Let me finish tonight with this: I think we have a strange election campaign getting under way.
We have one candidate we know, Barack Obama. I think the overwhelming judgment of people is that this fellow is who he seems. He's a bit cool, very smart, and has a good sense of humor on the personal side, a fairly pragmatic progressive on the governing side, a tough, no nonsense, defender of the country on the national defense side.
What's he up against? Good question.
Romney was a moderate up in Massachusetts. He pushed through a health care plan that pioneered what Obama did. He was pro-choice, said he was more for gay rights than Ted Kennedy. Then he went national, went right to pass muster with his party outside New England.
By the end of this primary season, he'd become nasty on immigration, talking about "self-deportation" as a method of enforcement, talking about God-knows-what when it comes to Iran, pushing tax cuts for the wealthy, less regulation--basically a return to Dubya: that era of Republican rule that nobody, including Mitt, dare talk about repeating.
On the personal side? Good question. Romney says strange things about liking to fire people and about the "marvelous" nature of the Ryan budget plan. He has an odd manner that makes you wonder what drew him into politics--certainly not the need to share himself with millions of people or to explain himself for that matter.
Right now, he's hiding from the press. He doesn't want to talk about how he made his money, nothing about that company that made him rich. He has a plan to win this election: be the alternative. If the economy starts to sink, he'll be the option. He'll just be there as Brand X, the product we will be expected to choose for no better reason than we haven't tried it yet.
This is how Mitt won the primaries. He spent tens of millions of dollars destroying his rivals with negative TV ads, hoping that people would vote for him out of desperation. They certainly weren't going to vote for Santorum or Gingrich when Mitt and his monied friends were through keel-hauling them in one nasty ad after the other.
So this is what we're getting this November: a candidate we know, and one waiting in the shadows hoping things get so hopeless that we elect that guy with the nice wife and kids, the one who won't answer questions right now, won't tell us how he got rich for the simple reason that he doesn't want us to know the answers. He just wants to the be alternative we end up with when nothing else is around...sort of like going to Denny's.