Get ready for another political book tour. Also another political reinvention.
A former Republican governor in mostly Democratic Massachusetts, Mitt Romney has long defied easy description.
He ran for president in 2008 by banking hard to his conservative side, convinced by his strategists that there was an opening to the right of maverick moderate Republican John McCain.
He worked to raise money and offer advice to long-shot Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown, but he stayed in the background (until Brown's victorious election night) lest he stir animosity among voters still smarting over his healthcare reforms.
Now, two weeks before the publication of "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness," Romney is pivoting again -- this time pitching himself as a problem-solver whose background as a successful financier makes him the ideal candidate to rescue the ailing U.S. economy.
Like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Romney is planning a book-tour blitz that mirrors his ambitions -- starting on ABC's "The View," stopping at the first-vote-in-the-primary state of Iowa, and speaking this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., a temperature-reader on the emotions of the GOP base.
But in a fascinating piece, the Boston Phoenix wonders if "letting Mitt be Mitt" will work. A Mormon whose father, George Romney, was governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate in 1968, the younger Romney has had a hard time finding his political bearings.
For one thing, his previous reincarnations -- he ran as a liberal Republican in a losing attempt to unseat the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy -- have already strained his credibility. "Any further change -- even to become the real, authentic Romney -- will be viewed with suspicion, if not derision," wrote the Phoenix.
But the real problem, said the paper, is "the real Mitt Romney -- Harvard MBA, political scion, hardworking businessman, super-wealthy master of Wall Street offerings, devout Mormon -- might not be what Republican primary voters actually want."
Up next: Scott Brown the book
After seven gee-whiz days in the United States Senate, Scott Brown has decided to follow in the literary footsteps of another once-unknown state senator from the other party and write a premature memoir about his life so far.
At this point the Massachusetts Republican (gee, that's a strange word combo to type without adding Mitt Romney) would be expected to produce a fairly short tome, collecting all the memories of his first 168 hours in one of the world's most elite, ego-filled clubs of esteemed talkers. He could include his victory speech.
But his new spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho, formerly of the rogue Republican National Committee under Michael Steele, who, like Sarah Palin and Romney and Karl Rove, has also written a book, says the 50-year-old Brown has been approached by many people to tell his life story.
(What is it about politics that people must say they've been approached by unnamed others to seek election and write a book? Why not just say, 'I want the office and I want to tell a self-serving story to make some extra dough during my 15 minutes of fame?' It's not like these volumes are statements of audacious modesty, after all.)
Brown is behind his college-age daughter Ayla, who's been promoting her own book on morning shows and singing as she did on "American Idol" awhile back.
Anyway, Gitcho says Brown will work with a collaborator. And to be honest, with all the snow days in D.C. recently and Sen. Harry Reid's impossible schedule, they haven't exactly been making history every hour on the famous Hill of Gab. So publisher and publication date are as yet unset.
Maybe Brown will take some of the book proceeds and buy a new pickup truck since, at last report, his old one had more than 201,000 miles on it.
Neuman writes for The Times.
Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics ( www.latimes.com "> www.latimes.com /ticket ), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.