analysis: Romney outflanks Romney

The timesonline.uk.co describes Romney as a “draconian conservative.”

Romney himself proposes “doub[ling] Guantanomo.”

Question: Is Romney attempting to distance himself from

Or: is Romney attempting to outflank his opponents, e.g. Guiliani, on the right?

Here is the problem with the flank-from-the-right hypothesis. Generally, in a debate or a dispute, when you attempt to occupy discursive (argumentative)  ground either to the right or to the left of your opponent, you immediately pivot to center. The center is where, and what, you want to hold. Here would be a flanking maneuver against an across the board tax-cutter: we are for tax cuts too, larger ones, but our proposed cuts are fairer and more highly targeted. The goal of a flanking maneuver: to make inroads into your opponents base without alienating your own. You generally do not want to be perceived as extreme (or “draconian,” as the Times UK calls Romney).

Romney, however, seizes the right and pivots not to center, but further right, and at precisely the historical moment when the political right itself is in grim disarray as argued by Peggy Noonan here, a columnist Romney cites with fawning approval.

The result? Instead of drawing distinctions by staking out ground and building a center, Romney occupies the right and sweeps further right where, at the moment, there exists only empty space—Romney is out there all by himself—e.g. he wants to “double Guantanomo” at a time when even the Bush White House is reevaluating its commitment to Guantanomo.

But why? Bad data? Bad advice? A wildly inaccurate analysis of the current historical moment? Father issues? Or is he simply not as politically or rhetorically adept as his supporters believe that he is?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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