August 21, 2012

"Comparative asymmetries "

I'm too busy to blog much, and this is one of last week's thoughts, from Richard Fernandez, Boom and Zoom Vs Turn and Burn:

Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast says that Mitt Romney had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove he wasn't an intellectually dead, boring white guy by standing up, just once, for his inner bipartisan self. Instead he blew it by caving in to the radical right. He could have come out and been cool for once; instead he stayed in the closet, clenched and constipated. "Think of it: The candidate will be running on his vice president's ideas! It's a staggering thought. Ryan might as well debate Obama this October, and Romney can square off against Biden."...

Of course the real leader is one who attracts and uses smart people with ideas. The job of the President is not to have ideas, it is to lead. And to show wisdom and sagacity in choosing which ideas to give scarce resources to. All that garbage in 2008 about how brilliant Obama was was in fact indicating that he is a poor leader. As we have in fact seen.

...The counterargument is that by picking Paul Ryan, Romney has decisively broken from Obama's policy path. The selection of Ryan means Romney is no longer running as Obama-lite. He's bet that the guys in no-man's-land don't want Government Cheese. They want a real job. They want a real future. They want to be citizens of the greatest country on earth again.

But that Tomasky even thought Romney would seriously consider running as a watered-down version of Obama should worry him.  Romney "broke" the unexpected way. He confounded Tomasky's conventional -- or pretended -- wisdom, which indicates that the Republican presidential candidate fully understands the comparative asymmetries in their respective platforms even if the liberals don't.

Romney won't play Obama's game. He will play to his strengths: the economy and the deficit. Romney calculates that this will have more potential energy than Obama's coalition, characterized by Cost as "dominated by racial and ethnic minorities, upscale white liberals (especially activist groups like the environmentalists and feminists), government workers, and young voters."

He won't fight the turning game, where the media throws out the talking point of the week and the seminar speakers go out and beat up on Mitt on all the TV shows. He's going to fight at the service station and the grocery story; and at every cash register where the sad truth is largely outside the power of the press to misrepresent.

Was that a mistake? Should Romney have chosen an ethnic candidate to play the ethnic game? Or a woman to play the gender game? Even though they might be qualified for the job? Or has Mitt Romney understood the essentials and showed up with an F6F Hellcat where Tomasky was expecting an F4F Wildcat to emerge from the clouds? The outcome of the choice will be revealed in November....
Posted by John Weidner at August 21, 2012 6:48 AM
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