It's an old political saw--the Democrats are the 'mommy party' because they favor helping people over everything else, including common sense and finances; the Republicans are the 'daddy party' because they favor common sense and finances over everything else, including helping people. Dems feed on emotion; Repubs feed on logic and rules.
There is some truth to the characterization, but it varies from candidate to candidate. George W. Bush tried to make an end run on it by calling himself a 'compassionate conservative'. It sorta worked. Romney has famously referred to himself as a 'severe conservative'. Maybe prudent when one is a life-long moderate angling for conservative votes, but not very handy in a general against someone trying to set himself up as the chief mommy.
Obama is out touting his Buffett Rule (just another day of dividing America) not because he knows it will help the deficit or the economy, but because he thinks it will help his chances against Thurston Romney III. And why not? Most of the time people gravitate to the poor populist going against the evil magnate--just watch Turner Classic movies for awhile.
Part of that strategy is to label the magnate as cruel towards the fairer sex, someone whose authoritarian governance will threaten them right down to body, soul, spirit and offspring. It's unfair of course, since it's all a gimmick, but with Romney it might be working.
So what does the presumptive nominee do? Does he take a page from Kerry's playbook and appear at the beach? Does he take one from Gore's playbook and wear more flannel shirts? Or is that part of the negative image already? Does he keep a stock of valiums on hand and open his shirt collar an extra button? Or, when the time comes, does he waffle on Obamacare and other free stuff?
Or does he stick to the one he's bringing to the dance--the economy. After all, women are part of the unemployment numbers. Mommies will benefit from a better economy in every area.
Unfortunately Romney has always appeared a bit stiff in body and wobbly in belief. That image will be exploited continuously and ruthlessly until November. His wife softens it a bit, but she's not Mitt. His best chance will be to stick with his best chance, the economy. He can't out-mommy Obama.
Of course that leaves him open should the economy begin seriously improving through summer, which likely assures his place in the same historic dustbin along with Bob Dole, John McCain, and Walter Mondale. Variables always exist, such as 6 dollar gas or an Israeli attack on Iran, unsanctioned by Obama, which probably tanks the markets and causes Hizballah counter strikes in America. But even that could bring the masses to the side of the commander-in-chief, the guy who was holding out for peace unlike the daddy party candidate who wanted to kickass, etc.
Surely team Romney will be trying to counter this image with the correct VP choice. But picking another moderate might not bring out the base, who are desperately needed to win. Yet picking a more conservative female, let's say, will only shift the focus of the mommy party attacks as occurred with Palin. So we'll see.