Wednesday, December 01, 2010

National Review Continues Series on Weakness of Republican Possibles

Apparently National Review is starting a series on the weaknesses of all the major Republican possibles. First it was Governor Palin. This time it's Governor Romney. Next up? Presumably Governor Huckabee and then Speaker Gingrich. That would take care of the top four.

Michael Tanner's article on Romney is utterly unlike Mona Charen's anti-Palin piece which centered entirely on emotional and personal issues. Charen did not mention Palin policy or government record problems–-did not even allude to them.

Tanner, by contrast, deals almost exclusively with policy/government record problems. Actually, only one problem: "Romneycare"--an "enormous albatross hanging around [Romney's] neck".

Again, unlike Charen, who did not give a single sentence of Palin's defense, Tanner gives a detailed account of Romney's side. In fact, Tanner devotes three full paragraphs to Romney's defense.

Whereas Charen was all emotion, Tanner is careful to avoid emotional negatives like Romney's difficulty in connecting with and inspiring voters. Tanner also skirts mention of possible personal negatives like Romney's Morman background--which has yet to be clearly defused as John Kennedy did with Catholicism.

The closest Tanner comes to listing a Romney personal failing is precisely on topic to his main point on "Romneycare". Explaining why Romney may be so unwilling to give up defending the Massachusetts health care system, Tanner notes that Romney has been "accused in the past of switching positions in order to curry political favor".

Good for Tanner in sticking to policy issues and giving the candidate's side on the issue. That is a major step up in National Review standards.

Still, National Review is setting itself up as doing oppo press on conservative Republican candidates. I think of Bill Buckley's comment on conservatives who pointed out Reagan's weaknesses during the 1980 Reagan run for the presidency. "I wish they'd just shut their mouths."


Mike's America said...

When I had the opportunity to talk with Romney face to face here in 2007 I was left with the impression that he's a bit "plastic."

When I asked him how we could trust that he was a conservative he responded by rattling off a list of policies he supported and I got the impression he was just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear.

Some say he's the safe choice for 2012 and that may be true. But the safe choice won't get folks on our side excited about the campaign.

I saw Palin speak in Georgia in 2008 and she certainly gets people excited and has undeniable conservative bona fides.

Of course as I said in another comment, whether she can overcome the smears against her and her negative public image is the problem.

We have about a year to sort all this stuff out and I'm looking forward to the race.

T. D. said...

Thanks for sharing your personal interaction with Gov. Romney. I haven't met him, but have gotten a vaguely similar impression from media interviews.

And I agree that he won't excite people and bring the boots on the ground that we need to win against even a flawed incumbent president who has the personal charisma that Obama has.

Romney might win if the economy is bad enough, but even if he does, he doesn't understand that "government is the problem". That's the key political issue of our time.