The Corner

Romney’s Strengths

David Brooks makes the case for them, and I agree with much of that case. In particular, I agree that the programmatic differences among the major candidates are small and not especially important: The party has reached a consensus on most issues. He’s right as well about the general-election appeal of a solid-citizen candidate. But there are several important questions Brooks does not address.

1) How much of that consensus would Romney actually act on? That question has to be asked about any candidate but for various reasons it has to be asked especially of Romney.

2) Can Romney mobilize public opinion behind the Republican program? Brooks describes Christie as someone who could do that, then drops the subject.

3) Is that consensus correct? If not can Romney supply what it lacks?

4) When new issues come up for which the consensus has no answers, what would President Romney do?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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