Friday, November 2, 2012

In defense of ... President Romney?

FRANKLY, I'M SURPRISED that conservative pundit David Frum has just endorsed Mitt Romney for president. I respect and admire Frum. Though a Republican, he's never been afraid to call a spade a spade in his frequent attacks against his own party. At bottom, Frum is a sane pragmatist, one noted for casting a wary eye at political ideologues in either camp. But his arguments in support of Romney over Obama are epically convoluted. Frum has convinced himself that the real Romney is "Massachusetts Mitt," a fellow who will cast off the Tea Partyists and govern from the middle as president. In other words, Romney will be a rational actor, a Republican Obama, if you like. Right. As I have noted many times in these pages, I, too, suspect that Romney, in his heart of hearts, is essentially a centrist. In a perfect political vacuum, he might even govern like one. But the world is not a void. His White House anterooms will be filled with those Oz-like flying monkeys (along with their GOP political/ideological/cultural detritus) moments after the Big Bang on Inauguration Day. And then there's Romney's apparent hollowness. Though he is not exactly an empty suit, I can detect no core convictions in the man. I mean, does anyone really believe Romney has a clear sense of mission other than just wanting to be top dog as president? Mix in his lack of intellectual curiosity and sophistication and, well, we have a prescription for a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. One LA Times writer noted: "Apparently, Romney is like a lot of people: He reads for pure escapism. Good and evil are pretty clearly defined in most of the books he likes. Life is simpler." Remind you of anyone? Hint: His middle initial is "W." Do we really want to stun the world by dethroning a president who enjoys "Macbeth" for an untested man whose favorite novel is L. Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" (universally panned as dreck)? How Frum can rationalize all of this away is simply beyond me.

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