Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Maybe that will wake people up a bit...

Latest polls, reported on the news last night, have the "shocking" revelation that Mitt Romney is now tied for the lead in the NH Republican Primary. Granted, he has an edge there (his name recognition is far higher than in most of the country, having been the governor of the bigger state next door), but it does show that the momentum is entirely on his side.

Everyone seems astonished by this, which still confuses the heck out of me. The media have been making him out to be a no-hoper, which is bizarre. They've been making a huge deal about his Mormonism, entirely missing the point that this just emphasizes him as a "person of faith", which nowadays is compelling to much of the country. In general, they've been painting him as a longshot, which never made any sense to me -- I've considered him the likely winner of the primary ever since he threw his hat in the ring.

Mind, I despise the man to the core of my being: I think he's a hypocrite, and a monomaniac even by the standards of politicians. I decided that I disliked him when he destroyed Jane Swift (who I actually thought was a decent governor, brought down by a couple of ordinary rookie-governor mistakes), and I haven't change my mind since. But that doesn't mean I underestimate him.

Mitt Romney is the consummate politician. In particular, he will say and become anything he needs to in order to be elected. He's expert at repainting his image -- as far as I can tell, he isn't anything *but* image. In my eyes, he's the dark shadow of Bill Clinton. I respected Clinton precisely for his ideological flexibility: he listened to the populace, and when they slapped him down he generally changed his stance. But it always felt like he was doing so out of at least a measure of respect for the people. Romney does the same thing, but in a purely self-serving way: he measures what people want out of a candidate, and distorts himself to fit that model.

Honestly, Romney scares the hell out of me. I look at his eyes, and I don't see the slightest genuine compassion or warmth, just calculation of what can be done to advance his own political interests. And when someone like that gets to the top, I don't know what he does next. I'm not sure he knows. Frankly, while I certain that he's smarter than Dubya, I'm not at all sure that he's saner.

So now is the time for image-countering. The correct counter for Romney is "slick Mitt". He has spent decades as nothing but a candidate, using each position carefully calculated as the springboard for the next. In MA, he showed a complete willingness to stab his own constituency in the back if it would advance his personal cause. That needs to be used against him, and that needs to start *now*. Otherwise, if he's allowed to continue controlling his own image through the primaries, I currently give him better than even odds of winding up in the White House...
Tags: politics
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