As Salena Zito has pointed out, Mitt Romney is on fire. With the President's riff on small business owners -- "you didn't build that" -- the man has finally met his moment.
As I pointed out last week, guest-hosting for Hugh Hewitt, this election has got to be framed as being about something bigger than simply a Romney-Obama showdown -- otherwise, it's just a personality contest between two men. Rather, it's got to be about competing visions, about the nature of the American economy and the nature of the American people -- and the contrasting futures for our country that each vision will enable.
With his dismissive and arrogant remark, the President may have provided a turning point in the campaign -- not just because of the remark itself, but even more because of its effect on Governor Romney.
It's almost as if the spontaneous remarks finally convinced the Governor of the President's true views about the role of government as the "prime actor" in American life -- and those views genuinely appalled him. Now, he's articulating with passion and brilliance a competing view of government and the American character -- offering a vision of America many of us have long embraced, where government is the servant of the people and every individual has (or ought to have) the opportunity to make of him- or herself what s/he will.
With no record of accomplishment to run on, most of the President's campaign has been about trying to convince voters that Romney is not "one of us" -- that his enormous personal success means that he doesn't "understand" who we are and what we want. With his slur on small business owners, the President managed to undo his whole narrative, putting Governor Romney squarely on the side of anyone who sees (or wants to see) the individual -- rather than the government -- as the indispensable factor in achievement, effort and success.
In his obvious rejection of the President's government-centric view of American life, and in his passionate affirmation of the American can-do spirit, Governor Romney is a man who has found his moment. Whenever he feels his energy or passion flagging, let us hope Governor Romney keeps President Obama's remark in mind.