I’ve wondered for months now whether or not Mitt Romney ‘gets it.’
Does he know how to run a campaign so that he wins on the ideas that he should be winning on?
I’m starting to believe that he does.
In a recent interview with CNN Money, he laid out a more detailed plan for how he’d deal with the tax code.
He insisted that the Tax Policy Center, who concluded his plan would raise taxes on everyone but the rich, was “garbage” because the TPC made assumptions about his plan that simply weren’t true.
Romney has been somewhat coy about what, specifically, he’d do in terms of closing tax loopholes and making sure his plan was revenue neutral, but his point over and over has been that he will figure out a way to do it.
Frankly, a guy as smart as he is – this guy is a dual Harvard graduate and a math wonk, I have faith – should be able to if he’s given the time to put something extensive and comprehensive together.
But that’s not what impressed me about that CNN interview.
It was that Romney took a pointed criticism from the reporter, one that had been backed up by an independent source, answered it effectively and efficiently, then turned it on Obama.
Romney points out that the same Tax Policy Center concluded that Obama’s plan would actually raise taxes on middle class families by a considerable amount, repeated that ObamaCare was a tax, and then says unequivocally that he will not raise taxes on the middle class period.
(Of course, this New York Times article on Romney’s plan fails to mention the comparison to that of Obama)
That is what being an effective politician looks like.
President Obama is the better orator, is the more likeable guy and has the better “street cred” with athletes, musicians and the Hollywood liberal elite.
You’d be hard-pressed to argue that Romney isn’t the more seasoned legislator, the more experienced political leader, and the most decorated policy-maker in this election.
But that doesn’t make him the best politician necessarily, because he will have to do the little things like answer these types of questions in the way he just did.
Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t always been so eloquent, but rather has been prone to misspeak, or at least speak with less ferocity and pointedness.
Perhaps it is the arrival of Paul Ryan as his running mate, or the fact that Romney is realizing this campaign is eminently winnable, but something in him may be shifting.
And it will need to.
Political rhetoric will only ramp up from here and Romney will have a slew of debates to try and take on Obama in the realm where he beat down John McCain in 2008.
If Romney can show he’s up to the task and at least hold his own in Obama’s arena, he may convince enough people in the middle that he can also stand up to the challenges we face in this country.
For starters, fixing the damage down by a wildly ineffective, but burgeoning federal government.