Via the Brody File, I feel obliged to post this now that he’s the tea-party frontrunner and the recipient of some surprisingly encouraging buzz from evangelical leaders. You know what the most fun part of having Trump in the race would be? The fact that he’s basically the bizarro Romney. They’re oddly alike in some ways. Each has been wildly successful in business and used it as a springboard to other prominent pursuits. Each is highly regarded for his managerial ability, to the extent that Trump had a whole television series built around it. And each is suspect for being excessively opportunistic, replete with conveniently timed awakenings on social issues that matter dearly to the Republican base. Stylistically, though, they couldn’t be more different, Romney buttoned-up and hesitant, Trump flamboyant and oozing roguish charm. Ironically, I think the latter works better for political pandering. When a politician tells you what you want to hear and expects you to believe him, you feel insulted by both the lie and the insult to your intelligence. But when he tells you what you want to hear and seems not to care much whether you believe him or not, it’s a lesser offense. You know he’s pandering and he knows that you know he’s pandering, and, well, there’s some honesty in that.
Which is not to say that Trump is pandering here. Maybe he’s on the level; people — like Mitt Romney! — have changed their minds on abortion before. But I’m mighty curious to see as the race develops (and it sure sounds like it’s developing) whether he gets a wider berth than Mitt did among the base for his social-issue changes of heart.