Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Just saw Mitt Romney announcing his candidacy for Presidency. He spoke from an auto museum in Michigan.

Romney is clearly trying to position himself as a conservative candidate with managerial expericence.

In speaking in a museum, surrounded by monuments to American innovation, Romney was seemingly trying to position himself as a candidate of modernity, of technology, but also someone who adheres very closely to more traditional, old-fashioned values. He also very much emphasized his experience outside of Washington, in contrast to, one assumes, Senators such as McCain, Brownback, Edwards, Clinton and Obama.

He opened by positioning himself immediately as a man compelled to seek the Presidency, as an outsider, because of problems in Washington. Hardly unusual, nearly every candidate in modern history tries this, so did Obama, a few days ago.

Romney cited Washington’s “bickering,” “bombast,” and “peddlers of influence.”

Then he marketing himself as someone who has “run something larger than a corner store.”

Taking on the mantle of man who had done things while others simply debate and position themselves, he said: “Talk is easy, talk is cheap.” He has been a man in “in the arena.”

Then he took pains to clearly emphasize his he’s pro-Christian, pro-life (anti-choice), anti-gay, anti-tax, and in favor of “securing our borders.”

Took what some would call a tough stand, describing a “radically violent jihad” as what America is facing and said, somewhat clumsily, “our best ally for peace in the world is a strong America.”

Then he took a softer turn, talking about the need for America to share, to help “Africa’s poor”, to support moderate muslims.

He said the U.S. should the “link arms with all responsible nations” to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

He painted a nightmarish scenario for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, saying “millions could die,” expanded Iranian influence, etc.

So he said, that as long as there is a reasonable prospect for victory, our wisest course is additional troops.

Closed with calling for a “New American dream, saying American families need all the help they can get. That means lower taxes, affordable health care, good schools, and “leaders with values and morality.”

“With freedom, nothing can hold us back”

[Scattered applause]


“Without freedom, nothing can hold us back.”


I had heard he was a good speaker. He was fine, but I was not overly impressed. He stumbled words several times, confused Iran and Iraq, and messed up his closing line. I would imagine even his supporters would say he needs a little work. Although you could say he looks like a movie version of a President.

Who are his supporters? I suppose people who see a Republican who managed to win in Massachusetts, a guy who’s willing to lean far right on social issues, but comes across more like a friendly banker or business executive than an evangelical. He touts his business experience, though clearly his foreign policy resume is thin.

With the disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, homeland security, Katrina, and problems in the U.S. economy, trade, infrastructure, schools, and more, “competence” is suddenly in. Maybe he’s not great speaker like Obama, or a veteran like McCain, maybe he lacks the vision thing, but his selling point, I would guess, will be “Competence Plus Values.”

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