Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mitt Romney: Triangulation, Republican-style?

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post pointed out yesterday in an article that much has been made of the idea that President Obama will use Congressional Democrats as a foil over the next two years -- triangulating against his own side to grab the ideological center and appeal to electorally critical independent voters.

But what about potential Republican candidates trying the same thing against the New GOP majority? Cillizza goes on to use Mitt Romney as an example of this.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the de facto frontrunner in the 2012 field, drew national headlines when he came out against the tax cut compromise in a USA Today op-ed.

Wrote Romney:
"Given the unambiguous message that the American people sent to Washington in November, it is difficult to understand how our political leaders could have reached such a disappointing agreement."
He sites Romney's opposition to the START treaty as another example of his triangulating.
The strategic underpinnings of Romney's positions on the tax compromise and START are sound.
Romney wants to make clear he isn't part of the Washington crowd and isn't interested in putting his stamp of approval on anything that hands President Obama a legislative victory.
With many Republican voters skeptical of their own parties leadership, it is possible that they would respond positively to a candidate who purposely runs against that group.
Triangulation then may be the name of the game for would-be 2012 candidates in the coming months.
To read the entire article, go HERE.

I'm not sure if I can agree with Cillizza's assessment that this is some kind of Romney strategy to position himself as an outsider. I believe he opposed the Tax Bill Compromise and START Treaty, simply because they were both bad and that he felt that the NEW Congress should have been the ones making the decisions.


Anonymous said...

The comments under the actual article were aggravating. Some saying How can it be called "triangulating" when he's moving to the right of Republicans with his positions, as if every opinion Mitt expresses is political posturing, even though the opinions are articulate and reasonable. That kind of a-priori dismissal is getting really tiresome and lazy. Of course he wants some to voice his positions so people know what he stands for, but to assume he's adopting some arbitrary view just because it's the "outsider" position is ridiculous and demeaning.


hamaca said...

That's one of the ugly sides of politics for you, Michael--if they're not capable of attacking the message, they resort to personal attacks.

Ann said...

There is always someone trying to spin some type of conspiracy.

I'm with Bosman on this. Romney opposed both the Start treaty and Tax Bill, because they were bad in their current state and he felt the New Congress would be better suited to work things out.

Revolution 2010 said...

I'm a little surprised at Cillizza. He's always been fair to Romney in the past.

Of course he may feel that this is some kind of smart strategy and may think he is complementing Romney.

I don't believe it's a strategy because as many like to point out, Romney is the supposed 'establishment' favorite, why would he want to bite the hand that feeds him?

He was against those START and the TAX BILL because they were bad or at least, inadequate.

Revolution 2010 said...


Check the comments on my National Journal post.

Bill589 said...

I believe Mitt is above this type of game crap.
I agree with Bosman, Zaloom, hamaca, Ann, and Revolution 2010 on this one.
Whoa - I should mark down today’s date.

David said...

Maybe it was a slow news day for Cillizza. He's usually very positive towards Romney. If this is his idea of a complement, I'd hate to be on his bad side.


John said...

Can I join? I'm JohnG from Rightosphere :)

Kelly said...

I don't think this is necessarily a negative article on Romney.

Cillizza points out,

"Romney wants to make clear he isn't part of the Washington crowd and isn't interested in putting his stamp of approval on anything that hands President Obama a legislative victory.'

What's so wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

I'm with kelly on this.

I don't look at this as being a necessarily negative piece by cillizza.


Doug NYC GOP said...

I'm in the "Not That Negative" camp as well.

While Romney may not be triangulating, after all, his START opposition began back in July, the way I see it, Romney is casting himself, through his op-eds, as the problem solver. The guy you call in look things over and then resolve the situation.

And that is a good thing.

BOSMAN said...

I was kind of neutral on whether it was positive or negative.

I just wanted to point out that his reasoning in my opinion came from his gut rather than some closed door decision with his policy advisors.

Doug NYC GOP said...

Bos, I agree with that assessment as well. I think the sublinimal message in these op-eds/positions is -- Hey there is abetter way to handle/structure/resolve these issues...and I'm the guy to do it."

I like that message.