The Ann and Tagg Intervention

From “Inside the campaign:  The Romney rebellion,” Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Politico:

“For months, Ann Romney and her eldest son, Tagg, were dutifully supportive of the political professionals running Mitt Romney’s campaign. All the while, their private frustration was mounting.

“Shortly before the first debate, it finally boiled over.

“What followed was a family intervention. The candidate’s family prevailed on Mitt Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a “let Mitt be Mitt” approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew.

“Chief strategist Stuart Stevens — whom the family held responsible for allowing Romney’s personal side to be obscured by an anti-Obama economic message — has seen his once wide-ranging portfolio “fenced in” to mainly the debates, and the television advertising that is his primary expertise, according to campaign officials. Tagg Romney, channeling his mother’s wishes, is taking a much more active role in how the campaign is run.

“The family rebellion, long building despite Mitt Romney’s initial reluctance to change, reached a climax in September, amid mounting evidence that the status quo was doomed to failure. The course correction came after internal polls showed him losing nearly every swing state and a loud chorus of second-guessing among prominent conservatives.

When the history of this campaign is written, the family intervention will be among the most important turning points in the Romney saga. Until the weeks before the first presidential debate, the candidate sided with Stevens over his family’s skepticism, accepting the strategist’s view that the best way to win was to point out President Barack Obama’s flaws and articulate generic promises to do better.

Even now, many Romney officials wonder whether the change can be sustained. In essence, Romney is trying to undergo a political metamorphosis — to shed an image of personal stiffness, and to emerge loose and willing to compromise. Romney, advisers concede, is at his worst when improvising — and this shift is the biggest improvisation of the campaign. Right now, Romney is described as going with the flow, trying to quickly grow into this new public persona, most notably with his decision to tell personal stories on the stump.

“But one big reason for hope inside the Romney campaign is that conservatives were so down on the campaign before the debate — and so rapturous during it — that they will give him a lot of maneuvering room to talk in more moderate ways.”  Emphasis added.

Sure, he has all the maneuvering room he wants to talk like a moderate now.  But maneuvering room to govern like a moderate?  I don’t think so. 

That’s what voters need to understand.  The crazies still control the party, and they would control a President Romney with the hanging-sword of a primary in 2016.

 

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