National Review has an insider's preview of Mitt Romney's debate performance tonight. The preview's upshot--this is my take, obviously, and not NR's--is that Romney is being so overloaded by advisers and consultants with so many distinct incompatibilities and indeed human impossibilities, he'll be lucky if he remembers his name.
For instance, there's this. "Romney’s advisers have a simple strategy: They want their candidate to balance his finely tuned arguments with personal warmth."
Beyond question, the strategy is exceedingly simple. Its execution by an unremittingly awkward politician of no discernible human attributes, however, may prove problematic.
There's also the swagger of self-delusion among the candidate's advisers and supportive media which appears to be every bit as clinically severe as Romney's. What is it he'll balance his "personal warmth" with? "His finely tuned arguments."
Come, come, no tittering. NR is quite serious:
The Romney-Ryan campaign has been getting wonky this month, with Paul Ryan holding town-hall meetings and clicking through PowerPoint slides in swing states. Romney, a self-professed policy guy, also enjoys getting into the weeds on health care and economics.
NR remains embedded in the WonkMyth. To a certain extent this failing is forgivable, in that having helped invent the myth, NR now finds its imprisoning preposterousness to be inescapable. But, guys, the mere act of "clicking through PowerPoint slides" makes an ideological flimflammer a wonk not, and Romney's understandably feeble stumblings at proving $2 trillion is actually $5 trillion if, like a resurrected nation of Reagan-like Tinkerbells, we simply hope and trust and believe hard enough, well ...
It's this concluding passage, though, that leaps at you like a pitiably self-deceived Nureyev:
Romney’s campaign sees the first debate as more than a contest to win on points. They want to introduce Romney to the country.
OK, there's only a month to go and Romney is trailing something like 91 points in critical "battleground" states like Ohio and the campaign is just now getting around "to introduc[ing] Romney to the country." Oh my.