erhaps a sign of his standing in early primary polling, Romney is the subject of more than his share of jibes these days — his lack of military expertise amuses McCain
and using his self-funding draws Thompson’s
fire. Judging from their surrogates
yesterday Romney’s opponents are focusing on themes about not being guided by the polls, being “authentic” and saying what you mean. Both McCain and Rudy make a virtue of telling people what they believe and not what the crowd wants to hear. They don’t need to mention Romney by name but their implication is clear: they are saying Romney, to put it bluntly, is a phony.You can say these are “personal” attacks but they really go, perhaps with good reason, to the fundamental concern about Romney. Does he have an inner core of conviction or is he just reciting a list of poll tested and conveniently adopted conservative positions? Thompson, who has maintained his federalist views to the consternation of some social conservatives, seems increasingly also to be taking the “I am who I am” approach. It will be an interesting test as to whether voters really want “honest’ candidates or just those who line up with them on their list of issues.