Ever since his anti-surprising announcement on Monday, Mitt Romney has encountered searing criticism from across the ideological spectrum -- a less than jovial welcome to the 2012 campaign. The Left and the media have flooded the zone with snipes and attacks on everything from his slogan ("Believe in America"), to his new logo, to his record as a job creator:
He made a fortune wheeling and dealing in companies, some of which endured big job cuts as part of restructuring. Some ultimately went bankrupt.
Later,as Massachusetts governor from January 2003 to January 2007, Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S.states, at a time the nation's economy was booming.
Labor Department figures showed Massachusetts ranked 47th among the states in the rate of jobs growth in those four years -- ahead of only Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana.
The Reuters story is a hit piece through and through, brimming with catty remarks from exclusively Democratic sources -- but it's nonetheless a helpful preview of how the Left will try to kneecap Romney should he become Republican nominee. Team Romney is sustaining equally bruising blows on its right flank, as well. Numerous conservatives ridiculed Romney's decision to enter the race nearly five years to the day from signing his signature Massachusetts healthcare plan into law. Philip Klein's unsparing appraisal of Romneycare and its defenders' top five talking points epitomizes this line of attack. Klein's conclusion:
Political analysts keep saying that Romney will have to find a way to address the health care issue. But the reality is, he has no coherent defense to offer and it’s too late to disavow the law. As I’ve written before, Romney’s only hope is to simply survive the issue by attrition, hoping that the primary electorate’s attention is diverted elsewhere and that no viable alternative candidate emerges.
Perhaps the most devastating of the early attacks comes in the form of an impudent oppo-research niche website called Multiple Choice Mitt -- tag line: One every side of every issue. The fairly rudimentary site, which appears to have been created by a Democrat operative, juxtaposes Romney's apparently conflicting statements and positions on a host of issues. Especially cringe-worthy are his flips on social issues like abortion, gay rights, and immigration. The former governor's supporters will protest that their man has publicly and convincingly explained his change of heart on abortion, and that other supposed contradictions are taken out of context. They'll have many months to articulate that case, but websites like Multiple Choice Mitt will make the task more challenging. Romney & Co. are undoubtedly aware of how effective flip-flopping charges helped sink another prominent Bay State pol a few years back:
Parting thought: Does the intensity and immediacy of the anti-Romney attacks indicate he's the guy people are gunning for because he's a threat, or is he simply a target-rich candidate? Or both?