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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You betcha!

Not to inject religion into the 2012 GOP presidential primary, but I thought Mormons did not gamble? So why did Mitt Romney wager $10,000 for Rick Perry to prove edits to a Romney book that can be found here?

That wager appears to be the sound bite moment in yet another of the endless GOP debates, this one taking on a bit more importance because we're less that a month from the Iowa caucuses with a narrowing field.

The Romney gambit was foolish on so many levels, despite the protests of Eric Fehrnstrom. It's a change from the usually cool, collected and rational businessman. It seems jarring coming from a strait-laced Mormon. And it reflects how out of touch Romney is with the 99 percent, for whom $10,000 is not an insubstantial sum of money to be frittered away on a wager.

Democrats were quick to pounce on Romney, but there's so much more fodder here: Newt Gingrich reigniting flames in the Middle East; Ron Paul raising the obvious questions about Gingrich's personal and political hypocrisy; Michele Bachmann's catchy but desperate effort to create "Newt Romney" (isn't that Obamaney?).

But back to the $10,000. The wager is in sharp contrast to the image painted of Romney by the The New York Times in a feature outlining the thrifty businessman who drove beat-up cars. And that in turn reflects Romney's desperation in the face of a lifelong political problem of plummeting polls numbers as people get to know him.

There's one safe wager here: Romney is feeling the heat and shifting out of his automaton mode. That can make the weeks leading up to the caucus entertaining -- but potentially devastating to Our Man Myth.

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