I am sympathetic to John Ellis and Ross Douthat’s assessment of Mitt Romney’s fundamental mistake (running on who he thought people wanted him to be, rather than who he is), which you could probably already tell based on the difference between the JFK Speech he gave and the one I wrote.
And yet, I can’t help feeling this is all just a matter of timing, the hardest thing of all to get right.
After all, current speculation is that, amazingly, the guy with the whip hand is Senator John McCain, who is expected to win New Hampshire, and then hopes to ride that win to victory in Michigan, and at least a second-place showing (to Mike Huckabee) in South Carolina, turning this into a McCain-Huckabee race that McCain wins on Feb 5th (after which it becomes a McCain-Huckabee ticket).
But McCain is the guy who started out this race running as somebody he’s not: the darling of the GOP establishment. The line that exemplified the McCain of the early months of this campaign was: “Did I fix it? Did I fix it?"
McCain just had time to become who he was. If the primary calendar were less squashed, so might Mitt Romney.
In any event, it may not be optimal to go always from strength to strength. After all, as a great man once said, “only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”