(By Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal) - In the classic 1968 film "Once Upon a Time in the West," a villainous Henry Fonda shoots one of his lackeys, in part for the sin of wearing both a belt and suspenders. How do you trust a man, muses Fonda, who "can't even trust his own pants?"
Mitt Romney is slipping in the polls because, when it comes to his own policies, he is once again wearing a belt, suspenders, and even some elasticized waistbands. The bold Romney who picked Paul Ryan as a catalyst to run on ideas has been ousted by the return of the careful Romney who wants this race to be about Barack Obama. And America is unwilling to trust a man who seems unwilling to trust his own agenda.
The re-emergence of the well-belted Romney began at the GOP convention, where he delivered a speech that had been pared away to nothing but a fleeting reference to his policies. It was on vivid display, too, in Mr. Romney's Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," in which he managed to use 30 minutes of prime time to talk mainly of flotsam, as well as (news flash!) how bad Mr. Obama had made the economy.