The Romney 2012 campaign is built upon a nouveau Kerry 2004 approach to campaigning, namely that it is wrong on the issues (unlike Kerry) but refuses to take a consistent stance on anything major.
So, the question becomes how to attack them on key issues when they could just revert to the old "That's not my plan...that's his plan." OR "My plan is his plan, not my plan" shell game that we saw this entire week.
The answer is to be found on a ranch in Wyoming. More below the drawing.
Dick Cheney absolutely skewered the 2004 ticket with great effect in debates and the convention, like him or not. He won. We lost (big time). Here's how he did it and how we can do it.
1. Confront the Romney/Ryan ticket with obscurities that cannot be denied. The parallel would be Cheney's obscure reference during the debate to Edwards's "hometown paper." What does this mean now? Kudos to the people who unearthed the Ryan stimulus letters. Ryan was confronted with it, and it was obscure enough that he had no recollection and deferred to his gut (and was wrong), or he rationally believed that nobody would have come up with the letters (and was wrong).
What are other sources of obscure information? Archive.org is your friend, and it has old campaign websites, congressional websites, etc. that are ripe for the picking.
2. Where there are actual positions, take them to their logical conclusion/extension in a way that cannot be rebutted in a sound byte (either because it stuns with its effect or is outside the normal frame of discourse). This is where Cheney was a master, no...an absolute master (Al Qaeda fear tactics, anyone). Here are some possibilities today -
a. Take the personhood amendment, which would mean that cells in a body have the same constitutional rights as a person. What do you do? That amendment becomes the change to the constitution that Paul Ryan supported that would allow babies to carry firearms (Second Amendment), would allow police to invade fetuses to search for evidence of crime (Searches and Seizures), and force police to enter your body to allow the embryo to freely associate (First Amendment). Now, you would have to tamp down the rhetoric, but what the heck do you say to any of that? It makes no sense but damages what underlies Ryan's political values and appeals to key constituencies (women, for example).
b. The Obama folks must also hit back on the notion that Ryan would ever balance the budget. Nobody has mentioned in any real way the TARP, tax cuts, bailouts, etc. and how Ryan never had a plan to pay for them.
c. The Obama folks should also confront Ryan on the Ayn Rand stuff with his earlier quotes in favor of her philosophy.
3. Where Ryan is locked in, lock him in further. Again, some examples -
a. A simple statement that asks how many jobs Paul Ryan has created in his decade plus in Congress. Obama gets the question every month in the jobs report, and Paul Ryan has never fielded it, yet he wants to blabber about how to create jobs.
b. Medicare, Medicare, Medicare.
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Now, how to make this stuff mean something... Any time there is a flip-flop or a lack of information/disclosure (cough...tax returns...), it becomes an issue of uncertainty, and uncertainty does not help business or create jobs (cue the ad nauseum Romney/Ryan quotes on that topic).