Plogging away

By JOHN CARROLL  |  August 23, 2006

• Start with the Weekly Standard, which reported, “After years of hammering away at Big Dig ineptitude, Republican governor Mitt Romney now seems imbued with a bit of Churchillian prescience.” The piece talked up Romney’s Big Dig press conferences and his “describing in detail the issues at hand, showcasing an almost bizarrely detailed understanding of engineering minutiae, and even drawing diagrams on the fly.”

Oooh, graphics.

• The Real Clear Politics Web site ran an item (tip o’ the hat to WBZ’s indefatigable Jon Keller) headlined ROMNEY ON THE RISE, which said the Bay State governor is “fast emerging as the alternative to the two moderate heavyweights [John] McCain and [Rudy] Giuliani.”

Too bad about that Mormon thing, though. According to Real Clear Politics, “If the Mormon issue wasn’t floating around in the background, he would almost certainly be the clear front-runner for the nomination.”

• Clear front-runner for most-ridiculous newspaper lead of the year: The Mississippi Press report on Romney’s visit to the Low Achiever State. The story began, “Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined to use his position as guest speaker at the annual Jackson County Republican Women’s Founders’ day event in Pascalouga Thursday to announce his intention to run for president.”

Right. Pascalouga, cradle of presidential campaigns. At the same event, Romney was introduced by Senator Trent Lott (R-Strom Thurmond) thusly: “And he’s so friendly, he could be from Mississippi. The governor of Massachusetts? Well, yes and a great one.” Then again, we know how Trent gets carried away with his introductions.

• Clear front-runner for maybe-not-so-ridiculous lead of the week: the conservative Human Events Web site, which declared, “Make no mistake about it. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is quickly becoming the GOP ‘establishment’ candidate for president in 2008.”

And we all know what that did for George W. Bush eight years ago.

John Carroll is a mass-communication professor at Boston University and a correspondent for WGBH-TV’s “Beat the Press” edition of Greater Boston. He can be reached at

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