John Heilemann describes the Obama campaign strategy:
The Obama effort at disqualifying Romney will go beyond painting him as excessively conservative, however. It will aim to cast him as an avatar of revanchism [bold mine-DL]. “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward—that’s the basic construct,” says a top Obama strategist.
Revanchism seems to be a popular word these days, but the people using it seem not to know what the word means. Is Romney advocating the re-annexation of the Philippines? No, in fact, he is not. He cannot be a revanchist, much less “an avatar of revanchism.”
The misleading word is Heilemann’s, but the idea of portraying Romney as the embodiment of regressive political views belongs to the campaign. Romney does have a real anachronism problem, and some of his foreign policy views seem to have been crafted for the world of twenty or thirty years ago, but that is more a function of his lack of understanding of those issues. He falls back on old slogans and assumptions because they seem to be all that he has at his disposal. On domestic policy, he may be rehashing some ideas that date from the late ’90s, but for the most part he has aligned himself with movement conservative views from the last decade. Trying to portray him as some sort of throwback candidate from half a century ago isn’t going to persuade anyone, and I doubt it will be very effective in mobilizing Obama’s voters.