Franklin Delano Romney

Rather, it’s more likely that the Republican nominee is behaving like an executive being considered for a C.E.O. job at a high-profile but mismanaged company. He’s trying to tell his job interviewers (both conservative and independent) roughly what they want to hear, while leaving enough flexibility to be able to do things his way once he sees what’s actually under the company’s hood.

If there was a persistent and persuasive theme in his convention address, and in Ann Romney’s as well, it didn’t have anything to do with deficits or taxes or Medicare reform or foreign policy. It was the promise of hard work — work on behalf of “you and your family,” work in pursuit of “jobs, lots of jobs,” work that would “solve the problems that others say can’t be solved” and “fix what others say is beyond repair.”

One can hear in this rhetoric a kind of right-of-center rhyme to Roosevelt’s campaign promise of “bold, persistent experimentation,” his exhortation to “above all, try something,” without necessarily specifying what that something might be.