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The Republican Bully Pulpit

In my last column, which defends Mitt Romney, I wrote that the vicious way Romney's fellow GOP contenders gang up on him makes him more sympathetic in my eyes:

Romney has acquired the aura of an overbearing, upper-class phony. But I see him as more of an earnest dweeb, desperately, and unsuccessfully, trying to fit in with his new crowd. I can almost picture him coming home from the Republican debates, crying his eyes out that he wants to move back to Massachusetts because all the other candidates keep laughing at him.

Now the New York Times has a story on how all the other candidates hate Romney. Dan Schnur, a former stratgeist for John McCain is quoted in the story thinking along the same lines as me, but Schnur turns it into a taunt:

Mr. Schnur used a schoolyard analogy to compare Mr. Romney, the ever-proper Harvard Law School and Business School graduate, to Mr. McCain, the gregarious rebel who racked up demerits and friends at the Naval Academy.

“John McCain and his friends used to beat up Mitt Romney at recess,” Mr. Schnur said.

The peculiar ethos of Washington holds that this sort of analogy is supposed to make you like McCain, the cool kid, and dislike Romney, the awkward, nerdy outsider. But it sums up why I sympathize with Romney.

--Jonathan Chait