the national interest

Mitt Romney Accuses Foes of Being Mitt Romney

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney jumps off the back of a pickup truck after speaking to supporters as he opens his Nevada campaign headquarters October 17, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Romney and six other presidential contenders will participate in a debate airing on CNN, sponsored by the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas on October 18. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Like Mr. Miyagi taught you – turn your weakness into a strength Photo: Ethan Miller/2011 Getty Images

When the president’s characterization of our economy was, ‘It could be worse,’ it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat cake,’” Mitt Romney told the Huffington Post on Thursday.

Comparing the president to the beheaded queen of pre-revolutionary France may seem like a strange line of attack for a wealthy political scion who has advocated the deregulation of Wall Street and letting foreclosures run their course while the government does nothing. (Not to mention the fact that Romney actually lived in France.) But it’s actually in keeping with his favorite method of deflecting attacks. Romney anticipates his greatest vulnerability, then peremptorily lobs the charge against his adversary. That way, when his opponent uses the charge it’s repetitive.

Romney first deployed this technique against New Gingrich. He has deployed a furious assault against what was briefly his chief adversary, painting him as a flip-flopper who has wavered on abortion and even supported health-care reform in Massachusetts. Gingrich was left stammering helplessly in response. After sifting through the charges and counter-charges, all the Republican voters knew was that you had two candidates accusing each other of flip-flopping and trying to help sick people get health insurance. The natural next step is to open his general election campaign by portraying Obama as a callous aristocrat.

Mitt Romney Accuses Foes of Being Mitt Romney