Hit By Mitt
We may have gotten a little preview today of a potential 2012 presidential match-up. I am referring to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s scorching op-ed piece in USA TODAY, in which he excoriates President Obama for a lack of leadership on the BP oil spill disaster. The gist of Romney’s argument is that Obama has spent too much time assigning blame to others, instead of providing a much needed umbrella of executive leadership on the ground in the Gulf region.
Whatever the political motives driving Romney’s decision to offer this opinion piece right now, I must say that he is shrewd to couch his criticism of Obama in the need for a president to transcend partisan politics during times of crisis. This approach allows him to cite presidents from both parties as examples of leaders who have risen to the occasion during earlier moments of national peril. Romney even throws in a little sympathy for former Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, a Louisiana native who has been unusually outspoken (even for him) in his criticism of President Obama’s response to the spill. Romney’s op-ed strikes me as a clever piece of political rhetoric, precisely because it draws its rationale from his stated intention of transcending politics.
You should also note that Romney manages to slip the word turnaround into his piece, an intentional (if oblique) reference to his own reputation as a problem-solver in the world of big business. In doing so, he is essentially offering himself up as an alternative leader with the experience and know-how to tackle complex problems, without actually coming out and saying it. He probably figures that there will plenty of time for that in 2012.
Note: I’ll be away from the website tomorrow and Monday, and back posting on Tuesday. -Dean

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