Mitt Romney has done the unthinkable: silenced the legions of conservatives who saw him as too starched, too ideologically wobbly and too Richie Rich to win a few months ago.Translation: They wanted to see him act like a dick towards Barack Obama. Now that they see he can act like a dick towards Barack Obama, the rest of that stuff doesn't matter (because you and I both know none of that other stuff has changed even one little bit.) Really, though, acting like a dick has been Mitt Romney's core competency during this campaign. It's how he squished each not-Mitt competitor who came along. Why did they have doubts about this?
Now comes the hard part: getting those same conservatives not to pop off as he moves to confront a half-dozen very Mitt-specific political dangers — the ones top Republican officials say he must navigate to unite the party and attract skeptical conservatives and independents this summer.Translation: Will the base stick with Mitt as he "moves" to
Their calculus: President Barack Obama’s campaign is threatened most by events he can’t control: a European financial catastrophe, an Israeli attack on Iran that could goose gas prices, economic stagnation.Translation: I don't have one. I'm just laughing.
Mitt Romney’s campaign is threatened most by the man himself.
And that’s pretty scary to GOP insiders, right at a moment when they’re sensing they could win this thing.Translation: Oh crap! We just nominated Mitt Freaking Romney? What do we do now?
The rest of the article contains Republican advice for Mitt, ranging from "for the love of God, just shut up already" (loosely paraphrased) to suggestions that he "go big" when talking about the economy, the deficit, and other things Republicans pretend to give a damn about. I think that amounts to what we've already been seeing from Mitt. His handlers are already very sensitive to his gaffes, he already barely says squat of substance, the campaign already prefers to mainly attack opponents via ads and allied SuperPACs rather than engaging them in actual arguments, and when he does talk about the economy or the deficit the man himself is as abstract as humanly (or robotically) possible. Nobody's giving Romney any advice here that his campaign isn't already painfully aware of.
Still, in the cosmic sense it's pretty funny watching Republicans try to reconcile the Mitt they have with the candidate they want. Or it would be, if the repercussions weren't quite so dire. Watching the base cringe may have its moments, but if the primaries were any indication the Romney game plan is going to be a bleak, miserable one, coupling nasty smear ads with impressively vacuous non-substantive non-arguments from the man himself. Whether that will keep the base happy isn't clear—keep in mind, they don't have to be all that "happy", they just have to keep reminding themselves of the scary secret Kenyan Muslim Communist currently in the White House—but I expect the rest of us are going to be sick of it in short order.