Maybe Mitt Romney is like MP3-quality audio.
Back in the days when the iPod was new and exciting, technology buffs and audiophiles came to the reluctant conclusion that, for the vast majority of music listeners, "good enough is good enough." Superior sound quality had taken a permanent back seat to portability, convenience, and storage capacity.
With that realization in mind, I picture Romney. The former Massachusetts governor keeps hanging on the periphery of the scrum while his rivals fight over the ball, only to watch it squirt from the pile and into Romney's undirtied hands.
Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin surveys the scene and floats a similar-sounding "good enough" scenario, under which Romney prevails over the purists and proves impossible to dislodge:
Like characters in a murder mystery, Romney's rivals have fallen one by one. Tim Pawlenty has vanished. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) impaled herself on her rhetoric. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is in critical condition from self-inflicted wounds. And now Christie goes down without a fight. Romney is the living incarnation of the adage that sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. In Romney's case, he may be just good enough to win the nomination.
Then again, as Jonathan V. Last points out, Rubin is among the Beltway conservatives (Michael Gerson and Karl Rove being two others) who have helped bloody Perry over the last couple of weeks.
What's the increasingly anxious anti-Romney right to do?
Last recommends that Perry find a way to "pole-ax" Mitt, and soon:
Romney presents four avenues of attack, and at last week's debate, Perry road-tested three. (1) He suggested Romney was a liberal. (2) He charged that Romney was a serial flip-flopper. (3) He argued that Romney can't be trusted on Obamacare, because of Romneycare.
At the debate, Perry didn't make any of these arguments well. But that hardly matters. You do the important hatchet work on the stump and in ads, not in debates. And besides, there's a fourth option: (4) Romney as the layoff king and destroyer of jobs at Bain Capital.
At RedState.com, Neil Stevens holds out hope that the incremental structure of the nominating process could ensure that Romney rivals Perry and a currently surging Herman Cain will have enough delegates to sustain a true three-way race.
Reflecting on all this, I took a look at my own recent posts on the primary battle. One could fairly accuse me of painting an incoherent picture of Romney.
On the one hand, I've said he's basically a sane technocrat who opportunistically pretends to be a conservative ideologue when he needs to.
But on the other, I've said it's impossible to know what Romney truly believes about anything.
So which is it, Galupo?
I really don't know.
I still like vinyl records, after all.