I’m glad Romney trounced Gingrich, not least because Gingrich is no more conservative than Romney, but he thinks a bombastic style makes him the second coming of Robert Taft. Reagan did not have a bombastic style. He was funny, witty, and forceful. William F. Buckley did not have a bombastic style. He was patrician, brilliant, and likeable. But somehow “anger at the man” is supposed to define a conservative. It does not. Most real conservatives look, think, and comport themselves like Romney.
That said, I’m not so confident he can avoid his gaffes. He’s the businessman’s candidate, and businessmen think and talk like this. They don’t relate to or care about the poor. They think most people are poor due to antisocial behaviors or extremely low IQs. Yet he ignores the role of unemployment and the housing crisis pushing formerly middle class people into the ranks of the poor. Like old antebellum Southern families, they’re holding onto their fine china and family heirlooms as they move from homes into apartments and friends’ and relatives’ couches. Romney needs to connect the dots a little better. He’s smart enough, that I think if he just reads a few dozen books–which he could–on basic conservative theory and rhetoric he could become a powerhouse. His center is kind of mushy. It’s disturbing his ideas are so inchoate at this stage in his life. Going for him, we can say he’s an establishment kind of guy, patriotic, and averse to major changes. He’s put off by Obama’s radicalism, but in exchange he will not substitute his own conservative radicalism, as he doesn’t have it. This is still preferable, but he needs to remember he’s running for President of the United States, not GE, and that lots of his potential voters care about things like abortion or guns-sent-to-Mexico or affirmative action that he’d prefer not to talk about. Indeed, they care ten times more about that than capital gains rates, as they’re sub-$100K W2 workers who simply would like to see more opportunity for themselves and their children.