January 7, 2008


The New New Mitt: New Hampshire voters know Romney's record better than most. That could spell trouble (KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL, January 7, 2008, Opinion Journal)

Mr. Romney had an opportunity at the beginning of this race to present himself as the ideas candidate. In contrast to his superstar rivals (Mr. McCain, Rudy Giuliani), Mr. Romney was a blank slate for most Americans, and might have used his personal fortune to build an image of a creative outsider, a fresh problem-solver determined to invigorate Republican principles.

Instead, Mr. Romney has presented himself as the person least objectionable to all the different branches of the Republican coalition. His many attack ads have reinforced this blandness, tearing down his competitors, but doing little to distinguish Mr. Romney or his policies. All of this misread the public desire for something different, and has now left him vulnerable here to Mr. McCain's image as the maverick who can "change" Washington by bridging its partisan divide.

And so now comes the Romney Reinvention, which has brought with it a new peril, given his reputation as a flip-flopper. It's especially problematic in a state like New Hampshire, where voters witnessed Mr. Romney's tenure as governor of nearby Massachusetts, and are better able than most to mark differences between then and now.

Politics holds no greater danger than when your opponents get to fill in your blanks, as Barack Obama seems likely to find out in the general--since Hillary has failed to do it in the primaries.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2008 5:22 PM

But that's precisely what a messiah-figure does. It's part of the job description. Textbook.

Obambi does it exceptionally well. Mitt ... not so much.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 7, 2008 10:08 PM

It's funny that the two "change" candidates are so much like "W"...

Moreso than OJ's OMGBFF McCain.

Posted by: Benny at January 7, 2008 10:45 PM

Eric Hoffer 101

The goal of the messiah-figure is to persuade a critical mass of volk ... the more numerous and diverse, the better ... to see themselves in him (or, much less likely, in her). His message is: "I am you, you, you and, yes, even you."

Once this collective ego has coalesced, any attack on the messiah-figure will be seen as a personal attack on each of his flock, who will collectively respond as one.

Obambi has nearly achieved this status, and if Hill chooses to really attack him it will be at great peril.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 7, 2008 11:22 PM