Does Romney/Ryan's Sense of Mission Outweigh Ambition?
A few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes wrote of Paul Ryan:
What particularly upsets opponents is Mr. Ryan's image. "The disarming thing is his sense of mission is greater than his sense of ambition," says Ryan adviser David Smick, a Washington economic consultant. "This is disconcerting to his critics."
I couldn't help but think of that when I read in Politico Playbook about a magazine article that will be released on Monday. Written by Jon Ward of the Huffington Post, a very good reporter, the article suggests the Romney campaign might be thinking of an interesting gambit:
ARTICLE OF THE DAY -- JON WARD in Huffington magazine (available today on iPad; article posts Monday), “The One-Termer? Thinking Bold Thoughts With Team Romney”: “Matt Rhoades is guarded and intense … [W]hen I met him in mid-July, in a bohemian coffee shop in Boston’s North End, the 37-year-old manager of Mitt Romney’s campaign was hesitant to speculate about what the Republican candidate would do as president, and how. … But when I asked Rhoades … what Romney might do with the budget and entitlement reform plans Ryan had already outlined, Rhoades’ eyes lit up. He gave me a name: James Polk. … Rhoades and the rest of the members of Romney’s inner circle think a Romney presidency could look much like the White House tenure of the 11th U.S. president.
“Polk, who served from 1845 to 1849, presided over the expansion of the U.S. into a coast-to-coast nation, annexing Texas and winning the Mexican-American war for territories that also included New Mexico and California. He reduced trade barriers and strengthened the Treasury system. And he was a one-term president. Polk is an allegory for Rhoades: He did great things, and then exited the scene, and few remember him. That, Rhoades suggested, could be Romney’s legacy as well. … Multiple senior Romney advisers assured me that they had had conversations with the candidate in which he conveyed a depth of conviction about the need to try to enact something like Ryan’s controversial budget and entitlement reforms. Romney, they said, was willing to count the cost politically in order to achieve it.”
I have no idea if this read on Romney is right, but I do like how it speaks to the depth of seriousness he has indicated in recent weeks.
I see no need to proclaim at the outset that this will be a one-term proposition (Didn't Ramesh Ponnuru advise Sen. John McCain to promise to leave after one-term?) but what do you think?
I'm so out of the mainstream of voters, of course, that I view the need for entitlement reforms as a function of math and logic rather than controversy.