Lord knows I’ve had some serious issues with how Mitt Romney decided to run his presidential campaign, oftentimes obscuring his impressive intelligence and presidential attributes in a haze of often-as-not unconvincing red meat. And from a purely philosophical perspective, I don’t care that the former sometimes makes it difficult for people to feel an emotional connection to Romney, to wonder whether they could be pals, whether he might bite his lower lip and emote when they are sad, whether they might drink a beer together. Honestly, I don’t want a president as dumb as me. I prefer someone exceptional, someone able to parse vast amounts of information quickly under pressure and make the best possible decision, someone who has more important things to do than make sure his (or her) neighbors feel comfortable drinking Bud with him (or her). (In a perfect world, of course, the president would be restricted to their constitutional duties and we wouldn’t get quite so worked up about who obtains the office.) My apologies to the average voter, but that is not you.
Suffice to say the remarkable man I met writing my March 2006 profile has been AWOL.
Nevertheless, Jeremy Lott’s very incisive look at how the Romney campaign has responded to the new primary paradigm after early losses gave context and form to something I’ve been thinking as I watch the race unfold, which is: I like that there is a candidate in the race who is thinking deeper about the larger strategic picture, a candidate who didn’t simply give up when his original plan disintegrated in New Hampshire and Iowa.
No, this doesn’t mean I endorse pandering or agree with everything or even most of what Romney says on the campaign trail–although, like John Berlau, I find some of the new bits promising. Still, while some have been scoffing at the former Massachusetts governor’s admittedly silly fixation on medal metaphors, the fact is in the face of defeat he has consistently been able to, as Clint Eastwood demanded of his troops in Heartbreak Ridge, improvise, adapt and…maybe, just maybe, overcome.
It’s a plan with probably more chance of failing than succeeding at this point, but there is a spark of drive and determination in all of this that I find appealing.
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