Sunday, February 14, 2010


David Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix has reviewed Mitt Romney's book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, which will hit the stores on March 2 -- and, well, a few bits of it do sound like red meat for the drooling masses in his party:

He is convinced (although I'm not sure why) that Barack Obama's open engagement with the world will plunge us from our perch -- what with Obama's acknowledgement of American mistakes, his willingness to negotiate with hostile nations, and his elevation of such concerns as "common interest of human beings," and "mutual respect" and "mutual interests" among nations.

Romney claims that this is already responsible for America's "flagging popular appeal" around the globe....

But the rest of the book, if the review is to be believed, seems like a political suicide note:

The ranting right-winger Romney we saw through much of the 2008 campaign is largely absent from this book. He makes only brief mention of abortion or homosexuals, or even the illegal-immigration issue with which he hammered John McCain. The momentary populist spasm that led him to vow to save every Michigan auto worker's job has been shunned; so has the weird enthusiasm for torture....

And, unlike most of his prominent Republican contemporaries, Romney doesn't once call anyone a socialist in this book. He barely even has a bad word for the media.

He wants to be the GOP nominee in three years. What the hell is he thinking?

But wait -- he says some things that are even more self-sabotaging:

- "Climate change is occurring," and is caused at least in part by human activity. "Global warming is a real and present danger."

- The 2008 TARP bank bailout was necessary and "did in fact keep our economy from total meltdown." ...

- The financial meltdown was not merely the fault of Democrats and poor people....

- A stimulus package "was called for" after the late-2008 economic downturn, and the Democrats' stimulus "will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery."

- Privatizing Social Security would be a mistake; any creation of individual accounts should be voluntary, and in addition to Social Security.

- The "Fair Tax" would save money for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, and is therefore "not an outcome that will or should gain traction with the American people."

Thanks for playing, Mitt. Within your party, you'll be in 2012 what Joe Lieberman was in the Democratic field in 2004.

Now, I know what he's thinking: that all the other candidates will split the crazy/angry vote and he'll grab the dwindling remnant of the party that isn't completely bonkers and beside itself with rage. Hey, it was enough to get John McCain nominated in '08, right?

But I suspect that, as with the Democrats in '04, the frustration with the people in power will be so great that a contrarian candidate is just going to be roadkill. For Dems in '04, that meant the crypto-Republican Lieberman; for Republicans three years from now, it will mean a guy who has even a few ideas that aren't clinically insane.

And if Romney does somehow survive the primaries following the McCain path? He's going to have to put the barkingest lunatic in the party on the ticket to have any chance whatsoever of motivating the base in the fall.

Romney/Bachmann 2012?

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