For a brief moment last night, I could see myself voting for Mitt Romney. No, not in the California primary next month, but in the general election this fall.
I hadn’t intended to watch the Fox Debate last night. Indeed, I hadn’t even been aware it was on, but there it was on Fox when I switched on my TV. As I waited for Bedknobs and Broomsticks to load (the latest flick I had gotten from Netflix), I found myself oddly engaged in the debate. I not only watched it until the very end, but even watched Frank Luntz’s focus group and the Fox All Stars.
I found it a bit jarring that they would show a focus group, as if instead of us reflect of what we say, they wanted us to know what others felt. Well, at least these were undecided Republican voters in New Hampshire.
And while the portion of the debate I saw (perhaps the last 15-20 minutes) didn’t persuade me to switch my support from Giuliani to Romney (or even from Giuliani to undecided), I did think Romney looked presidential. He seemed confident, upbeat and answered coolly, crisply, succinctly. He did a decent job of addressing the issue of his shifting policy positions.
But, still it’s the superabundance of those shifts that makes me uncomfortable with his candidacy.
All that said, should he become our party’s nominee, he will certainly be able to hold his own in debates with Senator Obama. Indeed, he should come across as having more gravitas than the charismatic Illinois Senator. If he does as he did last night, he’ll also do well in interviews with various talking heads. Yet, I doubt he’ll be able to wow a crowd as does his Democratic counterpart.
Mitt Romney has not yet convinced me he’s our party’s best bet for 2008, but he did do a good job last night of showing that he could be a convining voice for conservatism in the fall campaign.
Now, we only need sit down with him to better understand his shifts on gay issues. And to remind him that his campaign commercials touting his support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage did not help him in the Hawkeye State.