Mitt Romney Doesn't Realize the Primaries Are Over

Let it not be said that William Kristol—magazine editor, Fox News commentator, all-around uberpundit and man-about-town—is not a man with practical solutions for the strategic challenges that face a Republican presidential campaign. Today he gives the Romney advance team an important heads-up: "Mitt Romney's hosting a campaign event at Jeffco Fairgrounds in Golden, Colorado around lunchtime today, and a quick scan of Chick-fil-A's website shows several locations within fifteen miles or so of the Romney event. So it should be easy for Romney to stop at a Chick-fil-A for a photo-op (and a sandwich!) on his way there."

Is Romney going to take the advice? I'd bet my bottom dollar he is. Because Chick-fil-A has become the right's culture war emblem of the moment, Mitt won't be able to resist. It would be just the latest sign of something rather remarkable: the election is only three months away, and almost everything Mitt Romney does seems geared not toward persuading undecided voters, but toward securing his base. Wasn't he supposed to have that taken care of by now?

Maybe it's just force of habit. After all, he's been relentlessly pandering to the right for the past six years, ever since he began his first run for president. Their distrust of him was so powerful that he had to put every ounce of energy he could toward convincing them that he really was, as he put it in (inaccurately) describing his Massachusetts governorship, "severely conservative." His every strategic decision, practically every word out of his mouth for so long has been about leaping to the right, that I imagine that his first reaction to any question or any situation is to say and do the wingnuttiest thing he can think of. Can you think of a single thing Romney has done or said that represents that "move to the center" candidates are always supposed to do after they secure the nomination? I watch politics for a living, and I can't. Each new Romney move, from bellicosity toward Iran to insulting Palestinians to this insane new ad attacking the auto bailout (think Barack Obama would mind having a debate about that?) seems designed to appeal to one Republican constituency or another. It's almost as if he doesn't realize the primaries are over and he won.

So look out, Chick-fil-A. Mitt Romney is coming, and he's hungry.

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