The Mitt Romney campaign has released a new television ad called “Ocean.” In it, Romney criticizes the culture to which our children are exposed, and expresses a desire to clean it up. Romney’s campaign has posted the video in the Candidates’ Forum; go to Romney’s page to watch the video and tell the campaign what you think of it.
Hugh Hewitt finds “Ocean” “interesting on a number of levels,” and takes it as another sign that “the Romney campaign has a plan:”
The argument about the culture’s decline and its impact on children is one that media elites regularly hoot at but which always resonates with soccer moms and coaching dads. Romney’s putting out a notice that this will be an issue for his campaign, and seeing their agenda as part of the roll out of Romney’s agenda is very reassuring to many social conservatives.
I’m sympathetic to the message of the ad, but can’t help noting the complete absence of any suggestion as to what steps can realistically be taken to clean up the culture. With the Supreme Court still committed, seemingly, to the view that pornography and pole-dancing are the core activities protected by the First Amendment, and with the ability of a public high school to prevent students from unveiling a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner a 5-4 squeaker, it isn’t obvious how any President can deliver much on this issue.
UPDATE: John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics interprets “Ocean” as “a clear attempt to try and preempt evangelical/social conservative support from moving en masse toward Fred Thompson.”
MORE: Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post writes:
Romney’s strategy seems aimed at consolidating his support among social conservatives before former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) officially jumps into the race, In the early days of his non-candidacy candidacy, Thompson has painted himself as the lone “true” conservative and his win strategy seems to be to run to the ideological right of everyone currently in the race.
If Thompson can effectively get to Romney’s right, it puts the former governor in the middle of an ideological spectrum that has Thompson on one end and Giuliani on the other. That’s a position quite similar to the one McCain found himself in for much of 2007, trapped between Romney on his right and Giuliani on his left.
Romney’s campaign is no doubt aware of the danger of drifting into that no man’s land and this ad sends a strong signal that he isn’t planning to give any ground when it comes to his conservative bona fides.