Romney huffs, puffs, and struts even as his poll numbers sag, lag, flag, and drag–is it a sickness, or a strategy? You decide!

Romney’s capering “belied” by his single-digit poll numbers, argues the estimable Loren R. Dorgan of the Concord Monitor in a story titled Romney’s words leave primary behind:

With new stump speech lines like the one comparing Hillary Clinton’s economic ideas to Marxism, Mitt Romney has stepped up his rhetoric in the presidential race – and he’s training his fire not on this race, but the next one.

Analysts say that’s a strategy that carries some risks but serves two goals: First, the former Massachusetts governor is making red-meat headlines aimed at the Republican Party’s conservative base. Second, the new tack conveys the impression that he is already the front-running candidate and has moved his focus beyond the primary – a notion belied by polls that have him running in the single digits nationally. He does, however, lead in several New Hampshire polls.

In the first 15 minutes of his stump speech in Franklin yesterday morning, Romney had sharply criticized Clinton and fellow leading Democrats Sen. Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards, but he didn’t mention a single opponent in his primary race.

Romney has pared his campaign message down to two words: Big vs. strong. He extols the former: Strong military, strong economy, strong families.

“Democrats look and they say, ‘Oh, we’ve got problems. We need big government, big brother, big taxes,’ ” Romney told a crowd of about 45 senior citizens at the Franklin’s Trip Center yesterday. “That’s the wrong way. That’s where Europe went. That’s what got them the economic challenges they had” … more

So the Romney strategy reduces to ruse and subterfuge, as we have discussed at length. See:

Anderson: “Romney is going to find himself strapped for cash soon and will need to put more and more of his own money into the campaign”

-or-

Rizo of AHN: “Romney Trails GOP Rivals, Takes Swipes At Clinton”

Note also the strange trope in the form of a distinction. Big versus strong? What!? Is big not a species of strong? Or: strong not a species of big? Can a thing not be big and strong? Or strong and big? Or small and strong; or big and efficient?

Romney:

They want big things like they have in Europe.

I want strong things, and I want them right here!

This is the brilliant rhetorician that the Mittwits prate about? These are the best arguments that his “vast personal fortune” could purchase?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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