The Corner

Mitt Romney Tests a Theory

Snap polls indicate that Obama won the night. But Romney seemed to be treating the debate less as a contest than as a last-round job interview. From this perspective, his challenge was not to score points but to allay lingering concerns that might keep him from getting the position. Do some voters worry about Democratic charges of Republican belligerence? Then talk about peace and say that we can’t kill our way to victory. Do others worry that he lacks a background in foreign policy? Then recite a lot of data and display a knowledge of places such as Mali.

The latter was an unfortunate choice. A lot of viewers might have wondered why he kept mentioning some woman named Molly.

If his theory is right, though, he might have crossed the threshold with some voters. The question is whether Democrats can effectively use his remarks to attack him as a flip-flopper.

— John J. Pitney Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Most Popular


In Defense of the Electoral College

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is ... Read More

Stick a Fork in O’Rourke

If, as I wrote last week here, Joe Biden may save the Democratic party from a horrible debacle at the polls next year, Beto O’Rourke may be doing the whole process a good turn now. Biden, despite his efforts to masquerade as the vanguard of what is now called progressivism, is politically sane and, if ... Read More
National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More

Beto-mania and Our Cult of Personality Politics

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s biggest fans and supporters insist he is a forward-thinking, future-oriented visionary, but no contender for the Democratic nomination feels more familiar than the former three-term congressman from El Paso. That’s because he has the highest combined score in both déjà vu ... Read More