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."