Mitt Romney gave a totally new speech in Wisconsin on Friday,
unveiling a general-election-focused message of can-do economic
pragmatism and charging that President Obama hasn't done enough to
"lead the recovery."
Obama, he claimed, envisions a "government-centered society" that
stifles innovation and puts a damper on Americans' economic potential.
"That's not who we are," he said.
That Romney is ignoring his dead-ender rivals in the still-technically-
ongoing GOP primary, and focusing on November instead, should come as
no surprise. In the judgment of Republican elites -- if not
necessarily Republican voters -- the primary is over, and it's time to
start focusing on the ultimate target.
But Romney's speech Friday also included an interesting new depiction
of the president. In multiple passages in the speech, he described
Obama as a preening, power-hungry narcissist and unqualified empty
suit -- a personality-cult leader surrounded by yes-men.
"President Obama ... actually thinks he's doing a great job. An
historically great job," Romney said. "According to the president,
only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more." (Obama
said, in an interview last year, that he would "put our legislative
and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any
president" besides those three.) The president, Romney implied, is so
fixated on his stature as a historical figure that he "doesn't grasp"
what's really going on.
"This is a president who was elected not on the strength of a
compelling record but a compelling personality and story," Romney
said. "There was much about the campaign of Barack Obama that appealed
to many Americans. And though the reality has failed the hope and
change he promised, he remains surrounded by true believers who attack
anyone who challenges their power. And, as we see each day, they will
fight even more fiercely to hold on to that power."