Romney the business guy

The latest Bloomberg Businessweek suggests the struggling economy boosts Mitt Romney’s chances of winning the GOP nomination.

The national fixation on jobs and budget restraint … plays to Romney’s standing as a businessman.

Romney appears to grasp this in a way that he didn’t last time. One of the few specific promises he makes in a stump speech otherwise devoted to criticizing President Obama and ardently declaring his own patriotism is that he’ll bring his consultant’s skills to bear on the federal budget. “We’ll take all the programs the federal government has and ask which is so critical that we have to keep them,” he told a Monday evening crowd in Clive, Iowa. “On that basis we’re going to get rid of some programs—even ones we like.” He cited Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public television as falling short of that measure. “We’re going to have Big Bird [rely on] advertising, because I don’t want to borrow money from China to pay for him.”

Culturally, this sort of talk appeals to small-government conservatives, while also reminding them of his business background.

This passage reminds me of comments Jonah Goldberg offered Carolina Journal Radio last year during a discussion of the Republican presidential contest.

I’ve been saying for a long time now that I think 2012 will be the last election in American history where having a really boring white guy will be an electoral advantage. … I don’t mean it as a racial thing. I just mean that the most boring whitest guys in the field out there — the Romneys, the Daniels, the Pawlentys — they are the best-suited to make the kinds of political arguments that I think will be the winning arguments. …

… [H]aving someone — and I don’t know who it is — who can go up there and call Obama on a lot of his nonsense, in a nonthreatening way, as a sort of, you know, “Daddy’s here now, and the silliness is over,” will be very useful.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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