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October 26, 2011

Romney Clarifies: I Support John Kasich on Budget/Labor Reforms

Good, I suppose, by a minimal definition of good.

Romney issued a statement long ago supporting these reforms.

So what happened here? Why did he not clearly re-state that support when asked about the initiatives?

I think this was one of the few moments when Romney, whose strongest suit is doing his homework, had forgotten to do his homework. I think he forgot what position he or his campaign had taken on the initiatives, and he really should have checked that beforehand. After all, he was visiting a call center making calls on behalf of the initiative. It's going to come up.

And, having forgotten his exact level of commitment to the issue, he offered up a series of semi-supportive but oddly distancing statements about it. ("It's up to the people of Ohio to decide," that sort of thing.)

So, three points:

1, he didn't do his homework here, and really the one thing I like about Romney is that he does his homework, so when he doesn't, it leaves me wondering what good he is at all.

2, not sure of what his previous statements were, he was cautious and disciplined and tried to offer a lukewarm response that he calculated, quite incorrectly, would get no press at all and would not cause him any consternation.

3, the Trouble with Romney. This last point illustrates why a lot of people are having trouble rallying to Romney. I am not going to knock caution and discipline per se. I think they're somewhat important, and currently under-valued in conservative politics. (Whereas "letting it rip" and so on are over-valued.)

But there's a point at which caution, which is defensible, becomes pure timidity, which is not. And it's worrying that, having forgotten his programmed strategy/position points, his natural inclination wasn't simply to say "Of course I support these reforms!"

If he'd forgotten his exact position, his brain would naturally next turn to his basic instincts to answer the question. And it's worrisome to a conservative that his instincts could not supply a good answer.

This is sort of basic stuff for conservatives. Isn't it?

It's worrisome that, when asked a question he's not fully prepared for but which should be easily answerable by relying on basic instincts and core ideological impulse, Romney comes up a bit empty and has to offer up a noncommittal answer.

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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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