The Past Is History

Candidates, we know what you've done. Now tell us what you're going to do

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Illustration by Hieronymus for TIME; Romney: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

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With less biography but more catchy and forward-leaning proposals, Romney will have a much better chance to prevail over Obama, who has an even more fragile biography. The pride so many Americans felt about his historic first bid for the White House is now respectfully entered in the history books; it will not propel him this time. Obama's signature accomplishment--dramatically changing our health care system--is gasping on life support, disdained by more than 60% of the public and fighting for survival before the Supreme Court. The jobs the President promised to create are not here, and the recovery is meek and uncertain at best. Before entering the White House, the President was a freshman Senator with a thin rsum in politics and none in business. A backward-looking campaign of biography will not help him either. Like the Bain-bashing spots from Obama's Chicago campaign HQ, the 30-second spots from Team Romney will make certain of that.

Soon, Romney and Obama will become perverse equals, both badly battered and ironically disqualified by their accomplishments. That will give them no option but to focus less on each other and more on the real choice of the election: Where does America go from here? The winner of the debate over that essential question will win the White House.

Murphy is a Republican political consultant

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