Mitt Romney's latest "secret video" debacle has been unexpectedly depressing for me. Think conservative Jonah Goldberg (of all people!) put his finger on the reason why here:
Romney’s remarks reinforce the overriding problem with his campaign: It is bloodlessly non-ideological. And that is by design. Stewart Stevens, Romney’s top strategist has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t much care about ideas or philosophy. That showed in his convention strategy and in Romney’s speech, which he apparently wrote. Responding to complaints about his stewardship, Stevens told Politico: “Politics is like sports. A lot of people have ideas, and there’s no right or wrong. You just have to chart a course, and stay on that course.” Not only is that not true of politics, as best I can tell it’s not even true of sports either.
Even the campaign’s ostensibly ideological ads and soundbites seem offered not as statements of conviction but as carefully — and sometimes not so carefully — crafted slogans aimed at telling the silly swing-voters what they most want to hear. I’m not naive; focus groups and poll data are part of politics, like it or not. But when conviction politicians use such tools it’s often as a way to make what they believe more salable. With the Romney campaign, all too often it seems like they’ve got it reversed. They’re trying to sell the voters on the idea that Romney believes something.
That's what's really depressing. It's not that Romney is wrong (unsurprisingly). It's that he's completely cynical even in his wrongheadedness. He believes in nothing, except maybe not paying taxes. '
Where did we get this guy? Libertarian Dave Weigel shakes his head, tweets:
At this point I'm amazed that the Salt Lake City Olympics went off without constant fires and explosions.