So soon after eight years of W circumlocution ("Mistakes were made"), could Americans bear as president another aging frat boy who instinctively mangles language into meaninglessness?
Mitt Romney provides a preview of his brand of highwire linguistics by torturing a five-year- old declaration by Obama that he would unilaterally pursue Osama bin Laden into Pakistan: "I thought it was a mistake of him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce he would go in--rather than to say, as I did, we reserve the right to go wherever we feel is appropriate to secure the interests of the United States of America, and certainly to track Osama bin Laden anywhere he could be found.’’
Say what? For years now, critics have accused Romney of flipflops on issues when the problem may actually run deeper, a venture-capital pitchman's instinctive impulse to fuzz up promises and claims for self-protection.
What Obama actually said in 2007 was "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
A clear statement of intent of what President Obama actually did in 2011, not a boardroom salesman's slippery fine print on an investment.
On Romney's breathtaking joyride of issue-switching--about gays, abortion, etc.--sympathetic onlookers may have given him latitude for having to straddle a wide range of his party's social and political attitudes.
Now the question arises: Is there any there there? Or is it too much to expect real talk from an empty suit?
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is in a war zone, dealing with specifics, "Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with more of our troops coming home. And as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country."
Like it or not, Americans can understand what the President is saying. Do they really want to go back to the unintelligible world of another George W. Bush?