Advancing a Free Society

The Candidates Act Like Themselves

Friday, December 16, 2011

A good debate that reminds us by now that all that was to be said has already been said.

Romney was Romney: He didn’t do any damage to either Gingrich or Perry, nor did any candidate draw blood from him. Pundits can assess whether his continual tortoise-like slow and steady consistency is winning the race as the other hares race ahead only to fade. I think his strategy now is still to seem staid, sober, and judicious, and to outsource attacking Gingrich to hundreds of critics who far better are pointing out the latter’s contradictions that are not limited to the past, but seem to grow organically. Romney does best when he is not on the attack, but is explaining the private sector and faulting Obama. He is now getting much better at explaining away his two vulnerabilities — the flip-flopping charge and the Massachusetts health-care plan. We have arrived at a weird state in which we would rather listen to and cringe at an exciting and sometimes loose-cannon Gingrich than to a more reliable Romney. My sense is that Gingrich surges ahead each debate, then like the tide falls back as yet another op-ed points out yet another past or present contradiction.

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