While Romney’s response to the Gingrich attack video may improve with time and repetition, it is likely to remain uncompelling and strangely exsanguinated.
This opens the door to a tactical manoeuver Gingrich could unleash at Monday’s debate that would steal a march on Romney and be a game-changer.
It is this:
At the opportune moment, Gingrich should say:
Look, over the last few days, we have discovered that Mitt Romney, should he become the Republican nominee, is completely incapable of effectively responding to the kind of attack that is going to be coming at him like a locomotive from the Obama campaign. The video from Gingrich PAC is mild compared to what they will do, and when they do, it will be funded not with a million dollars but with a hundred million, or two hundred, or more.
Believe me, there is a response to that video. It’s just that he’s not capable of believably delivering it because he is, at heart, a Massachusetts liberal who thinks president Obama is a nice guy who’s in over his head, rather than a committed Alinkskyite waging full-scale war on the capitalist system, the free market and the kind of traditional American individualism that has been the bedrock of America’s greatness since day one.
What should Mitt be saying in response to the Gingrich PAC video? He should be saying this:
And then Gingrich should launch into the kind of full-throated, pedal-to-the-medal defense of robust free market capitalism that Troy Senik provided the other day on Ricochet in his magnificent post titled Rcalibrating Romney's Rhetoric
That’s right: Gingrich himself should provide the response to his own attack video. And he should do it with the eloquence and affecting passion that were the things that, for a while at least, propelled him to the top.
In so doing, he could characterize the video as an electioneering ploy designed to reveal Romney’s fecklessness (and thereby distance himself from its dishonest substance and repellent nastiness). Remarkably, there are probably a lot of folks who would actually buy into such a preposterous pirouette. In the end, the weakness of Romney’s response to the Gingrich video would be highlighted by juxtaposition with the strength of Gingrich’s own, and Gingrich would be trampolined to the top again.
Now, whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing is a different issue.
[Extra credit to anyone who can accurately count the number of mixed metaphors in this post. Warning: It’s a big number.]