I’m referring, of course, to former Massachusetts governor and presumptive 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, not to the former governor of New York and 1948 GOP presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey – who lost to Missouri haberdasher Harry Truman in an election so close as to be immortalized by the iconic photo of a triumphant Truman holding up a newspaper that proclaimed he had been defeated.Although I’m not a believer in reincarnation, I’m beginning to wonder if Der Mittmeister is a redux of The Little Man on the Wedding Cake.
In a nutshell, Dewey conducted his campaign as if he were the guest of honor at an afternoon tea. Truman, on the other hand, conducted his as if he was on the verge of getting his ass kicked in a saloon brawl. Naturally, he won.
Fast forward over 63 years and it appears we’ve landed smack in the middle of Groundhog Day, Part Whatever: Romney – who gleefully trashed his Republican primary opponents in some of the sleaziest and most underhanded attacks ads imaginable – has suddenly become Mr. Decorum when the object of opposition is a Democrat – an African-American Democrat to be precise. And here is where Der Mittmeister’s bumpy, gray RINO skin suddenly breaks out like a bad case of shingles: you see, the largely RINO, go-along-to-get-along, GOP Establishment is violently allergic to the thought of trashing anyone but Conservatives. Why is this? you ask. Simple: they fear the wrath of the Drive-By Media. They are terrified of being characterized as racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic/Islamophobic – you name the latest liberal outrage, and they will cower from it.
Conversely, they crave the praise of Drive-bys and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when they trash the Conservative Movement the liberal media establishment rewards them (briefly) with a Milk-Bone treat before re-activating the shock collar.
Hence the lump in my throat that forms whenever Romney backs down from any confrontation that establishes even the slightest evidence that he has moxy and a pair of brass Reagans. And it appears I’m not alone: most of the conservative base and a sizable portion of the conservative punditry – including the esteemed Jeffrey Lord of American Spectator – have the same lump in their throats that I do.
Whether they understand it or not, Team Romney is casting their candidate as 1948′s Thomas E. Dewey to Obama’s Harry Truman. Modeling their campaign after John McCain’s losing 2008 campaign instead of Ronald Reagan’s winning 1980 campaign. For all the close feelings between Romney and former President George H.W. Bush, Team Romney has apparently zero intention of learning the lessons of Bush’s come-from-behind 1988 victory over the liberal Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, a campaign piloted relentlessly by the late Reagan aide Lee Atwater.
Atwater, a skilled student of the famous Chinese strategist Sun-Tzu, ran the Bush 1988 campaign as Truman had run his own forty years earlier. To wit, as the man who acquired the nickname “Give ‘em hell Harry” well knew: attack, attack, attack.
This problem that already seems to be surfacing with Romney — but is not too late to reverse — is exactly what so many conservatives feared. Another election bumbled away or made unnecessarily close in the name of caution. This is a moderate Republican specialty, with Dewey the legendary example. When GOP nominees go down this path the results are foreordained.
You bet they are. I predicted a year ago that Romney would be the nominee. I also predicted that he would lose. Jeez…I wish I had this kind of accuracy picking winning lottery numbers.