Mitt Romney is a curious cat to watch in 2010. As the most likely heir apparent to the Republican nomination (since he’s next in line, and that’s just how we roll) I thought it was smart the way he was applying the “sneak attack” method, where he would wait for things to get bad for the Obama Campaign, run in, explain why Obama was wrong and how he would do things better, and run out before anyone got a chance to ask him aboot running. I felt it helped re-brand himself as “Mr. Fix It.”
Then came the perfect storm of the Tea Party “movement” taking a stand against the establishment Washington (which isn’t a good place for any “heir apparent” to be), and the debacle known as ObamaCare…which many people thought bared a striking resemblance to RomneyCare, the health care plan he passed as Governor of Massachusetts. He even started to get attacked on it by future opponent Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Then came ANOTHER prefect storm…Republican Scott Brown winning Ted Kennedy’s senate seat. Yes, the same Massachusetts that was once Governed by Mitt Romney. Suddenly, the Republican Party in the Northeast isn’t as dead as it once was. So what now for the Romney 2012 campaign? Besides a book tour, an appearance on (sigh) “The View,” and his annual appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)…apparently on the agenda is learning from past mistakes:
In retrospect, Team Romney believes their strategy was in error, according to some who are familiar with the campaign’s post-election brainstorming. Although exit polls showed that he did well among the most ideological conservatives — particularly those most adamantly opposed to McCain’s immigration-reform stance — he was not able to win over religious Christian conservatives. That left him unable to make up for sacrificing the votes of relatively moderate primary-goers.
In a nutshell, he made himself too conservative for blue-state Republicans, who opted for McCain, but wasn’t conservative enough for red-state conservatives, who opted for Mike Huckabee. “He was a Massachusetts moderate who tried to be a hard-right conservative,” says one Republican strategist. “It turned out he probably would have been better off sticking with what he was — Mr. Fix-It.”
No Apology, and a series of planned speeches Romney will give during his book tour, will drive home that shift in emphasis. Advance word on the book, plus an audio excerpt released on the Web, make clear that it avoids those topics, and focuses on Romney’s vision of maintaining America’s fiscal and military superiority. Interestingly, this latest incarnation is probably the closest we have seen to the “real” Mitt Romney — who close observers believe doesn’t care much about social issues, isn’t very ideological, and revels in applying management skills to large organizations to help them achieve their goals and functions.
Several Republicans, including some who know Romney well, say that, if he runs in 2012, it will be much more as his true self than what he presented in 2008.
Basically, “Let Romney Be Romney,” what most people think he should have done a few years ago. Whether or not it’ll work or not is still open to debate. Now that our fortunes are starting to turn for the better in 2010 I’m not as focused on 2012. Cats like Rick Lazio and John Kaisch need our attention more than Romney does. Still, it’ll be interesting to see where this goes and what exactly “Let Romney Be Romney” actually means.