Will Durst: Shaking the dog

Apr 19, 2012

Remember when his own staffers said Mitt Romney had the conviction of an Etch-A-Sketch? Well stand back because, as we speak, the former governor from Massachussetts is being flipped over and shaken so hard, the fillings in the back teeth of his whole family are starting to rattle. What this all means is that we're entering the general election mode. So anything Mitt Romney might have said during the primary no longer applies.

It's such a brand new ballgame. We're not even playing with the same tools anymore. Fast-pitch hardball has become beach volleyball before our very eyes. And the sand has been replaced with money. 

A Republican primary is all about hard right angles, while the general election is more soft-focused. Nice round contours. Less snippy retorts and more sly evasions. Gauze is being spread over the Romney lens and next comes two fingers of Vaseline. The severely conservative has turned into a moderate kind of a guy. Mr. "It's okay to call Susan Fluke a Slut" is now the soul of chivalry. And the war on women was started by Obama.

So apparently, he's taking a page straight out of the Karl Rove handbook and is going to run one of those "I know you are, but what am I?" kind of campaigns. Republicans love this third grade strategy. You accuse the other guy of exactly what you're guilty of. Like in 2004, when a borderline deserter successfully accused a war hero of being a traitor. If you can't convince the people, confuse them. After all, there's a fine line between education and confusion. I can't wait for the challenger to accuse the incumbent of being a fat cat tool of Wall Street or belonging to a funny religion. Or having a history of insensitivity to dogs.