Mitt, What Happened To The Case For Greatness?

OK, I have not yet grabbed the new paperback edition of Mitt Romney's "No Apology," since I have the hardcover (which I reviewed last February along with my analysis of his 2012 remake) and I could read the new introduction online.

But now I'm going to have to get the paperback, so I can go through and see if he's altered the text from the original. I suspect he has. After all, he's altered the title.

The hardcover was called "No Apology: The case for American greatness." The paperback is "No Apology: Believe in America."

I don't care for the change, personally -- the new version is bossy, and seems to imply that I don't believe in America. (For the same reasons, I also don't care for the wording of those yellow-ribbon car magnets, "Support Our Troops." Why not "I Support Our Troops"? Or "Let's All Support Our Troops"? But I'm probably alone on that one.)

In any event, the new introduction gives me further pause, and makes me wonder whether the text itself may have been monkeyed with. Because, the intro doesn't quite fit with the tenor of the hardcover.

As I wrote in my review at the time, "No Apology" was a quite reasonable, often interesting analysis of the global security and economic challenges facing America, focused around the argument that America must remain militarily and economically dominant, lest some competing vision of humanity gain power (Russian, Chinese, or Jihadist). I found many of its arguments unpersuasive, and its criticisms of Obama unnecessarily harsh, but overall I suggested that it "might just make him the most-qualified candidate in the GOP field."

But I also wrote: "It might not, however, get him the votes of the movement conservatives, Tea Party activists, Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity acolytes, and birthers who currently dominate Republican politics."
Judging by the new intro, I'd say Romney has decided that the more reasonable Romney I wrote about back then was not going to cut it.
The intro is about as Tea Party pandering as it gets. He goes on and on about the Founding Fathers (the word 'founders' appears more than a dozen times), and how today's lefties want to destroy everything they stood for -- especially 'freedom,' a word that shows up an amazing 25 times. There are 11 uses of 'Constitution,' including an extended riff on "plain man" farmer Jonathan Smith, delegate to the Massachusetts ratifying convention, who didn't need no stickin' educated lawyer-types (like Harvard law and MBA double-diploma recipient Romney?) to understand the Constitution.
Joe the Plummer gets a shout-out. Not only the Tea Party, but also the 9/12 movement get mentioned. He refers to bills by the number of pages, and carps about lawmakers not reading them. He hurls inane, broad accusations of America-hating against unnamed liberals, "elites," or the unspecified third-person plural, as in "They delight when they can replace personal responsibility with government requirements." The accusation of socialism, which I noted was thankfully absent from the original, gets trotted out in this new intro.
I would also point out one omission that I find striking: New START.
From not long after the hardcover's publishing, Romney has stridently ranted against that treaty. He has been perhaps the single leading voice of opposition, in fact.
The treaty was ratified in December (and since then was ratified by the Russian legislature; Obama signed it today). Surely we are in for dire times -- this fits in precisely with the warnings that are the theme of the book. Yet Romney makes no mention of it (or to much of any foreign-policy developments of the past year) in the intro, and as far as I can tell avoided the topic during yesterday's all-over-the-dial media blitz.
Perhaps the theme of the book has changed, or at least surgically altered. Perhaps Romney is no longer planning to run on this theme of responsible stewardship of America's economic and military might. Maybe he's going to run on Tea Party platitudes. Maybe that's smart. It would be a little disappointing.
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