The 'Mittness Protection Program'

MittMilk.jpg

Ben Smith has come up with a brilliant new coinage, and Matt Lewis a hilarious illustration, to capture Mitt Romney's conspicuous absence from thorny political debates like the one over raising the debt ceiling. Here's Smith:

Call it the Mittness Protection Program.

Through the hot summer of 2011, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination has been in hiding.

Romney was hit repeatedly by his opponents and the Democrats for refusing to offer an opinion on the debt deal until twelve hours after Congressional leaders accepted it - but that's just been the most obvious example of a campaign that's keeping the candidate far from the front lines and the headlines.


I took my own -- in comparison, lame -- stab at capturing this aspect of Romney in a column last May ("The Do-Nothing Frontrunner") about how Romney was putting the "invisible" in "invisible primary" by just not showing up much. But the larger point of the column was that this was a good strategy for him. Romney's opponents were not exactly covering themselves in glory, and he's prone to making gaffes. Sometimes, less is more.

The debt ceiling debate has tarnished the image of both President Obama and Speaker Boehner - about a third say they have come to have a less favorable view of each leader in recent weeks, while relatively few say their impressions have improved.

Mitt Romney certainly won't win any "Profile in Courage" awards. But in terms of raw politics, steering clear of this fight seems like a shrewd move and the Mittness Protection Program not such a bad place to be.

In light of the toll that the debt-ceiling fight has taken on the politicians who were most involved, I'd say that's more true now than ever. President Obama's approval ratings hit their lowest level last week. According to Pew:

Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In