Newsweek is running a “Romney-as-Wimp” cover and lead story in their magazine this week, and it’s causing quite a stir.
The article, found here, is by Michael Tomasky.
Over the next four pages, Tomasky succeeds fairly well in painting Mitt Romney in a bad light.
He is less successful at making the “wimp” label stick, and in my opinion, the four page effort to do so utterly misses the point about Romney.
Clearly, the guy’s not a wimp. As David Frum (correctly) point out here, you don’t even set foot in the arena if you’re a wimp. The parameters of the contest itself ensure that wimps need not apply.
Having said that then, it’s important to clarify the point that Tomasky misses.
It’s no secret that politicians will say most anything to get elected, and it is for this reason that the title “Flip Flopper” has such a negative connotation. I mean…to be known as a “flip flopper” in a world where you and all your peers will say anything to get elected? Man…that takes some doing.
That’s the title Romney has, and the reasons for it are well documented. Pick nearly any position Romney has held, EVER, and you’re all but guaranteed to be able to find an instance of him holding the opposite view.
Not a slightly modified version of his former belief.
Not an “evolving” sense of whatever issue you’re talking about.
In Romney’s case, you can find literally dozens of examples of him openly stating his position as one thing, then later, openly stating his position as the exact opposite of whatever his former position might have been.
It’s kind of Romney’s thing, you know? Like “Give ’em Hell, Harry!” was Harry Truman’s “thing.”
Like “Beware the Military Industrial Complex!” was Ike’s thing.
Having said that, the reasons for Romney’s avoidance of his base and major media outlets is not so mysterious or surprising, is it?
Regarding his base, they already don’t trust him. They suspect, based on his record, that he was not, in fact, a “severely conservative” governor of a fairly liberal state, and it makes them uncomfortable, cos they WANT Hitler-dressed-in-a-Murican-flag as a candidate. That’s what the base wants, and frankly, Romney’s not that guy. He knows it, and deep down, the base knows it too. Best to minimize contact till after the convention, when it’s too late for them to change their collective minds.
That’s not wimpishness, that’s political pragmatism.
In a similar vein, we can explain the avoidance of the press. The guy’s a known flip flopper, and each time he does it, it hurts him.
The more time he spends talking to the press, the more likely he is to flip flop on the national stage, and when he does, he’ll slip a little in the polls.
Solution: Minimize face time with the press. Again, this is not a sign of wimpishness. This is cool, political calculus.
The other thing Romney’s known for is the fact that he seems like a robot. From his horrible off-key singing, to trees that are “just the right height,” to his “guffawing” at various knee-slapping-jokes-that-weren’t, we’ve seen countless instances of “Teh Rombot.” It’s not a joking matter. The guy has an image problem, for sure, however….Robots aren’t wimps.
They’ll follow their programming relentlessly, and that’s what Romney’s doing.
That’s what he’s been doing for a dozen years, on his path to the White House.
He’ll say anything, do anything to get there, and yes, he’ll go around anybody who might present an obstacle, if that person, agency, or organization can’t be ground to dust.
Since “the mainstream media” is too big an obstacle to grind to dust, and since he can’t do that to his base (the very folk he needs votes from), he’ll march through the lines of his programming till he finds the next best solution: avoidance.
That’s what we’re seeing here.
The Rombot is executing lines of code.