judges was also poor with many liberals getting appointed to the bench.

He left office with a dozen unfilled judgeships for his liberal successor, Deval Patrick, to fill.

His association with Bain Capital makes Mr. Romney suspect, too. Bain Capital gives money to lots of politicians. When you look at the politicians they gave the most money to, 26 out of 29 were Democrats.

They gave money to Ted Kennedy.

They gave money to Al Franken, John Kerry, and Anthony Weiner.

Mr. Obama’s prescription for economic growth is Keynesian-oriented, or in other words, Obamanomics Lite with loose-money monetary policy and targeted tax cuts to politically-favored classes.

Newt Gingrich has a fabulous economic plan, but he is bogged down in a tit-for-tat campaign with Romney.

In tonight’s debate, I’d like to see the Republicans proclaim a positive message. They should take their cue from Ronald Reagan who exuded hope in this excerpt from a 1964 speech:

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ” ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.’ “

Or this excerpt from his 1985 inaugural address:

“We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. There are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great republic.”

Or this excerpt from his 1981 inaugural address:

“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

And finally, savor his positive characterization of the beauty of the free enterprise system:

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.”

Three themes are on the table in this campaign: fairness, liberty, and prosperity.

Prosperity is THE message that will resonate with the most people.