The curious thing about Romney’s verbal missteps is how limited they are to this very specific area of public policy. He is usually quite articulate when talking about foreign affairs and national security. Despite his complicated history on social and cultural matters like health care and abortion, his explanations are usually both coherent and comprehensible, even to those who oppose his positions [bold mine-DL]. It’s only when he begins talking about economic issues – his biographical strength – that he seems to get clumsy.
This is just wrong. Romney has regularly made ridiculous statements on all of these other issues. It’s true that some of these date back to his first presidential campaign, and these tend to be issues where it takes some familiarity with them is required to recognize just how ridiculous they are, the candidate who once promised to “double Gitmo,” declares that there shouldn’t be an “inch of space” between the U.S. and allied governments, and rules out any and all negotiations with the Taliban does not deserve the credit he is getting here. Romney is “articulate” about foreign affairs in the sense that he has learned his rehearsed, scripted lines, and he can deliver those lines smoothly. That said, does he ever give non-Republicans the impression that he really understands what he’s talking about? No, he doesn’t.
Pro-life conservatives can readily spot the flaws in Romney’s statements on social issues. Romney has won over some pro-lifers by making statements that are considered merely good enough, but no one actually credits his story that it was ESCR that changed his mind about abortion. One of the things that got him into trouble last cycle was that he insisted on talking about these issues even though he was not very good at it. Romney’s awkwardness on questions of wealth and class is more apparent to more observers because these are not things he can handle by reciting party-line slogans, and there are many more people with stronger opinions about wealthy, out-of-touch politicians than there are critics of his foreign policy ignorance.