Thursday, May 01, 2003

Romney's permanent campaign. Amid the squabbling over Governor Mitt Romney's reorganization plan that leads both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald today is a fascinating tidbit: Romney has launched a radio-ad campaign urging listeners to demand that the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature not raise taxes, even though absolutely no one other than a few lonely progressives is talking about a tax increase in the first place.

This from the Globe story, by Rick Klein:

On Monday, [House Speaker Tom] Finneran reminded his colleagues at a closed-door caucus of House Democrats that Romney may work to unseat them next year, when all legislators are up for reelection.

"Romney and his team have machine guns, and they have bullets with our names on them," Finneran told the caucus, according to several House members who were in attendance.

Of course, Romney should campaign to elect more Republicans to the legislature. Ultimately, that's the only way he'll have any hope of succeeding. The problem is that when he goes into political mode, his tendency is to be so disingenuous and heavy-handed that he does himself more harm than good.

How to explain it? Here's a theory. Despite coming from a political family, Romney seems to be entirely unfamiliar with the political culture. Like a lot of people in the business community, he appears to be deeply cynical toward politicians, and therefore he assumes that this sort of crapola is standard operating procedure.

Beacon Hill is far from perfect, but most of the folks up there are not nearly as cynical as Romney thinks they are. Urging voters to get riled up about a tax increase that no one is even proposing is just a miserable way to do business.

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