Mitt Romney and GOP quest for anyone but him
Mitt Romney has run an impressive presidential campaign by most traditional measures. But he is struggling against the tides of the tea party. Republicans want a revolutionary, not a realist.
So, what is Mitt Romney to make of all this?Skip to next paragraph
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It would seem the most sought-after title in the Republican Party these days is: top presidential candidate not named Mitt Romney.
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota enters the field. She wins the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa this August. She gets Tina Brown at Newsweek to put a ridiculous picture of her on the cover (a distinction usually reserved only for Sarah Palin). Flavor of the month: moose tracks?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry enters the field. Immediately, he's so far ahead in national polls that that "objects in rearview mirror are larger than they appear" thing doesn't even help. He's got the wink. He's got the poker references. He raises gobs of cash. Flavor of the month: fossil fuel?
So now there's Herman Cain. He's got more Americans doing math than NASA. He's got a cover on Newsweek, too, and Ms. Brown is even calling him the "anti-Obama." (You wish they'd be calling you that.) One poll says he's the front-runner, he seems to have the whole debate thing down, and he's even given himself his own ice cream flavor: black walnut, because "it tastes good all the time."
Compared with that, you and your 59-point economic plan and studied manner and middle-of-the-road policies look, well, vanilla.
With each passing week, it is ever more apparent that for Mr. Romney, Election 2012 is both the perfect moment and the wrong moment.
It is perfect in that President Obama, at this moment, is vulnerable. Afghanistan makes him vulnerable. His inability to manage Washington effectively makes him vulnerable. The economy makes him very vulnerable.