The Corner

Romney Desperately Needs the Same Old Strategy

Shannen: Good points regarding that Brooks column. It’s the new conventional wisdom that Romney has to change his strategy to deal with the ascendance of Perry. I’m with Ross on this being entirely wrong-headed. Romney should only attack Perry now if he wants to be the new Tim Pawlenty, prematurely picking a fight that he can’t possibly win with a candidate on the rise.

Perry has weak spots — aspects of his gubernatorial record, changing positions on the issues, etc. — but Romney can’t focus on any of them without exposing more serious vulnerabilities of his own. Ultimately, Romney’s strongest argument may be the electability argument, but it’s way too early to make it. So he should sit tight and try — to the extent he can — to continue to stay above the fray. There are candidates who will have much more credibility to challenge Perry — Bachmann, and Palin if she were to get in — than he does.

He has to hope that the initial ardor for Perry cools, that the Texas governor gets dinged up by the other candidates, and that when it comes crunch time right before the primary voting actually begins, he looks substantially more electable. For Romney, Reagan’s admonition applies: “Don’t just do something, stand there.”


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