The Southern Strategy Lives

The Romney campaign has decided they aren’t moving the needle far enough and fast enough with economic issues, plus they can’t overcome the fact that people just don’t like Mitt Romney, so it’s time to pull out the old Republican tried and true–the president is near.

“Having survived a summer of attacks but still trailing the president narrowly in most national polls, Mr. Romney’s campaign remains focused intently on the economy as the issue that can defeat Mr. Obama. But in a marked change, Mr. Romney has added a harder edge to a message that for most of this year was focused on his business and job-creation credentials, injecting volatile cultural themes into the race.

…The strategic shift in the campaign message that has been unfolding in recent weeks reflects a conclusion among Mr. Romney’s advisers that disappointment with Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship is not sufficient to propel Mr. Romney to victory on its own…Mr. Romney’s chances hinge to a large degree on running up his advantage among white voters in swing states who show deep strains of opposition to Mr. Obama but do not yet trust Mr. Romney to look out for their interests, Republican strategists say.

Many of those voters are economically disaffected, and the Romney campaign has been trying to reach them with appeals built around an assertion that Mr. Obama is making it easier for welfare recipients to avoid work. The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has “quietly announced” plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries, a message Mr. Romney’s aides said resonates with working-class voters who see government as doing nothing for them.

Because as any good old boy knows, it’s only “those people” who are on welfare

…While he hopes to improve his standing among women, strategists say Mr. Romney’s chances hinge to a large degree on running up his edge among white voters who do not yet trust Mr. Romney.”

And apparently, the Romney campaign believes the way to instill that trust is to prove to the Bubbas that Mitt is one of them by playing to the lowest common denominator-racial fear and prejudice. Lee Atwater would be proud.

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