It sure sounds like Mitt Romney is running for president again, or at least auditioning for that much-discussed vacancy at the head of the Republican Party. I watched with great interest yesterday morning, as the former Massachusetts governor cranked it up to full campaign mode during his interview with George Stephanopoulos on This Week.
For me, a politician is in full campaign mode when he demonstrates an inability to say anything positive at all about the opposition. If you read the interview transcript, you’ll find nary a positive word about the Obama Administration in its pages. At one point it sounded as though Romney was about to praise President Obama on some aspect of his Cairo speech, but those remarks quickly turn into a backhanded compliment designed to suggest that Obama is a weak supporter of Israel.
Perhaps even more indicative of Romney’s being in full campaign mode was the health care discussion, where in just a few paragraphs he used the word “wrong” no fewer than five times to characterize President Obama’s proposals. His health care riffing had a classic campaign sound bite feel to it...terrible for hospitals...awful for doctors...a disaster for the people. You may have also heard some opponents talk about Obama’s public choice program as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent for a national single-payer system. Romney managed to one-up this slippery slope metaphor with an even more ominous Trojan Horse reference.
All of this is not to suggest that Romney shouldn’t have strong policy disagreements with the Obama Administration. That is to be expected. But his performance yesterday morning struck me as being ramped up a few notches too high for this point in the long presidential election cycle. I have written fairly recently that Romney is in surprisingly good shape to make a run at his party’s nomination, but after yesterday’s appearance he really should consider pacing himself a bit. There will be plenty of time to slash and burn after the 2010 midterm elections.
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