We’re heading into a very bizarre time — pre-primary candidate positioning. Campaigns are about time, money and messaging. In terms of messaging, most people focus on what a candidate says about him/herself. As this rolls out, consider this: the public perception is set in four ways:
1. Candidate on Candidate
2. Candidate on Others
3. Others on Candidate
4. Others on Others
For example, there’s what Romney says about himself (and he kind of changes his tune a lot). There’s what Romney says about others (not just Obama, but his Republican rivals). Then you have to consider what others say about Romney, and finally what they say about themselves (we’re the most reputable source on GOP politics…). Somewhere in this soup is a seed of a message. A message that is clear, concise, and one that establishes an builds a brand that will organize or persuade voters and raise money.
In 2008, this was a $750 million endeavor by President Obama, that began four years out, but in earnest two years out. This is serious business, and the messaging construct is extraordinarily complex, never mind the fundraising, organizing, etc., etc.
I’ve been saying this for months now, but the Republican field, with the exception of Mitt Romney, is way too late into this game. Most of them aren’t even close to the first-stage message yet.
— Jeff K