In this campaign, ideology matters

Charles Krauthammer argues that Mitt Romney should not limit his case against President Obama to attacks on his economic stewardship. Romney must also make the ideological case against Obama:

If you run against Obama’s performance in contrast to your own competence, you stake your case on persona. Is that how you want to compete against an opponent who is not just more likable and immeasurably cooler but spending millions to paint you as an unfeeling, out-of-touch, job-killing, private-equity plutocrat?

Krauthammer is right, and there’s reason to think that Romney agrees. In some of his speeches and campaign ads, he now talks about idelogy, including Obama’s “you didn’t build that” moment, around which Krauthammer says Romney should build his case. We’ll get a better of idea of the role ideology will play in the campaign later this month at the Republican convention.

Romney isn’t the ideal candidate to talk about philosophy, but he’s not bad at it. Perhaps he’ll pick a running mate who excels in this area. Marco Rubio is the best I’ve heard on the subject.

In any case, philosophy will be an issue whether Romney likes it or not. For my money, the most effective of Obama’s many strong ads is the one called “The Choice,” in which he argues that this election isn’t about two men or two parties, but rather two sets of belief. Obama has distilled his “ideological” argument into a few powerful sentences. Romney had better be able to do the same.