Concord Monitor: “When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney—If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we’ll know it—Mitt Romney is such a candidate.”
“If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit,” writes the monitor staff in an editorial titled Romney should not be the next president
You’d add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You’d pour in some old GOP bromides – spending cuts and lower taxes – plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.
Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.
Romney’s main business experience is as a management consultant, a field in which smart, fast-moving specialists often advise corporations on how to reinvent themselves. His memoir is called Turnaround – the story of his successful rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City – but the most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career.
If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you’d swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you’re left to wonder if there’s anything at all at his core …
… In the 2008 campaign for president, there are numerous issues on which Romney has no record, and so voters must take him at his word. On these issues, those words are often chilling. While other candidates of both parties speak of restoring America’s moral leadership in the world, Romney has said he’d like to “double” the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates have been held for years without formal charge or access to the courts. He dodges the issue of torture – unable to say, simply, that waterboarding is torture and America won’t do it.
When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we’ll know it.
Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no …
“The Monitor editorial board leans left, and the paper is often viewed as a liberal counterweight to the conservative Union Leader of Manchester,” writes Alec MacGillis for Wapo’s The Trail in a post titled Concord Monitor: Romney “Must Be Stopped”
But with its anti-Romney assault the paper finds itself on the same page as the Union Leader, which has endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination and followed that up with harsh editorial critiques of Romney. For Romney, this may be a case of familiarity breeding contempt — while his years as governor in the state next door may benefit him with some voters in New Hampshire, his proximity also means that close observers of his governorship are more aware than most of the discrepancies between his moderate record in Massachusetts and his rightward tilt on the campaign trail.
Romney’s rough handling from the New Hampshire press is coming as he is sees his months-long steady lead in the New Hampshire polls shrinking with the resurgence of McCain in New Hampshire, and the rise of Mike Huckabee in Iowa.
This weekend’s broadside from the Monitor is all the more striking given that Romney appeared to leave a good initial impression in his interview with the editorial board last month. An editorial that followed that meeting declared, under the headline “Romney has good grasp of nation’s problems”:
“At campaign events, Mitt Romney can come across as insincere. In presidential debates, his performance has been uneven. In his television ads, he seems too good to be true – too handsome, too rich, too articulate and too wholesome to have much in common with the people whose votes he seeks. But put him in a boardroom and Romney shines.
The former Massachusetts governor recently met with the Monitor’s editorial board. His performance was impressive. He is articulate and knowledgeable. He doesn’t come across as an ideologue – that would be tough given his history of changed positions – but as a pragmatist, a guy who gets things done. None of that was surprising. The surprise was that Romney, whose Mormon faith and mega-millions isolate him from the experience of many Americans, came across as a pretty regular guy.”
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden responded to the broadside by saying: “The Monitor’s editorial board is regarded as a liberal one on many issues, so it is not surprising that they would criticize Governor Romney for his conservative views and platform” … etc.
Only here is the problem, Madden. The Monitor criticizes Romney for his duplicity, not his alleged and oft-disputed “conservatism”.
This is a pattern for Romey: his F2F appearances tend to backfire on the hapless candidate. 2 other examples:
- Romney gets owned by Ron Paul at Conservative Leadership Conference; defeated decisively in straw poll despite fawning in-person appeal to the crowd—also, Romney riffs on a line by Howard Dean and gets lashed and lampooned by DNC and other GOP candidates
- out-of-touch Evangelical “leaders” stunned by Huckabee upset at the value voters summit—prepared to sigh, shrug, and coronate Romney as their Lord, G_d, and King—oh, the irony!