Good campaigns recognize their errors and adjust. A nimble campaign reflects some humility (we got it wrong) and some nerve (let’s try something new). For Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) that meant going after Newt Gingrich with fervor. For Gov. Rick Perry that meant shifting from a look-what-I-did-in-Texas message to one built around some conservative policies (e.g., a flat tax). For Mitt Romney that meant being more accessible and showing more of who he is as a person. On Fox News Sunday he did that in spades, in perhaps his most emotionally connective moments of the campaign:
His sincerity is bracing, and whatever you think of his politics, you come away with the sense that he is an intensely decent human being.
Yes, he should perhaps have been doing interviews earlier and talking about his wife, his family and his service to his church months ago. But working in his favor is the newness of the information and the revelatory quality, which is refreshing at a point in the campaign when we’ve heard the same thing about the candidates over and over. And, yes, it makes for quite a contrast against Newt Gingrich, who cheated on and left two sick wives.
Personal character and family life are not the sole reasons to vote for a candidate. They may not even be the principal reason. But ultimately voters want to be proud of the person for whom they vote, and if elected, of the president they have chosen.