In Search of Romney

Mitt Romney, last time I checked, is running for president. But he’s determined to stay out of the spotlight for now.

Guess what? It’s not working. Instead, he’s drawing a bunch of stories about how he’s running by not running—which muffles any message about why he’s running.I ran into the Team Romney mindset some weeks ago when I called his spokesman, who informed me that his main goal was to avoid 2012 stories about the boss.Now there are rational reasons for this. The sooner Romney gets out there as a candidate on the hustings, the sooner the media scrutiny intensifies. Perhaps more important, the boredom factor rises over time and he looks less like a fresh face. The long slog of 2007 and 2008 convinced the Romneyites that there was no percentage in gearing up too soon.Still, the former Massachusetts governor is the closest thing the GOP has to a front-runner, and journalists are not going to be denied. So you get stories like this one in the Boston Globe:“This time around, as a still-unannounced but all but certain contender, his strategy seems strikingly different: Don’t make noise. Be the grown-up in the mix. Dare, for the moment, to be typecast as dull.”And this one in the New York Times: “Mr. Romney himself has been scarce, with only one public campaign event in all of March. While other likely Republican contenders have actively sought attention, he has purposefully avoided it. His approach should not be seen as ambivalence; it is just that he is not eager for the campaign’s glare to begin a moment sooner than it must.“This time, Mr. Romney is trying a less-is-more strategy.”Romney can afford to wait, since he’ll have no problem raising money, but this is a missed opportunity to solidify his standing as the businessman best equipped to turn the economy around. On the other hand, no one will care six months from now that he sat on his hands in March and April.