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Here is the thought experiment I threw together last Friday. It may be catching on. Speaking of Romney and just back from Notre Dame, I gotta say that his Thursday speech has all the desperation of a "Hail Mary" pass at this point. I’m not in the business of endorsing candidates, but I will say that Romney would almost surely be a good president. The problem is, of course, that he hasn’t found the "voice" that would make him a good candidate, and his discomfort with being a Mormon in public is only one aspect of his "authenticity" problem. Those who remember another talented man from Boston, Doug Flutie, know that Hail Mary passes sometimes work. (And if knew Peter S. was going to link the above I wouldn’t have posted this, but too late now. Thanks, Peter.)

Discussions - 8 Comments

Why would Romney almost surely be a good President?

Romney was more candid and less scripted earlier in his campaign (I distinctly remember him admitting his favortite author is L. Ron Hubbard) and seems both deathly afraid to make a mistake but also desperate to have a grand watershed moment. A forceful, candid, unapologetic speech of the kind Knippenberg has described could be that moment but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Good question Clint. Romney's "authenticity" problem is the reason he hasn't found his "voice." Peter's comment stresses words over substance, the optics over the reality. We've had almost 8 years of Presidential rhetoric being widely separated from Executive action. David Frum has written on this very problem at length, and has damned it as scandalous.

That being the case, how can Peter possibly think another 8 years of Bush like indecision, Bush like pandering to the establishment would be a good idea.

I'm stunned by that comment. And I'm stunned that Peter sees "the speech" as a "Hail Mary" pass. The speech has been in the works for over a year easy. Romney has had people polling, focus grouping, researching this speech for two years. The Romney campaign has been fixated on the JFK analogy long before the actual campaign kicked off. You can see the speech foreshadowed in Hewitt's book, and Hewitt's book, besides being an embarrassment to its author, almost lays out how Romney was going to secure the nomination.

This speech wasn't just conjured up over the last couple of weeks, because Romney is tanking in the polls. This thing has been planned all along.

It's THE TIMING of it that has betrayed a campaign which has blown this speech out of all proportion. But the campaign now realizes it's either now or never. And it is being delivered DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. Romney's campaign is clearly hoping for some Christmas "good will" to their candidate. Again, it's yet another instance of Romney's people leaving no gimmick untried in their determination to force him on us.

Romney's campaign is passing strange, on the one hand he'll flip on any position to pander for any group's votes, but on the other hand, he's had this unimaginative plan from the start, which he won't depart from. And "the speech" was all part of that plan from the beginning. So we have tactical flips, coupled with long-term dreary monotony. It's really weird. It's as I said on another thread, heretofore, I've thought his campaign was doing about as well as they could, but actually going forward with this speech now, billing it as if it were Moses coming down from Sinai, Lincoln appearing at Gettysburg, billing it and him as if all Americans are going to be sitting around holding hands while he delivers it, ......... it's bizarre. Just bizarre. Somebody needed to clue that campaign in that most Republicans don't view him through that rosy glow that Hugh Hewitt does. The pompousness, self-regard and the political tin ear this speech betrays is simply amazing. Amazing.

He's really going to try to insulate himself from questions by portraying himself as a victim. I can't believe it. Americans are looking for STRENGTH in their President, they're not looking for somebody to play the victim card. It's all so damn Oprahesque. That works in Massachusetts, which is blue and weird. But it isn't going to cut it in the REPUBLICAN party.

The main reason Romney has an "inauthenticity" problem among Christians is that Mormonism has an inauthenticity problem. Mormonism purports to be a Christian denomination (just like Baptist, Catholic or Eastern Orthodox) when it isn't. Latter-day revelation is patently inconsistent with Christianity. And giving a speech on Mormonism isn't going to change that. It's only going to draw attention to the problem, in my view.

Ivan sums it up well. That campaign is "deathly afraid to make a mistake," but also "desperate" for "a grand watershed moment." That's a bullseye.

And moving on from this, how Romney has handled "the speech" throws a light on how a Romney President would handle the many foreign policy problems a President must face. We would see procrastination, excessive caution, better spin and a keen eye for how the media portrays him and his administration.

In comment #5 (but that one only) Dan sums up all my fears about Romney as President and--more than that--explains why I don't think a Romney presidency is at all likely. It's one thing to be sensitive to the political winds. A good statesman must be aware of them even if he will not pander to them. But it's another thing entirely to be caught so often with your wet finger in the air and to appear so irresolute. Not what we need right now.

Julie, did you check out the NY Post today, there's a column about Romney's problems. The author says Romney's campaign thinks his main problem is his Mormonism, whereas in reality, it's his flip-flopping. Republicans have no faith he believes in much of anything, other than his suitability for The White House. There's a good line, "Romney doesn't have a John F. Kennedy problem, he has a John F. KERRY problem."

And another thing, isn't there something more than slightly sickening in Romney's slavish imitation of JFK, that he even schedules the speech for Texas. Isn't that a bit much? When can Americans say: "Enough with the JFK knock-offs."

We had Kerry during the last Presidential go-round portraying himself as the Skipper of PT 109 resurrected, complete with coif. And now we've Romney, preparing to deliver "the speech."

Is there something in the water up there, in Massachusetts?

And then there was Clinton too. Darrell Hammond, the impersonator on Saturday Night Live confessed that he had all kinds of problems imitating Clinton. All until he perceived that Clinton wasn't being Clinton. Hammond discerned that Clinton was affecting someone, imitating someone. And that person was JFK. SO ONCE he started impersonating Bill Clinton affecting JFK, THAT'S when his act all came together, and became a riot.

I think all present and future politicians need to be sent a memo, titled: ENOUGH WITH JFK. Would be politicians should be told to let him rest, be your own man. Let the nation move on.

Dan wrote: "We would see procrastination, excessive caution, better spin and a keen eye for how the media portrays him and his administration."

What Republican candidate is immune to this syndrome? I'd venture none ... I'd venture that no top-tier presidential candidate from either party is immune.

Fringe candidates don't count -- they can say or do anything to look resolute. But if they found themselves in the top tier, they'd become more cautious.

In fact, I'm trying to think of a single presidential candidate that's gone on to win the general election that didn't have moments where caution and "protecting the lead" didn't play into the campaign. And I include in that Ronald Reagan in 1980.

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