Remember Mitt Romney’s leadership during the debt ceiling crisis? Of course you don’t because Mitt disappeared from the national stage until a deal had been negotiated. Then he criticized the plan that was negotiated.

Mitt Romney, aka Mr. Finger-in-the-Wind, struck again yesterday in Ohio. Here’s what he did:

Campaigning in Ohio today, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stopped by a Republican Party phone-bank making calls in support of Gov. John Kasich’s government union reform referendum, but refused to endorse the actual referendum. CNN’s Peter Hamby called the scene an “incredible moment in politics.”

Gov. Romney’s spine must’ve been on strike that day. Seriously, what’s the objective behind Mitt’s visit? Was he there to express his solidarity with GOP grassroots activists? It that’s what the objective was, his visit was a total failure.

Expressing solidarity with people means expressing solidarity with the work they’re doing. In this instance, the activists were making calls to get people to vote against repealing S.B. 5, the Ohio bill that limits the things that public unions can negotiate.

Instead, Mitt issued this milquetoast, cautious statement:

But Romney would not say specifically if he supports S.B.5, which Ohio voters oppose by a 57-32 margin, according to a Quinnipiac poll out Tuesday

Instead, he issued only generic support for GOP efforts to control spending in Columbus.

“I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues,” Romney said, after being pressed by reporters. “Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s efforts here.”

If Mitt wasn’t prepared to talk specifically about those ballot initiatives, he shouldn’t have visited this call center. Instead, stopping there makes Gov. Romney look calculating. He obviously loves the photo op but he doesn’t want to say anything he thinks is controversial to moderates. That’s what gutless wonders do.

Here’s what real conservatives do:

As a true conservative, I stand with Gov. Kasich in promoting S.B.5 for fiscal responsibility and job creation in Ohio,” Perry said in a statement to CNN. “Gov. Kasich and the Republican leadership of Ohio are to be commended for their efforts.”

That statement is simple, straightforward. It represents a stark contrast to the non-statement statement Gov. Romney issued. Gov. Perry’s been criticized for his gaffes. That’s fair game. Still, I’m betting that he’s respected because he isn’t seen as calculating like Gov. Romney.

Romney’s economic plan features what’s best described as a cautious corporate tax cut, dropping it from 35% to 25%. By comparison, Gov. Perry’s plan cuts it to 20%. Newt’s plan drops it to 12.5%.

I’m betting that people aren’t looking for cautious and calculating this election cycle. I’m betting they’re looking for a candidate who’s a leader who won’t hesitate to propose bold reforms if that’s what makes sense.

Rick Perry hasn’t shown himself to be a great debater. His strength are his accomplishments. He’s gotten alot of positive things done in Texas. Gov. Perry’s economic plan is bold. Most importantly, it’ll get America out of the economic mess that President Obama’s policies have kept us in.

Gov. Romney is losing the leadership battle. He’s too cautious. He isn’t willing to take firm stands on issues, then stick to them. In fact, there’s rumors that he’s thinking about changing his 59-point, 160-page economic plan. Rumor has it that he’ll include a flat tax and swap out his timid tax reform plan.

It’s instructive to note that the economic projections haven’t significantly changed since Labor Day, which is when Mitt introduced his plan. Unemployment hasn’t skyrocketed or plummeted since then.

What’s changed is that a) Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have offered economic plans that center on the flat tax and b) Cain and Gingrich have experienced a significant jump in the polls. I suspect that Perry’s plan will earn him a significant bump in the polls, too.

It’s time for Rick Perry’s or Newt Gingrich’s bold colors. We don’t need Mitt Romney’s pale pastels.

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