Mitt Romney is running a great campaign—he’s been good in debates, stayed on message, and “taken Rick Perry apart with a cold ruthlessness that is a wonder to behold”—yet the Republican base hasn’t warmed to him, observes David Brooks in the New York Times. Romney just isn’t the kind of “blunt radical outsider” they’re looking for. “They don’t want Organization Man. They want Braveheart.” And that’s fine if they want a thrilling media campaign—but not if they want an effective president.
“Romney’s skills are not to be underestimated,” Brooks argues. “He doesn’t throw interceptions,” and like quarterbacks “the chief job of a president is not to give the game away with unforced errors.” Yes, he’d be “the most soporific of presidents,” but right now we don’t need charisma, we need dull, comforting competence. “Government would function better if partisan passions were on a lower flame,” Brooks argues. “The strongest case for Romney is that he’s nobody’s idea of a savior.”