The leaked strategy memos of Giuliani, McCain and Romney stirred a tempest earlier in the campaign. We have obtained copies of the redacted material from those documents and excerpts from similar memos to other declared and potential Republican candidates. We cannot vouch for their authenticity. But they sound candid--and all too true. We present them here one by one -- with today's third installment on Mitt Romney -- in the spirit of Jonathan Swift, who, in his Modest Proposal, suggested that the Irish save themselves from famine by eating their children, and was taken seriously by the credulous and the censorious. After all, the Republicans, amid a famine of performance and ideas, today seem on the verge of cannibalizing themselves.
From the Romney Memo
. . . The hair color is just right; make sure you keep it that way.
. . . Contrary to the suppositions of the chattering class, your Mormonism is helping you. (Ignore the poll that says a minority will hold it against you; a quarter of Americans said they wouldn't vote for a Catholic before the 1960 election.) The Mormonism is especially useful with the group that is supposedly most concerned about it--the religious right. Whatever their attitude toward it (is it a "Christian faith"?) it can persuade them that you really mean the conservative positions you're taking now rather than the moderate ones you took in Massachusetts--that you are pro-life, anti-stem cell, anti-gay marriage. You were great on stoking the fires on gay marriage in the lame-duck days of your Governorship. We will see the tape from that 1994 debate when you were running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, said you were pro-choice, and he replied that you were "multiple choice." We can live with it because the religious right, except for a few diehards who will never forgive what they regard as opportunistic heresy, can decide that the flip wasn't you and the flop is--that you're with them on the social issues. . .
On Iraq, support Bush, but lay low; let McCain take the heat. To be blunt about it, the worse the war goes, the worse McCain will do. You have to be there to fill the void. If we can get it down to you and Giuliani, we can take him out: He's the kind of Republican you pretended to be in Massachusetts, not the kind you are now. By the way, do we have that picture of him in drag? Some "independent" groups might want to mail it out in South Carolina.
We do have to fix our advance operation. It was unfortunate that when you spoke to the Cuban exile community in Miami, you bungled the Hispanic names. In the future, we'll have them printed phonetically on a card--as in HO-SAY. But it was a lot worse when you concluded with a flourish: "Patrio o Muerte! Venceremos!"--"Fatherland or Death! We shall be victorious!"--because that's the signature line with which Castro ends all his speeches. (The Venceremos Brigade was comprised of American lefties who went down to help Castro's revolution.) So, you didn't know this; but somebody with you should have. It wasn't a fatal slip of the tongue along the lines of your father saying during the 1968 Presidential campaign that he was "brainwashed" on a fact-finding trip to Vietnam. But we do need a "brain trust"-- staff who vet your speeches and experts who can make you look like you know something about foreign policy. . .
You couldn't have been re-elected Governor of Massachusetts--and that's an asset with Republicans--so you ran for President. You might actually win the nomination, even the election. But our slogan probably shouldn't be "Venercermos."