From the beginning of the GOP primary season I made no secret of the fact that the number-one quality I was looking for in a candidate was the man or woman who best understood the threat the corrupt media poses and had the best plan to combat it. Without that, nothing else matters. You might be the second-coming of Ronald Reagan, but if you can’t comprehend how dirty the media plays to elect Democrats, you can’t win.
Though I had misgivings about Mitt Romney in other areas, it became pretty clear fairly early on that he was a tough, shrewd candidate backed by a tough, shrewd campaign team that showed some real signs of promise in the media arena.
Since securing the nomination, though, Team Romney has shown more than promise. In fact, they’ve shown a real brilliance in the handling of Obama’s Media Palace Guards — from their unwillingness to disavow Donald Trump; to ruining David Axelrod’s media event; to a stubborn refusal to get sidetracked off an economic message by media-created distractions; to an understanding that New Media is now a powerhouse able to push a message into the daily political narrative — something the corrupt media no longer owns completely.
Today, deep in this Financial Times piece, we learn that when it comes to handling the media, the Romney campaign is even doing the little things right:
The Orlando event had all the traits of the tightly managed Romney campaign – from the last-minute notification and limited access for the media to the favoured venue, a local small business.
As soon as he hit the rope line to talk to supporters, Mr Romney’s staff turned up the rock music played through speakers scattered around the hall to deafening levels, as they always do.
The music, aimed at preventing reporters overhearing or recording comments to supporters that could prove embarrassing, is one of the myriad ways the campaign tries to control its message.
How many times have we seen the corrupt media throw a GOP campaign off course due to a supporter’s question in a rope line. It’s all a game of gotcha, a way for the media to talk about anything other than Obama’s failed policies.
Romney and company have obviously figured out what John McCain never did: That if you play on the turf the media demands you play on, that if you seek their approval, you will lose.
For example, Romney understood that the media conspiring with the Obama campaign (which it did) to force him to repudiate Donald Trump is only a two day story.
Unless, of course, you cave.
Then it’s a five day story after the media reports on Romney’s distancing of himself, Trump’s response, etc. Actually, before the election is over, it becomes a 50 day story because by showing weakness, the media will demand Romney repudiate everyone and everything.
We have a long, agonizing, five-month rollercoaster ride ahead of us. Romney will make some big mistakes, Obama will find his voice and surge, and who knows where it will all end up.
At the very least, however, we do know that Romney understands the most vital thing, and that’s that a failed president is easily beatable once you get through his Media Palace Guards.
I don’t know if Romney will win, but I now know he can win.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC