First, have a message

In an op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post, Eugene Robinson argues that Mitt Romney, erstwhile front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, lacks a message. Robinson writes:

Criticism of Mitt Romney for lacking a coherent message is grossly unfair. He has been forthright, consistent and even eloquent in pressing home his campaign’s central theme: Mitt Romney desperately wants to be president.

He goes on to say, that in spite having many differences of opinion with the Obama administration, Romney hasn’t articulated an overall message. Robinson expresses it like this:

My point is that even Romney’s sharp disagreements with Obama’s policies don’t add up to a philosophy or a vision. They’re more like what stuck after a bunch of random tough-sounding positions were thrown at the wall.

What are you fighting for?

It is not enough to be against something. You have to be for something. You have to stand for something that makes it clear who you are and what you will do. This is true for all politicians, nonprofits and even businesses.

Imagine if Coke were just the anti-Pepsi. That would not be enough. Instead, “Coke is it,” Coke is the “real thing,” Coke likes polar bears. You get my drift.

Having a positive (in that it not an “against” message) central unifying message cannot be underestimated. In fact, if the GOP loses in November it will be because the party has failed to articulate something other than they are against Obama.

Romney, and any other politician, would do well to take a step back and figure out what it is he wants to say, really. In his case, he needs to articulate better why his position (and the GOP’s) is better for the economy, in positive terms. What exactly does Romney think the problem is, and more importantly, what is the solution.