“The estimable John Podhoretz thinks he has and, as we know, so does the estimable John Hinderaker. Podhoretz writes:
The president’s “you didn’t build that” statement has not only framed the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney exactly as Romney needed, it has transformed Romney’s campaign. He gave a very good speech last week at the NAACP convention, but even the strength of that performance was as nothing next to what he’s done over the past two days. I’ve now watched Romney’s speeches yesterday and today centering on the remark and its meaning, and what I’m seeing is a Mitt Romney come alive—or at least, a Romney new to me. He has always been articulate and with a command of facts and figures, but the distanced awkwardness that accompanied them has suddenly vanished. In their place is a loose, fluid, confident, and passionate spokesman defending the free enterprise system against Obama’s government-centered approach. Romney has done something you hear people talk about theoretically but which doesn’t often happen—he has found his voice as a presidential candidate. And it’s all due to Barack Obama. I hope a fruit basket is on the way to the White House. It would only be polite.
I agree that Romney has improved as a stump speaker. But I still worry about his instincts.
For example, his initial reaction to Obama’s “you didn’t build that” gift was mostly to express indignation over the insult to small business owners. To be sure, Obama did insult that cohort. But this was perhaps the least politically and intellectually problematic aspect of Obama’s comment.
Obama played straight into the hands of Romney, who has claimed from the beginning that the president doesn’t understand how jobs are created and how the economy functions. That’s the line of attack that can win this election, not outrage over insults to small businessmen.
Romney showed similarly poor instincts when he demanded an apology after Team Obama suggested he might have committed a felony. The suggestion was outrageous, but Romney’s reaction made him seem weak. A strong presidential candidate does not call for statements from an opponent that he knows the opponent won’t deliver.
So yes, Romney is learning to be a better speaker. But instincts can’t be learned, and Romney’s could be better.
JOHN adds: I don’t disagree with anything Paul says, and I especially agree that it was foolish to ask for an apology when Obama called him a felon. That was an opportunity missed. But my take is slightly different from that of John Podhoretz, and many other conservative commentators, in that I have always thought Romney is underestimated as a candidate. I think that for a variety of reasons, conservatives have been overly critical of Romney’s skills, which are admittedly imperfect, but still pretty darn good. What we have seen over the last few days is, yes, an improvement; but the improvement is mainly due to Obama committing a horrible blunder that gave Romney an opening he could drive a truck through. I think a lot of conservative commentators are taking the opportunity to give Romney his due, in my view somewhat belatedly.”
Comment: In the combat thus far, Mitt Romney should be burying the grease and sleaze of Obama’s campaign, but the polls do not yet bear that out. The folks at Powerline and elsewhere are likely too young to really appreciate the collapse of the average American understanding of anything (beyond the sexual, that is).
The under fifties in America is not a very literate people. The twenty to forties are nearly morons possessing nearly no basic general knowledge necessary to survive in today’s bureaucratic culture and the natural world which they invade every moment of their lives. They cannot recognize the most brazen of lies even when they hear them repeated again and again.
The American public’s vast ignorance about the nature of Mother Earth’s transformation through the past 100,000,000 years was about to cost the nation’s tax payers $1,000,000,000,000 in Obama’s Cap and Trade fraud, his gift to third world countries and a tax upon Uncle Sam for his daring to be enterprising over the past two centuries.
The American public knows nothing about Marxism, its history, its writers and leaders, their goals, its traits in politics, its atheism, its devotion to dictate what is to be equal, its hates and scape goats….otherwise they would recognize the American Marxist pup, Barack Hussein Obama.
They also might recognize that Obama’s administration, his leadership, and not only the leading “from the behind” kind. his circle of connivers, his circle of words, his circle of deeds, is totally out of the mainstream of the American Way.
Yes, Bill Clinton was a major leaguer liar on television, at least he was an American one. Lies did not plague his every being. He was competent in leading the government without stirring racism black against white,, class and group hatred, blacks, single women, gays, lesbians, Latinos, Union workers against the American middle class who goes to work five days or more per week and wants to remain an American according to traditional Christian American principles and teachings.
Mr. Obama is the first foreigner to be bumped into the White House…..and a foreigner with no friends……no one from his past attests to his outstanding character. No one. As Charles Krauthammer recently reminded us, Barack Hussein Obama has never even managed a candy shop.
He pretended to be a professor of Consitutional Law…..How is that possible based on his ignorance and disdain or boeht for that document he has demonstrated these nearly four years of his running the country ‘from behind’.
Like so many true con artists, Obama has a great gift of gab and its twistings…..a first class talent of nearly all Marxist tyrants.
Never in American history has the citizenry spent so much money attending university. Those Marxists in the social ‘science’ world at university have produced today’s American flock of the vacuous. That added with the the nation’s only subsidized religion, Atheistic Marxism, how can anyone be surprised that the fraud, Obama, can still be leading in the polls……leading a guy who is likely one of the most decent, most successful human beings from traditional American standards ever to run for the Presidency.