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Mitt "the Kandi Man" Romney

Marc Ambinder has a post up on how Mitt Romney is perfectly positioning himself for 2012:

Romney is picking and choosing his battles. He shares an Obama-esque disdain for the superficial daily scrum that cable channels whip up. It's a credit to his communications team that he can appear on television once every two or three weeks and seem to be part of the dialog. When Romney has something to say, he'll find a venue to say it.  On auto restructuring, on the Republican stimulus plan, on a free market approach to health care, on the Employee Free Choice Act, and on missile defense, Romney matches his opinions to key constituencies, and he always draws respectful news coverage.  

The funny thing is, I feel like I read the exact same sort of arguments about Romney in the run-up to the 2008 race--about how he was making all the right hires, staking out all the right issues, and raising all the money he'd need to win the GOP nomination . Perhaps because of his discipline (not to mention his willingness to do a little shape-shifting), Romney is one of the pols beloved--or at least admired--by political consultants and political reporters. But, for whatever reason, Romney doesn't seem to be able to translate that into votes. Or at least he wasn't able to in 2008.

In a way, Romney reminds me a lot of Michael Olowokandi. (I know that likening Romney to a 7-foot Nigerian man might seem strange at first, but stay with me.) The "Kandi Man" was a great basketball player on paper--great enough to be the number one overall pick in the NBA draft--but he was never able to actually put it together on the court once he got to the NBA. I feel like Romney's having the same problems as he tries to take his political act to the highest level. On paper, he looks great, but there's just something about him that doesn't seem to add up in the minds of voters. I'm not sure if even a perfect pre-campaign or campaign strategy can compensate for that.

--Jason Zengerle