Where's Ann Romney when Mitt needs her? Stop it! Charles. This is hard. With all your roughhousing, somebody's going to get hurt, and if you've nothing nice to say about Mitt, then just say nothing at all.
But, it seems that Charles has an advanced case of Peggy-envy. The thought of somebody else getting all the post-apocalypse credit for demanding a New New New Nixon Romney at just the right-wing right moment is unendurable to Krauthammer, so he's addressing to the Romney camp what has become the sine qua non of pseudoconservative claptrap: the Go Big! Go Bold! advisory column.
Krauthammer, you see, is fearless. We know this by his criticism of Romney's "unwillingness to go big, to go for the larger argument." Want to know how a plucky pundit would characterize such a wimpy unwillingness? As "simply astonishing," that's how. Because Krauthammer is fearless.
It gets better. Much better. Krauthammer hustles some nifty ideas. First there's his vague suggestion that Romney should more aggressively adopt as policy another, say, $4 trillion interventionist abomination in the Middle East--you know, because that's not only the really smartly strategic thing to do, it's precisely what a war-starved, bigger-deficit-hungry electorate wants to hear. Right? I sense, however, that even Charles senses a few pitfalls in this theory, so he scurries on, to:
[Romney's] only momentum came when he chose Paul Ryan and seemed ready to engage on the big stuff: Medicare, entitlements, tax reform, national solvency, a restructured welfare state. Yet he has since retreated to the small and safe.
I guess Krauthammer thinks "larger argument" is one word; that with Big and Bold and Large and Larger there just naturally connects a winsome Argument. In other words, by virtue of going big, one goes boffo. And for a limited time Krauthammer might be right. Voters often admire what they see as political grit in a pol's proposed changes to, as Krauthammer highlights, Medicare, entitlements, taxes, national solvency and the welfare state--until voters realize that those originally sensible-sounding changes are in reality radically insane. Per Mitt, QED.
Krauthammer also peddles the mind-bending, "What Mitt giveth, Mitt taketh away," unsupplied supply-side shell game: "He has proposed cutting tax rates, while pledging that the share of the tax burden paid by the rich remains unchanged.... But how many people know this?"
Among his base, as few as possible, I should think Mitt is hoping. Because it's a self-cancelling supply-side proposal. In cutting the rates while boosting the share one is left with a wash--no effective change, no amplified capital, no more cash at the top to perhaps, maybe piss down on the peasants. Once again, Mitt's debating only himself. And Charles wants more of this?
Unaccustomed as I am to defending Mitt Romney, I've just got to say, He's not the one in denial here; he's not the one who's somehow, foolishly overlooking all the big, bold, large opportunities to be had in argument here. In fact he tried those arguments--the very arguments that you wingnuts, Charles, ruthlessly shackled him with--and with them, he went bust. Big time.
Oh, by the way. Want to know how many times Krauthammer suggests "jobs" as a campaign theme? 0.