The Empty Suit is back, winning a 2012 straw poll at the Southern Republican revival meeting, in absentia over Dr. No, Ron Paul; the Man of a Thousand Ideas, Newt Gingrich; and the Madonna of a Million Punch Lines, Sarah Palin.
Mitt Romney, who went down in the 2008 primaries by contradicting himself daily, is going for the White House this time as a stealth candidate, hoping to ride a GOP tidal wave by crouching under the radar.
Unseen, he prevailed by a single vote this weekend in New Orleans by sneaking in 200 “Evangelicals for Mitt,” who handed out Romney buttons, piggy banks emblazoned with “Elect a president who won’t break the bank,” and copies of his new book, “No Apology,” an ironic title for the man who spent his last campaign flip-flopping on abortion, gay rights and every other issue in the Religious Right political bible.
Hoping to be the 2012 “default candidate,” Romney has been spending his time on what could described as an unPalin book tour, “with the patient, workmanlike mien that has distinguished him from other probable contenders who seem far more eager for attention,” as one report puts it.
In his low-key efforts, Mr. Smooth could be counting on later use of a secret weapon, Rush Limbaugh, a wholly owned subsidiary of Romney’s former partners, waiting in the wings to defend him against “drive-by media attacks” on his Mormon faith, as he did in 2007.