Some Curious GOP Campaign Literature

October 16, 2012

It’s presidential campaign season and I’ve received some literature from the Romney campaign that I find curious for a couple of reasons.

To begin, let me say that I don’t find campaign literature and campaign ads annoying. I know some people complain about the airwaves being inundated with political ads. Not me. I enjoy seeing political ads, especially the ones relating to the presidential campaign. Having lived in Virginia most of my adult life, this is actually a refreshing change. From 1968 through 2004, Virginia was a lock for the Republicans. As a result, we saw few ads relating to the presidential campaigns. When I would go on business trips in election years, these ads were often the topic of discussion—and I had no idea what people were talking about. So now that Virginia is a battleground state, I’m happy to be in the loop.

Of course, in addition to the TV ads and web ads, there is also the literature that the campaigns mail to homes. Yes, I actually look at this stuff—which brings me to the Romney mailings I’ve received.

Here is what I find interesting and somewhat puzzling. First, this year I’ve been hit with a lot of GOP literature. OK, so that can be explained by Virginia being competitive. But this literature is addressed to me, not my wife. This is curious because both of us receive Democratic party literature. I suppose somehow, for some reason, I’ve been placed on a GOP target list.

Second, the other curious thing is that the three major pieces of literature I have received from the GOP have all focused exclusively on “values” issues. From the national political ads on TV and from his own speeches, Romney’s principal arguments seem to be economic ones. He claims that Obama has largely failed to deliver on his economic promises whereas he would be the great job-creator. But the literature I have received says not one word about unemployment, the national debt, or any economic issue. To the contrary, the literature talks about abortion, same-sex marriage, and threats to religious liberty. For example, the last piece I received alleges that religious liberty is under attack by Obama, but that Mitt Romney “will protect the freedom of religious institutions to decide what their beliefs require,” and that our values are being tested, but that “Romney will stop forcing taxpayers to fund abortion advocates and continue to defend life.”

Why the emphasis on these issues? Is it because Virginians don’t care about jobs (the economy, especially in the DC suburbs, is a little better than it is elsewhere), or are perceived to care more about the concerns of the Religious Right? The campaigns know what they’re doing (or at least think they know what they’re doing) so presumably this choice of message was no accident.

This literature does serve as a useful reminder that both Romney and Obama have positions on a wide range of issues that voters need to consider carefully before making their decision. I hope the debate tonight will provide useful information on their different positions.