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The temperament is there, as is the natural appeal of a friendly, modest, handsome leader.
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Romney has the same qualities. Whereas Newt would make a great General Douglas MacArthur, ready to challenge everyone else’s authority, Romney obviously prefers to organize without putting himself out front. He lets others have their say. His one great weakness is that he doesn’t yet seem to have the common touch. He still looks uncomfortable in crowds and can’t seem to relate to people who don’t share his background. Maybe the trip from Cranbrook to Cranford NJ isn’t that easy. But I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get better during the campaign.
As Jimmy Carter would ultimately discover, this election will not be decided by who can memorize the longest list of talking points. It’s going to be won by the candidate who voters feel most comfortable having in their living rooms. Obama passed the test in 2008. He was young and fresh and seemed to have a level head while McCain appeared old and tired. It was a fairly easy choice. But the President won’t have those advantages this time around. After four years of mismanaging the economy, he won’t be able to talk hope and change. His only option will be to go negative, portraying Romney as a rich boy who doesn’t care about anyone who doesn’t have money. That may work for a while but at some point people are going to want to hear something positive. At that point they will start listening to Romney. If he sounds like Reagan, they will find him an attractive and plausible alternative.
Romney is something we haven’t seen for a while in America — a benevolent family man. He’s the well-meaning father who knows how to do the right thing even if he can’t always express himself. Liberals are beginning to notice this and feel uneasy. Last week the New Republic ran a cover photo of him taken within three inches of his face that made him look like King Kong. Frank Rich has started harping on Mormonism, showing that religious bigotry is not dead in America. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is morally certain the public will turn on Romney once they perceive the true significance of the dog-tied-on-top-the-car. To her, Romney is capable of tying pregnant women to railroad tracks. But the public may see it as just another amusing episode of Father Knows Best.
And just listen to this indictment from Times contributor Lee Siegel, who calls Romney “the whitest white man to run for president in years.”
He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie. He has mastered Benjamin Franklin’s honesty as the “best policy”… He speaks of the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence as phases of national creativity that we are destined to live through again. He frequently accompanies his recitative with verses from “America the Beautiful.”
Who would ever want to vote for a candidate like that?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?