Romney Needs to Dig Deeper

Fred Thompson is tearing up the field in a new GOP Straw Poll. Thompson seems to be the latest Republican figure to be filling the "inspiration gap" in the Republican presidential field. Rudy Giuliani has been doing this to date, but clearly Republicans want an inspiring figure more in tune with traditional Republican policies.

Mitt Romney needs to think seriously about how he can perform in the Republican field under these conditions. Steven Warshawsky writes today in the American Thinker that Mitt's remarks at a recent New York fund raiser left him wonting. Romney said:

...that he is not seeking the presidency as the next step in his "career" because he already had his career in the private sector. He said that he is not seeking the presidency because he loves government; rather, the "love of his life" is his wife and children. Instead, he said he wants to be president out of a desire to "give back to the country" and to help ensure that his children and grandchildren have the same opportunities he did. Personally, I thought this approach fell flat. "Giving back" is something that ordinary citizens do to help improve their local communities and to feel better about their own success in life compared to those who have been less fortunate. One does not become President of the United States to "give back" to the country.

Bill Bradley was on Charlie Rose last night and rightly noted that the job of the president is not to "fix" the country by himself, but to inspire Americans to take on the major challenges collectively. He said that a president must reflect our challenges in himself.

In the times I have seen Romney in person, I have been very impressed with him as an individual. But he does not electrify a room in the way that Reagan did, or frankly, the way George Bush can at times. This may be because he is not making the room about all the people in it. He's not succeeding on that level. Watch Barack Obama in a room full of Democrats. It's not really about him. It's about how he makes people feel about themselves.

I hope Mitt Romney realizes this before it's too late. He needs to take his rhetoric up a level. He needs to quit joking about the Mormon thing and instead give a Kennedyesque speech on religion. And he needs to address the Iraq War in similar terms that Reagan used in convincing the country that we could defeat communism.

The job of the president is to lead, communicate, and manage. Romney can manage better than anyone else in the field and he is good at communicating on television. But Americans don't elect managers and technocrats to run the most powerful nation in the world. They elect inspirational leaders. Romney needs to get credible on that level.

And time is running short.