Mitt Romney's favored communication medium in the run-up to his second presidential campaign has been the op-ed column, with sometimes unexpected results, since expounding in such a sober medium allows him to avoid distracting questions from other elements of the media.
Today, though, he is the focus of a blistering editorial in The Wall Street Journal, which carries the unflattering headline, "Obama's Running Mate."
The editorial, which included a trademark Journal stipple portrait of the former Massachusetts governor, runs across two columns and consumes two-thirds of the space usually allotted to editorials written from a conservative perspective.
The core criticism: That Romney failed in 2006, when he signed a universal health care law for Massachusetts predicated on the belief that universal coverage would pay for itself if health care money was reallocated toward insurance premiums and away from free coverage in emergency rooms.
The Journal argues that has not happened, and Romney set a dangerous precedent for the federal universal health care law signed last year by President Obama, the Democrat he wants to unseat next year.
"For a potential president whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw," the Journal writes. "Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on 'data.' Mr. Romney's highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.
"More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket," the editorial concludes.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.