From the right there seem to prevail two distinctly divergent assessments of the Romney campaign. The first, admirably outlined in Politico by Reagan-biographer Craig Shirley, gloomily accepts the cosmic gap between conservative principles and Mitt's politics:
No offense to Romney, but he is the perfect nominee for the Republican Party in 2012 because he — like the GOP — has adopted a variety of positions over the years in order to acquire power. The Etch A Sketch comment was stunningly accurate....
The job of the Republican Party is to deceive conservatives into handing over their support. This does not mean that conservatives can’t arrive at the conclusion that this choice is between the lesser of two evils.
But they should prepare to be disappointed.
Shirley ends on that deliciously vague, ambivalent note; he leaves it to the conservative reader to embrace the lesser of two evils--not that of Obama vs. Romney, but between a GOP nominee who ruthlessly stands for nothing and a GOP nominee who, if elected, would deliver a treacherous victory. If there's a line between Shirley's tonal resignation and the left's, there is more to be admired on Shirley's side. In politics, it is what it is, as it has always been, and shall always be, concedes Shirley, with a wistful wink at the inescapable compromises (some call them betrayals) committed by those we would deify.
So, from the right, that's one way of looking at and assessing the Romney campaign--the rather sophisticated view from the worldly conservative angle. And then there's the blind, bumptious and far more common pseusoconservatism of a Jennifer Rubin, who mostly thrashes about in a relentlessly unmitigated anti-Obama fever, devising new ways to reword the latest Romney talking points:
Much has been made about Romney’s shortcomings as a candidate. But judging from the Obama kickoff [one troubled fourfold, says Rubin, by unfilled stadiums, a sluggish recovery, "no — zero, zip, nada — positive message or agenda," and the disillusioned media who "are not the patsies they were in 2008"), the Romney campaign is miles ahead on messaging, substance and self-awareness.
Here, Rubin triumphantly and rather self-pleasingly covers all the relevant points but one: she misses the undeniable fact that Mitt Romney is simply unfit to be president.
Just last week alone--in just one week, mind you, that of Romney's own "kickoff"--the GOP challenger foolishly inserted himself in an international crisis in which a wise challenger would have recognized no presidential "shame" whatsoever; he foolishly belittled Obama's monumental decision to "GO!" in lethal pursuit of bin Laden; and, once again, he foolishly lied about the president's almost miraculous job-recovery accomplishments, given the determined hostility of Romney's own party.
And foolish men--especially those who seem intent on compounding their foolishness thrice weekly--are unfit to be president.
If I were a Republican, stuck as I would be with either a fool or an unprincipled cipher, I'd be as hooked on pain killers as Rush Limbaugh.