Carol Platt Liebau: Romney "Finds His Voice"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Romney "Finds His Voice"

Just a brief and hurried post from D.C. . . .

The importance of Mitt Romney's win can't be overestimated. Despite the wishful thinking of his supporters, anything less than the "blue ribbon" would have sent a worrisome message that even with vast sums spent on his behalf, he was somehow unable to connect with voters. Clearly, that wasn't the case -- and Romney's win was significant, among different stripes of Republicans and even independents. (Those who support John McCain because of the theory that he will attract independents to the Republican ticket should be aware of the fact that the huge independent turnout that would have possibly helped McCain come closer to Romney never materialized, and that's even without a contested race on the Democratic side).

What was also important was what Romney did with his victory. His demeanor was easier, more informal and frankly, more likable than anything we've seen in the campaign. He spoke in shirtsleeves, and from the heart -- seeming less like a brilliant, wealthy technocrat and more like a normal guy who was just delighted with having won. This Romney is a guy who could connect with people.

Finally, issue templates matter. I'm willing to bet that the upcoming election is going to turn more on the economy than on Iraq. That's because things are turning around in Iraq, so the Democrats aren't going to want to talk about it. It's also because a female nominee like Clinton realizes that her weak point might be appearing like a credible Commander-in-Chief, and an inexperienced nominee like Barack realizes that his inexperience is more glariest -- and scariest -- in the foreign policy arena. To the extent that some in the press lean left, they, too, will be more anxious to cover the "faltering Bush economy" than the increasing success in Iraq.

When the economy is the issue, Romney is the guy. What's more, he's from outside the Beltway and equipped to talk about the future. To the extent McCain has a message, it's that "I was right about the surge." He was, and he's a great American. But what's he going to do in the future? After all, as no one knew better than Ronald Reagan, elections are about the future, and not about hte past.


Blogger Greg said...

Romney's vicotry speach had some great applause lines. Yet several times he seemed so excited that he stepped on the applause.

I can understand that, considering the tremendous pressure to win and the extreme relief at having done so.

I hope his future victory speaches allow plenty of time for the crowd to voice their enthusiasm!

11:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home