Romney is, in many ways, the anti-McCain. Polished where McCain is rough, smiling where McCain grimaces, very, very tan where as McCain is pale. Romney’s successes have come in large part due to a smooth manner and a gentle way with words; McCain has succeeded in politics despite lacking those skills.
Ann Marie Cox’s most recent TIME article is interesting, but she slightly misses the boat in her conclusion:
For what it’s worth, Romney has probably been more successful in his line of work. But with his newfound willingness to highlight this distinction, McCain is making a not entirely calculated bet that when it comes to electing a president, Americans would rather embrace a hard-nosed dealmaker than a smooth operator.
Of course, the term “smooth operator” brings to mind certain undesirable people. Any rational person would choose “a hard nosed dealmaker” over “smooth operator” any day of the week. However, there are two points to make:
1. A “deal-maker” is only as good as his deals.
An overview? McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, the Gang of 14, his refusal to vote for the Marriage Amendment so states could properly debate it, his heel-digging over interrogation of terrorists…
2. Being “hard-nosed” and “polite” are not mutually exclusive:
Just take note of the tough stands Gov. Romney has taken in his leadership of Massachusetts: refusing to give the red-carpet treatment to Iranian terror-mongers, taking an effective legal stand against gay marriage instead of pitching a PR fit for the cameras, and painfully cutting spending to save his state from it’s financial nightmare.
Let’s just say I’d be more impressed by McCain’s “deal-maker” status if his “deals” didn’t give the middle finger to true conservative principles.
UPDATE: Wow–I have my finger on the pulse of the Romney campaign. Within minutes of this posting, they released a “tough new ad.”