It might be counterintuitive, but just as widely abhorred negative campaigns can be more informative, moderately vague campaigns allow for more measured policy planning. That’s not to say reporters shouldn’t push Romney to provide more details about what he’d do as President. They should. But the fact that he isn’t shouldn’t be viewed as an existential crisis for his campaign or the nation.
From a compilation of critical feedback from conservatives such as Lowry and Ponnuru emerges a decent defense:
In an email, Republican strategist Mary Matalin largely defended the Romney campaign from the critics. "…these same pages (to which I am addicted and agree with 99.9%) lambasted Romney for his 59-Point economic plan for its specificity, now they lament his non-specificity," she wrote. "He has given any number of specific speeches and insights to not only his policies, but the philosophy whence they emanate."
For me, the critical issue for a man running on righting our fiscal imbalance is some basic arithmetic that will indicate how this will be accomplished. So far, we have a huge tax cut, a huge increase in defense spending and only a long-term fix to Medicare by turning it into a premium support program. This does not strike me as anywhere close to a realistic fiscal future which does not get us into even deeper debt. In the basic math, Romney needs to have some kind of plan that adds up. So far, he doesn't. After Bush-Cheney, "Trust me, I'm a Republican" is not a soothing alternative.
(Illustration: A reader says it's been making the rounds on Facebook: "Too good not to pass along.")