In Defense of Romney
By DAVID BROOKS
Over the past several months, Mitt Romney has been an excellent presidential candidate. He has performed superbly in the debates. He has outorganized his rivals. He has relentlessly stayed on his core theme of putting Americans back to work. He has taken Rick Perry apart with a cold ruthlessness that is a wonder to behold.
And throughout this period of excellence, he has done almost nothing to endear himself to Republican activists. They have spent this season of excellence searching for anyone else: Palin, Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and now (Please! Please!) Christie. On Nov. 4, 2010, Romney earned the support of 23 percent of Republican voters, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Today, he also has support from 23 percent of Republicans nationwide.
The central problem is that Mitt Romney doesn’t fit the mold of what many Republicans want in a presidential candidate. They don’t want a technocratic manager. They want a bold, blunt radical outsider who will take on the establishment, speak truth to power and offend the liberal news media.
They don’t want Organization Man. They want Braveheart.
It’s exciting to have charismatic leaders. But often the best leaders in business, in government and in life are not glittering saviors. They are professionals you hire to get a job done.
The strongest case for Romney is that he’s nobody’s idea of a savior.