By John Feehery - 12/12/11 11:53 PM EST
The New York Times had an interesting exposé over the weekend, delving into Mitt Romney’s deepest, darkest secret: He is a cheapskate.
Despite the fact that Romney has several large mansions scattered throughout the country, he throws nickels around like they were manhole covers, to paraphrase Mike Ditka’s immortal description of George Halas.
Mitt Romney has run the same kind of campaign that Hillary Clinton ran four years ago. He is running as the front-runner, somebody who already fully expects to be the nominee and is more worried about the general election than the primary fight.
He has laid out a 59-point plan to turn the economy around that I am pretty certain less than 1 percent of the country has read. He wrote a book that he keeps referring to in debates. I haven’t read it. Have you?
He talks about being a turnaround artist, an unfortunate turn of phrase when you consider that he has turned around on almost every issue important to Republican base voters. He says that he hasn’t been a career politician, but as Newt Gingrich pointed out, he would have been a career politician had he won his race against Ted Kennedy.
Romney seems to be a very competent leader who understands how the marketplace, the business world and state government work. And yet he can’t break through with the voters, and he is currently losing big time in most polls to a fatally flawed (from a campaign standpoint) Newt Gingrich.
Romney needs to build a better case for his election, a narrative that is more authentic, more revealing of the real Mitt Romney and more convincing to the voters.
The narrative must fit into this time we live in.
In a time of turmoil, we need steadiness and steeliness in our next president. We need a leader who won’t go off half-cocked and say something really stupid that can cause a global panic or a world war. We need a disciplined, hard worker who won’t shy away from getting his hands dirty in the middle of the legislative process. The Romney campaign has been very disciplined and Romney has a legendary work ethic. He rarely says anything stupid.
We need someone who understands the value of the taxpayer’s dollar, and will go to any length to make sure it is not wasted. It seems to me that a candidate who insists on flying Jet Blue to save money will be a pretty good steward of taxpayer money.
We need someone who has a history of working with Republicans, Democrats and independents in achieving big things. Romney did that pretty effectively in Massachusetts.
We are hiring the next president of the United States, not the next American CEO, so we have to have a better understanding of how Mitt Romney would do the job as leader of the free world. Does he have a proper understanding of what his role is as president? Will the office go to his head? Does he have delusions of grandeur that will only be made worse should he get to the White House? It seems that Romney is levelheaded, not a megalomaniac, not prone to self-aggrandizement. Romney would never imply that he is the one we have all been waiting for.
A huge part of being president is being a good negotiator. Negotiating with Capitol Hill is only one part of the job. A good president must successfully negotiate with his vice president, his Cabinet, with the business community, with organized labor, with the Europeans, the Chinese and the Russians every day. A good negotiator gets good deals and is able to move the process along. A good negotiator understands the importance of making big statements on occasion but doesn’t go to the brink every single time. That gets exhausting. Romney has great experience as a negotiator, whether it was doing deals with Bain Capital, saving the Olympics or governing the Bay State. That experience should be a plus.
The case for Mitt Romney is actually pretty strong. He has the temperament, the experience, the personal attributes and the philosophy to be an effective standard-bearer for the GOP. Now all he needs is the votes.
Feehery is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and spent 15 years working in the House Republican leadership. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com.