Better Last Than Alone

I suppose we should all thank Willard “Mitt” Romney for catching up with the rest of us.  Of course, the truth is that Romney was being his usual overly-cautious self in waiting until today to suggest that US Attorney General Eric Holder must go.  The investigations of “Fast-and Furious” and “Gun-Walker”  had progressed far enough weeks ago to draw this conclusion.  Why is it that on so many issues, Mitt seems to show up after the matter is settled among voters, or the American people?  Did he get word from inside the White House that it now looks as though Holder is on his way out?  Is he now coming out with his criticisms because it’s now “safe” to do so?  This is not the behavior of a leader, and what this should tell us about Romney is how obsessed he has become with not blowing it.  Romney is playing the political version of the often maligned “prevent defense” in the NFL:  On defense of a narrow lead, you back up and give ground on small issues on the basis of the theory that you will avoid your opponent scoring with a “big play.”  Many NFL fans note that it seems that quite often, by playing it safe, the only thing you tend to “prevent” is your own victory.  That’s the danger of Romney’s campaign, and if he takes that same approach to the general election, he and the GOP with him will go down to stunning defeat.

It’s all well and good to say that you’re waiting for more information, but there comes a point at which matters become relatively clear, and waiting until circumstance becomes a fait accompli is not really the manner of leadership this country can afford.  Sometimes playing it safe can be a winning strategy, but all too often, it’s a the road to defeat.  This isn’t the first time Mitt Romney has come out belatedly to pass judgment on an issue.  The Debt Ceiling debate was already reduced to a foregone conclusion before Romney had anything at all to say about it.  Honestly, if he’s this indecisive, I don’t want him anywhere near the White House.  There’s a difference between thoughtful leadership and self-defeating hesitation for fear of misstep.  That is the nature of Mitt Romney’s campaign, and if it is indicative of the sort of President he would be, thank you, no, we have one of those now.  We’ve had enough of this “leading from behind” nonsense.  It’s time for a President who will stand up front and reform this monstrous government.

That is the problem with Romney, after all, and it has been since the start.  There’s nothing attractive to most voters about the unseemly practice of being last on every issue, but that has been Mitt’s role this entire campaign season to date.  He simply won’t speak first on any matter of controversy, waiting for every other person of consequence to make up their minds and make statements first.  I suppose it’s safer to wait for the parade to form and hop out in front of it than to try to create and organize a parade by your own efforts, and hope others will follow.  At some point, this should become a point of embarrassment for Romney.  He’s done this so often and on so many issues that it now seems his standard practice.  Whether motivated by an obsessive fear of failure, or by political calculations intended to prevent his opponents’ having a “big play,” Romney seems incapable of leading in any matter of controversy.

I’ve got news for Governor Romney:  Being President of the United States is all about dealing with controversy, and sometimes your pronouncements are not going to be well-received.  The point is that sometimes, even when you think there’s a chance your judgment may be unpopular, if it’s the right thing, you get out there and say it anyway because, well, it’s the right thing.  One wouldn’t ordinarily think that it would be so difficult to make peace with a position on such an issue and simply announce it.  With Romney, however, his judgments seem timed to avoid becoming involved in the controversy except as a reporter.  Mitt Romney thinks Eric Holder must go?  Big deal.  Most conservatives have thought that for most of this year, and many have been certain of it since all of the disclosures on Fast and Furious in November.  I suppose we should all feel relieved now that Romney has joined the rest of the country in condemning Holder’s actions.  The matter must have become settled in the polls, and if Romney keeps this up, it won’t be the only matter settled with or without him.