I’ll take the smart kid

January 6, 2008 at 4:41 pm 4 comments

I like this post from Time.com’s Michael Scherer:

Here’s one thing you need to know about John McCain. He’s always been the coolest kid in school. He was the brat who racked up demerits at the Naval Academy. He was the hot dog pilot who went back to the skies weeks after almost dying in a fire on the U.S.S. Forrestal. His first wife was a model. His second wife was a rich girl, 17 years his junior. He kept himself together during years of North Vietnamese torture and solitary confinement. When he sits in the back of his campaign bus, we reporters gather like kids in the cafeteria huddling around the star quarterback. We ask him tough questions, and we try to make him slip up, but almost inevitably we come around to admiring him. He wants the challenge. He likes the give and take. He is, to put it simply, cooler than us.

Now here’s the thing you need to know about Mitt Romney. He is the overachiever, the do-gooder, the kid in class who always does everything right. All his life he has outperformed, as a Mormon missionary in France, as a corporate takeover consultant, as the guy who saved the Winter Olympics from financial ruin. He works crazy hours and apologizes after he makes a joke, because he is worried you won’t understand his meaning. He is the one who takes endless notes in every class and has a little plastic container inside his locker for all of his mechanical pencils. He will probably be the valedictorian, and he will surely disappoint you at graduation by giving a bland speech that all the parents just love. “Isn’t that boy so sweet,” say all the moms.

So here is the situation that Republicans in New Hampshire face on Tuesday: Do we elect the jock or the overachiever? Do we go with cool and confident, or cautious and competent?  It’s an analogy that doesn’t hold up in every scenario and doesn’t characterize the candidates with total accuracy, but it works. Personally I find competence compelling by itself. There is something great about excellence. It may appear bland, but is that because it is of itself unremarkable? Or is it that we expect nothing less from such a person? Try as you might to claim that campaign pronouncements mean much more than the paper they are printed on (or the blogs they are posted on), the real proof is in how the candidates have lived and worked. I don’t think anyone can question Mitt’s competence, just as we don’t question McCain’s bravery or Huckabee’s…uh…weight loss?Likewise with the Democrats there is not a one that has been as effective in the private sector as Mitt has been, short (maybe) of slimy Trial Lawyer Edwards. Unfortunately for the Edwards, his senate tenure was extremely unremarkable.So like I said above, I’ll take the smart kid. Check out Scherer’s whole post for his great jab at Huckabee.


Entry filed under: Commentary, Mitt Romney, Politics. Tags: .

Theoretical Mitt I’m Against Change

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lowdogg  |  January 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I’m sorry this post looks like crap.

    No me gusta el WordPress.

  • 2. lemare  |  January 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Lowdogg – I played with your formatting.

    Interesting thoughts from Scherer. I, too, hesitate to say anything negative about John McCain’s military service because he is absolutely an American hero. However, he’s not up to the task with economic policy (not even close). Furthermore, he’s hinting at being able to get the job done with only one term (due to the fact that he is SUPER old). Why on earth would a party elect someone who wasn’t going to run as an incumbent in 4 years?

  • 3. Sportsattitude  |  January 6, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Lemare – I was curious about John’s one-term strategy when I first heard of it, but in a bizarre way I think it makes sense for his particular campaign. He’s positioning himself as just needing four years to make amends for W’s “minor” errors, making it seem as though the nation just needs a few tweaks to get it going again…then he will turn the reins over to his V.P. (whomever that will be…hmmmm?) to continue the “Republican” way. Not sure if its a winning strategy or not, but maybe someone has convinced him it’s only “thinking outside the box” that will possibly get him elected.

  • 4. Joey  |  January 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I’m with LeMare, except that I have no problem speaking ill of John McCain, insofar as it is still legal to speak ill of him, given that infamous and terrifying assault on free speech rights, McCain-Feingold. McCain-Feingold, I’m afraid, shall not receive forgiveness in this world or in the next.

    McCain’s thin-skinned cry-babyism also demonstrates a certain antipathy towards people’s saying things of which the Senator does not approve. I am grateful for his sacrifices, but serving in a war does not give one the right to limit political speech or, for that matter, to raise my taxes.

    His economic policies, including his views on the Bush taxes, long may they stand, are unacceptable. And his long-held position on free trade is un-Republican. The idea of term limits
    seems more germane to Congress, which, by design, is to be responsive to the people. I cannot imagine why Republicans would forego the benefits of incumbency, or why we would suddenly trust the four years is EVER long enough to fix ANYTHING. Something profoundly unconservative about that sentiment.


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