THE PLANK OCTOBER 1, 2007
Presidential candidates are usually delighted to make the cover of a major magazine, but Newsweek's big story on Mitt Romney turns out to be pretty tough:
So what kind of president would Mitt Romney be? It often seems that Romney himself doesn't know. More disturbing, he is also unwilling to truly look to his own history for the answer. Asked by NEWSWEEK how he is most like his father, Romney saw only an opportunity to recite a familiar talking point about his own style as a manager, noting that George "did not just ask for opinions but for thoughtful analysis and data." Everything his family has lived through-religious persecution, the traversing of a continent, a noble tradition of service and the depths of political disappointment-it all pales in comparison with data. This is the man who in the great wisdom of political insiders is seen as congenitally presidential?
In fairness, it is true that Romney has the stuff of great presidents somewhere inside him. The making of Mitt Romney included the development of skills any leader would find invaluable-a strong work ethic, an insistence on sacrifice and a reverence for those who put the principles of humanity over the conveniences of the moment. But, to date, these traits have been hard to find in the public Mitt Romney. All that is really recognizable in him is a capacity for organization and packaging that are characteristic of his faith. Unfortunately, the politician Romney has been chiefly interested in organizing and packaging himself into is a man who seems to have no history, and, as a result, no heart....
P.S. If you missed Bill Clinton on the Sunday shows, here's his take on Mitt (plus Rudy):
I think Romney is a very appealing candidate in a lot of ways and has a lead in Iowa and New Hampshire. So the real--there are two questions here that will determine the outcome of this, in my opinion, unless Thompson catches fire. One is, can Romney win in Iowa and New Hampshire if he gets right up to the last week with a lead there but he's still running third or fourth in the national polls? The second is, can Giuliani hold his lead if there's national advertising about his positions on all the social issues?