I have been following politics and basketball for most of my life, and I report about both regularly on television, the web and in print. Even with the recent lockout, the professional basketball season is still interminably long, so any sustained success during the regular season is not necessarily indicative of which team will win the NBA Championship.
The same remains true for politics, and the GOP campaigns and primaries have been so lengthy, the NBA season is a long weekend in comparison. Given this endless campaign, it should not come as a surprise that there have been many peaks and valleys for Mitt Romney in his pursuit of the Republican nomination. However, the difference between Romney and the NBA is that most teams maintain their style of play against all opponents, yet Romney has lowered his standards in a misguided attempt to defeat Rick Santorum.
I am a Democrat and support President Obama, but I've met Governor Romney on numerous occasions and have written about him for this publication. Eighteen months ago I found him to be intelligent, articulate and considered some of his views (and certainly his record) to be more moderate than conservative. In one of my Huffington Post blogs I referred to Romney as Undercover Boss when he suggested effective government reforms rather than absurd budget cuts demanded by other Republicans. I was surprised at the number of people I'd interviewed who had voted for Obama and were considering changing parties for Romney. Many of these were socially liberal, but fiscally conservative Democrats who are still sitting on the fence.
Regrettably, Romney's choices of late have been imprudent and he has shifted his positions in order to do battle with Rick Santorum, focusing more on social issues than economics. Wooing the ultra-right has damaged Romney's reputation and continuing on this path will lead to his political demise. Fortunately, given the length of the political season, Romney has ample time to adjust his game plan and pursue a more intelligent strategy so he may make a serious run against President Obama. It's time for Governor Romney to stop slinging the mud and get down to business.