What does this mean for the debate? Romney will have the opportunity to criticize the obvious faults and failures that led this column. Yet now his performance bears some additional burden. First, he must find a way to convince an economically struggling middle-age female voter in Akron, Ohio, that he is concerned in practical ways about her future. Second, and relatedly, he must outline a philosophy of government that isn't libertarian and frightening. Attacks on redistribution and a theoretical defense of economic freedom will not suffice.
The problem is: Both these goals are defensive and should have been accomplished months ago. Romney can still make his case — finally unfiltered by the media — but he has complicated his own task.
Michael Gerson's email address is email@example.com.
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