I love listening to Mark Steyn. I love reading what Mark Steyn writes. This time, however, he says things that are well-argued, as he does so well, well-argued, but also alarmist and premature. Concluding his piece at National Review Online, which is entitled “Milquetoast Mitt,” he writes:
I support Romney, and I’m not rattled by a bad week’s polls. But I am bothered that Romney’s insipid message does not rise to the challenge this nation faces. Maybe the milquetoast pantywaist candy-assed soft-focus “Believe in America” shtick will prove sufficient under a relentless barrage of nakedly thuggish attack ads designed to Barry Goldwater the guy. But John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, thinks not: “This is a race he should be able to win,” he wrote, “so if he loses, it won’t be because Obama won it. It will be because he lost it.”
Just so. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The hour is late, and the man needs to get in the game.
I would argue that Steyn is speaking more of campaign slogans rather than people, but let’s go for the moment with the “Milquetoast” suggestion, which either he or his headline writer made in that post.
Supporting Steyn’s contention, media mogul Rupert Murdoch had used Twitter over a month before to accuse Mitt’s campaign staff of not being up to the task of facing Obama’s Chicago-style campaign:
Of course, by now everyone is aware of Andrea Saul’s unfortunate comment in which she said that Joe Soptic’s wife would have had health insurance had she lived in Massachusetts. Saul’s apparent lapse in concentration prompted Ann Coulter during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News , to call for Mitt’s spokesperson to be fired. Coulter went even further:
Anyone who donates to Mitt Romney, and I mean the big donors, ought to call Mitt Romney and say if Andrea Saul isn’t fired and off the campaign tomorrow, they are not giving another dime because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has.
Even rocker Ted Nugent had adopted the same, “tougher-is-better” mindset and apparently communicated that sentiment to Mitt’s campaign. Nugent said in a Newsmax interview last Friday that Mitt’s people had responded, “I have heard back from the Romney camp that they’re pumping gas and they’re preparing to ignite some increased heat, and I’m expecting that any day now.”
Hopefully by now, everyone has heard how Mitt “destroyed a heckler,” as reported on Breitbart. Speaking at the homecoming in Wisconsin for Paul Ryan, his new vice-presidential pick, Mitt provided a rousing response to the heckler, also using the moment to call out the sleazy tactics currently being employed President Obama’s campaign. As Mitt said that 23 million people are out of work, the heckler interrupted him but was immediately drowned out by the crowd shouting “USA!” in unison.
Mitt then said:
You see here, young man, this group is respectful of other people’s rights to be heard. And you ought to find another place to be disruptive, because here we believe in listening to people with dignity and respect.
Look, there is no question that if you follow the campaign of Barack Obama, he’s gonna do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest, negative campaign in history, and we’re not gonna let that happen. This is gonna be a campaign about ideas, about the future of America. This is a campaign about greatness, about America’s future for your children, for the world. Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter!
Let’s talk about the real issues that America faces. People in America are hurting right now. The Middle Class is struggling right now. Incomes have dropped by $4,000 per family under this president. Healthcare premiums have gone up by $2,500. Utility costs are up. Gasoline prices are up. People are having a hard time. They want to know if America is gonna come back. It is, if it gets new leadership.
The message here is more than what Mitt said. It is that Mitt will respond as necessary. People who know him know that he is not someone whose life is guided by the same principles as the Chicago-style politics that Rupert Murdoch references. Those who don’t know him should look at what he has accomplished in order to understand him. In short, one does not accomplish what Mitt has without being an extraordinary person. No one is more disciplined, smarter or more focused than Mitt. Nor will he be outworked by anyone.
Most germane to my point here is this: It is impossible to amass a personal fortune such as Mitt has without being tough. Yet, Mitt is not the Simon Legree the Democrats are trying to cast him as. Then again, nor is he Caspar Milquetoast, as suggested by Mark Steyn.
Here is my key point: Mitt will be as tough as necessary, when necessary in order to win this election. Because Mitt is the principled person he is, I place the emphasis on “tough as necessary, when necessary.”
Doubters should take note!