Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Romney's Troubles in Michigan


Many commentators are attributing Mitt Romney's plummeting poll numbers in his birth state to his opposition to the auto bailout. But, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia disputes that in her latest column at The Daily. She notes:

This is a primary contest, where Romney has to prove his bona fides to conservative voters, not union diehards, although Michigan does not prohibit cross-party voting. And even though more conservatives in Michigan supported the bailout than elsewhere, they did so out of fear and desperation, not conviction — something that no doubt induced a fair amount of cognitive dissonance in them. It is highly unlikely, therefore, that they would turn this issue into a litmus test for their candidates. Indeed, if that were the case, Santorum wouldn't be in the lead, since he is no fan of the bailout either. In fact, like Romney, he is on record saying that he would have let the auto industry fail.

So what is Romney's problem? It's a vision thing, she argues.

Romney seems singularly incapable of articulating broad themes. He comes across as an utterly prosaic man who thinks in concretes, unable to abstract grand principles. When Michigan voters are pining for soaring rhetoric, Romney is rattling off his "private sector" accomplishments. When they want uplifting poetry, he is busy making trite hometown-boy appeals, asking them to vote for him because he is "a son of Detroit."

Read the whole thing here.