Sure, he at times does comes across as a weak, bland milquetoast. For instance, he likes to tell people, “Obama’s a nice guy, he’s just in over his head”, causing conservatives grit their teeth in frustration. No he’s not!
But as his opponents in the Republican primaries can tell you – Mitt Romney is a fierce competitor. His primary campaign was described as “scorched earth” for a reason, and to those of us not on Team Mitt, it was not a fun thing to watch. Many of us wondered if Romney was capable of employing the same amount of firepower against the President.
I imagine the Obama campaign knows the answer to that question, now.
Of course we all expected the Obama campaign to be scorched earth, take no prisoners, ends justify the means. The 2012 election was predicted to be one of the dirtiest ever because Obama has nothing positive to run on. So when the Obama camp sent his flacks to rally for him at a Romney event, last week, no one was surprised. Appalled, yes – but not surprised. When I wrote, The Organized Left Now Stalking Romney I figured Romney, like all past Republican candidates, was just going to have to grin and bear their obnoxious tactics all the way until election day.
And when a pro Romney crowd appeared at an Obama event in Boston, yesterday, essentially turning Axelrod’s cute photo op in Romney’s old stronghold into a debacle, I thought, “brilliant – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” But I figured the Boston crowd sprung up as a result of some grassroots effort like most conservative protests.
No. Apparently not:
In case you missed it, yesterday, here are Romney’s supporters meeting Obama senior strategist David Axelrod at his anti-Romney event in Massachusetts with chants such as “Five more months! Five more months!”, “Where are the jobs?” and “So-Lyyyyn-dra, So-Lyyyn-dra!”
As John Hinderaker at Powerline noted; These Aren’t Your Father’s Republicans.
A campaign can resemble a boxing match. Obama thinks he sees an opening and takes a swing at Romney. But before he can do any damage, he realizes he has walked into a counterpunch. Bam! Romney rocks him, and Obama retreats in disarray. Romney has shown himself already to be a top-notch counterpuncher.
His campaign has shown itself to be tough in other ways, too. When reporters pressed Romney to repudiate Donald Trump because he has been a “birther,” Romney flatly refused. (Maybe Obama should be asked to repudiate his literary agent, who also, evidently, is a “birther.”) This is exactly the right course. When Obama apologizes for Bill Maher and urges his SuperPac to return Maher’s million dollars, then Romney can at least consider repudiating someone who supports him–if, that is, he can find anyone remotely as unsavory as Maher.
We saw another manifestation of the Romney campaign’s aggressiveness today when David Axelrod made what was supposed to be a surprise appearance in Boston to attack Romney’s record as governor. Word of the event leaked out, and Romney supporters were out in force, embarrassing and at times drowning out Axelrod. Byron York tells the story in an article titled “Combative Romney team hits Obama coast-to-coast.”
2012 ain’t gonna be Obama vs McCain redux, folks. Mitt has some fight in him, thank God.