The very first time I saw Ann Romney’s comments, they appeared to me, too, as jarring and excessive. Who on earth was talking about “kill[ing] Mitt Romney”? But the context makes all the difference: Mrs. Romney was in fact talking about a quote from an unnamed Democratic operative on the mainstream (i.e., not pro-Romney) Politico website. It’s that unnamed Democrat, not Mrs. Romney, who bears the blame for introducing that unfortunate and thuggish metaphor about killing. But there’s something in Melinda Henneberger’s account of this that doesn’t sound quite right to me:
[Ann Romney] was referring to a Politico story last August — vociferously denied by Obamaland at the time — in which “a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House” was quoted as saying, “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.” (Q: What kind of ‘prominent Democratic strategist’ stipulates that Obama has no accomplishments to run on, anyway?)
To her final “Q,” let me suggest an “A” that someone as politically sophisticated as Ms. Henneberger really ought to have known. “A: One who’s telling the truth under condition of anonymity.” I mean, it’s hardly a secret that Obama’s presidency has been a huge disappointment; he may very well win this November, but if he does, it won’t be because Democrats are thrilled with the job he’s done and will successfully communicate this to independents, but because the prospect of having the Republicans back in power is so terrifying to them, and they will be communicating that to the rest of the electorate. That unnamed Democratic strategist was analyzing, quite correctly, the enthusiasm gap that the Democrats will have to compensate for by drawing horns and a tail on Romney.