In response to Michael Tomasky’s Newsweek cover story, “Mitt Romney’s Wimp Factor,” liberal blogger Ed Kilgore argues the following:
“Precisely because conservatives have abundant reasons not to trust him, along with abundant reasons to believe they can bully him, Romney will perpetually be in what I call the “primary phase” of his political career. And that will make him a weak president who is never quite the leader of his own political party. That’s why I was suggesting in an earlier post today that whatever names appear on the signs at the Republican Convention in Tampa and on the bumper stickers of all those red-state SUVs, the real ticket is Ryan-Romney. This has nothing to do with Romney’s ‘manliness’ or ‘wimpiness,’ and everything to do with the devil’s bargain that’s brought him to the brink of his Oval Office dreams. “
This of course was Grover Norquist’s point several months back – that it really wouldn’t matter whether or not a newly elected Republican president (clearly meaning Romney) actually agreed with the Ryan approach, since all he has to do is not veto the legislation that two Republican-led houses would send him after shutting down any Senate Democratic effort at a Senate filibuster. (BTW, I continue to believe that, even in this scenario, the Republicans would be sufficiently leery of public opinion not to take any major whacks either at tax expenditures or at Social Security and Medicare spending over the next five to ten years. But I know some Republicans who disagree with this prediction.)
But there is one thing being left out in this scenario – foreign policy, where Romney would have a free hand, at least so far as military action is concerned.
In that light, consider the following warning at the end of Tomasky’s article:
“But if Romney is elected? Be nervous. A Republican sure of his manhood had nothing to prove. Reagan was happy with a jolly little shoot-up in Grenada, and eventually he settled down to the serious work of arms control, consummating historic treaties with Mikhail Gorbachev. But a weenie Republican – look out. He has something to prove, needs to reassert that ‘natural’ advantage [i.e., the Republicans’ claim to be stronger than the Democrats on national security grounds]. That spells trouble more often than not.”
Even without the pop psychology, this strikes me as a very plausible account of where Romney may conclude that he needs to go – especially considering his rhetoric, behavior, apparent beliefs, and choice of associates in the foreign policy realm so far.