Is Mitt Romney too wimpy to be president?
That’s the (purposely) provocative question Newsweek asks on its cover this week. It’s a question sure to stir controversy — and one without an easy answer.
Newsweek seems to define Romney’s alleged “wimpiness” as a sort of wide-ranging insecurity that forces the Republican presidential candidate into a series of gaffes like the ones he committed in London late last week.
When a national magazine publishes on its front cover speculation that a major party candidate does not have the right stuff to be President (and said story is picked up by its erstwhile sister national publication), ballgame's over.
Romney will now be forced into even deeper gaffe territory, scrambling to prove Newsweek wrong. He claims it doesn't matter, but many independent voters do still read magazines and newspapers like Newsweek and the Washington Post, and the question is now in their minds.
You can try to ignore it, much like Sarah Palin did when Katie Couric deconstructed her on national television, and that will play to the base (I can hear the rightwing machine churning gears already...Michael Tomasky is a dyed-in-the-wool lefty reporter) but not to the portion of the electorate you desperately need to either turn out or stay away in droves.
And since you can't control the crackpots on the right, well, this election is going to mirror the 1992 election in so many ways. There, Pat Buchanan threw red meat to the base and ended up making Bill Clinton a credible candidate despite the Gennifer Flowers story and the "I didn't inhale" story.
We looked at the wimp, looked at the fact he couldn't get Buchanan to rein it in for a night, and looked at the out of touch patrician of the past four years with gaffes galore and realized this was not a man we could trust in the midst of a recession.
About the only way Romney has been steadfast and stalwart is in hiding his taxes and lying about his time at Bain Capital, which is hardly a courageous position to take (although one could make the argument that it's a bold one.) Add to that the numerous foreign policy slip ups and the fundraising on foreign soil and you start to get the picture of desperation and insecurity.