Sound Politics: Can Charismatic Candidates Offer Substance?

This is Sound Politics’ take on the charisma and screen presence of Mitt Romney. Haven’t made up my mind (been busy throwing out Peanut Butter) on Romney, yet. I will say it doesn’t bother me whether he’s pro-choice or not.

There is definitely something to be said for good rhetorical instincts and charisma (Obama is not all the rage because of his lack of skill in these areas). It’s also true (as everyone knows) that an executive just has a way better chance of getting into the oval office than a legislator–40 years since the latter has happened.

The question to me is not whether Romney could deliver conservatives in the South (if he’s up against Hillary, he could be a professed Satanist and would still get the conservative vote–promise). The question to me is whether he could deliver any Blue States. Is his “compassionate, reasonable, moderateness,” or whatever a Republican has to claim to win in Massachussets, going to be enough to win in a national election?

But there’s no doubt he’s charismatic, and it’ll take that to win a national election. I wouldn’t necessarily compare him to Reagan, but as an executive he can claim Moderateness without having to be one of those “maverick” media darlings that always appear to be running for President.

And I wouldn’t say his policies are by any means Reaganesque to the core. I’m uncertain whether he is a Republican because it was more convenient than being an Independent, or that he’s a Republican because he’s a real believer in Republican (or classically Republican, I should say) values.

Being an independent (that’s easier to say in Virginia, by the way), but a professed right-wing-nut-job, I’m still holding out for Newt, who let everyone know yesterday how aggravating it is for people to jump into Presidential elections this early in the game:

“I think the current process of spending an entire year running in order to spend an entire year running in order to get sworn in January 2009 is stupid,” Gingrich said at a National Press Club event with Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.

“I wouldn’t consider thinking about running for president prior to late September,” said Gingrich.

The only reason to start this early, he said, was to line the pockets of the high-paid political consultants.


Update: I guess Newt will miss this then.

And: This is definitely worth a read, Romney’s Issue agenda.

Sound Politics