Gov. Mitt Romney in Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s Arbutus; Some Confident Signs for November Amid Largely Irrelevant Noise

–Richard E. Vatz

Well, if you don’t like Gov. Mitt Romney, you will say that on this day his aide made a stupid gaffe by saying of the odds-on favorite to secure the Republican Presidential nomination, “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch” in description of Romney’s primary appeals to the right-wing of his party: “You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.” Good show, bud – say your candidate is insincere.

Democrats and liberal mainstream media will try to keep that incredibly dumb remark alive, but almost eight months before the election, it will not, this observer predicts, have legs.

But Romney’s Town Hall meeting in Arbutus, the place wherein Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (full disclosure: a friend of the author of this piece), the Maryland chair of the Romney campaign, grew up, was in fact a rousing success, stylistically and substantively.

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There was not a misstep as the former Governor (Massachusetts) set the crowd on fire with a no-notes rousing campaign speech.

The Baltimore Sun quoted Gov. Romney’s answer to the aide as claiming that he “was talking about organization, not issues: ‘Organizationally, a general election campaign takes on a different profile; the issues I’m running on will be exactly the same. I’m running as a conservative Republican…[T]he policies and positions are the same. ‘ “

Jeb Bush endorsed Romney today, and the town meeting was impressive, again with no sour notes whatsoever.

At the meeting Gov. Romney talked about a wide array of issues; he appeared to be in no hurry, as he was admittedly in hyper-friendly territory. He was particularly impressive in discussing his incredulity that the greatest obstacle to economic growth in the United States was the president and his tax and regulatory policies. The greatest prospect for the United States’ reacquiring its military superiority is, he said partly in answer to yours truly, growing our air and naval forces, not gargantuan cuts; he was incredulous that President Obama believed that announcing exit dates independent of ground status realities in war zones didn’t compromise the success of our military missions.

Many Marylanders will be talking about today’s boffo showing for years; the media will be saying they recall the day of the Romney speech in Arbutus, and “ah, yes…wasn’t that the day the aide revealed what Mitt Romney was really like?”

T’aint true; in Arbutus, Maryland Gov. Mitt Romney exhibited today the rhetorical excellence that will run rhetorical rings around the president, even when the audience is the general American public.

Professor Vatz teaches rhetoric and Communication at Towson University

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