Nothing screams “policy wonk” more than breaking out the marker and whiteboard. Mitt Romney, speaking on the issue of Medicare in South Carolina, used the visual aid to outline the differences between his plan (which saves Medicare) and the President’s plan (which cuts Medicare and it still goes bankrupt). Hot Air shared the video and some analysis (quoted before the video):
One: It engages voters on policy on a level that rhetoric can’t. It’s essentially a visual cue for seriousness. If Romney’s committed to winning the Medicare debate, he needs to convince voters that the war of words with Obama isn’t election fingerpointing as usual but a real argument over hugely consequential policy differences. The better he is at conveying that, the more the public will resist liberal Mediscaring, I think. Two: It builds on the new identity Romney’s forged for himself as a policy wonk by picking Ryan as VP. I flagged that in my very first post after Ryan was announced: It felt like, until last week, Mitt’s campaign had been about nothing in particular except how bad Obama’s been on the economy. Now, suddenly, he’s an entitlement reformer par excellence, bold enough that he’s actually willing to bust out a de facto blackboard for his cause.
As someone who has a special appreciation for those who can emphasize policy and pull it off (it seldom works but those that manage it are politically invincible save their own gaffes), I think this is brilliant. You can’t demagogue someone on an issue if they’re showing the facts and figures to defend their position. Romney didn’t go into tremendous detail, but it’s a start. I can’t wait to see Ryan get wonky with it.