Everyone's talking about the Wall Street Journal editorial ripping into Romney today--an outcome the paper obviously wanted since it's not behind the paywall. Money grafs:
The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault. We're on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that "Obama isn't working." Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President's policies aren't working and how Mr. Romney's policies will do better.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is assailing Mr. Romney as an out-of-touch rich man, and the rich man obliged by vacationing this week at his lake-side home with a jet-ski cameo. Team Obama is pounding him for Bain Capital, and until a recent ad in Ohio the Romney campaign has been slow to respond.
Team Obama is now opening up a new assault on Mr. Romney as a job outsourcer with foreign bank accounts, and if the Boston boys let that one go unanswered, they ought to be fired for malpractice.
Well well well. I think this is getting attention for two reasons. First, everyone is presuming this is really Rupert talking, especially after those catty tweets of his last week. I guess this is probably so, although Paul Gigot and company are perfectly capable of throwing down in this fashion themselves. But Rupe adds intrigue, so there you are.
I find it amusing, because both sides (this is one thing that is certainly true of both sides) tend to grant far more genius to the other side than it actually has. This is one of the things that made Rove's reputation--liberals and journalists from the coasts, people to whom Rove was unusual and exotic, decided he must be a genius, even though he failed to win his first presidential election (except through the Supreme Court) and then became the mastermind behind one of the worst presidencies in the history of the republic.
Likewise, Murdoch and the Journal edit page think Obama's old Chicago hands are ball-busting geniuses. Don't they read me, and others of my ilk? We complain about Axelrod & co. all the time!
Anyway the Journal gets it wrong. The problem isn't Romney's staff. He's got a good staff. They're smart and disciplined from everything I can see. The problem is Romney. He obviously sent Eric Fehrnstrom out there to say it's a penalty. Then, he, Romney, not anybody else, caved to the right and decided to back away from that.
Dukakis was right about this one thing. The fish does rot from the head. He's a weak public figure. As I've said and written many times, and every revealing episode involving him reveals me to have been right: The main lesson he learned about public life--from his father's example--was that standing your ground is too costly and risky. Far better to be pliant and accommodating. So that's who he is. A liberal in Massachusetts, a right-winger in South Carolina, and so on. Pathetic.
Oh listen I keep forgetting to append this to posts. Are you following me on Twitter? Well, why not? That's where you get my best stuff! @mtomasky
When it comes to the topic of abortion in politics, there is no shortage of controversy. In reference to the major abortion bill being discussed by the House, watch these conservative politicians share their much-disputed viewpoints.
John Avlon on the war correspondent who never settled for anything short of the truth.