So Jim is right that Romney was viewed as a superior LEADER to Obama after the debate. Leadership overcomes partisanship. Leadership gets results.

That plays to Romney’s REAL strengths: He’ll be all about mending—not ending—our entitlements, through market-based reforms that will be optional at first (or until we’re sure they work). His alternative to Obamacare will deal with that prickly pre-existing condition issue, which is one big problem with our present pre-ObamaCare system. He doesn’t want to cut revenues but cut the tax rates—so that the rich actually pay more in a way they can believe in. President Romney will get all this done in a way that brings in genuine leaders from both parties. He isn’t animated by the ideological hostility of Tea Partiers and libertarians to the welfare state as such. He’s a fairly confident supply-sider nonetheless.

But I’m surprised Jim didn’t add that Romney’s highest rating on the approval-meter lurking beneath the candidates on the CNN screen was over his riff on the Constitution, the Declaration, rights, and such stuff. It’s easy to see how his branders could improve this message with the phrase “limited government” and a little (not too much) more specificity on the rights to life and (religious) liberty.

So Romney is winning to the extent he can combine the post-partisanship of a leader (a quality formerly attributed to the president) with a kind of constitutionalism that’s not an attack on our safety nets as soft despotism.

For the record, I actually admired the president embracing ObamaCare as his own, intertwining its fate with his fate.

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