In the Arena

Ancient Politics

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The Republican debate yesterday featured one clearly pre-cooked zinger aimed at Barack Obama by Mitt Romney:

“I mean, in one week he went from saying he’s going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he’s going to bomb our allies,” Romney said. “He’s gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week.”

This was a “successful” attack in that it led all the media accounts of the debate–but it just seemed, as Romney often does, anachronistic to me. I wouldn’t bet the house on this, but it’s possible that when the time comes, and the public actually begins to tune into these things, the use of consultant-bequeathed pre-cooked gotcha lines may well be perceived as phony and counterproductive. Because they so obviously are. Genuine wit works, but that’s in short supply this year (on both sides), as always.