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posted: 8/29/2012 8:19 PM

Editorial: Our tepid mood and Romney's moment in history

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Tonight, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accepts the Republican presidential nomination in a triumphant moment that will be one of the personal highlights of his life and with a speech that will be one of his most important.

As we sit at our keyboard typing these words, we're trying to figure out what to make of it. Should we feel energized? Hopeful? Intrigued? Should we sense the pulse of history?

Truth be told, we so far feel little of that. And, we suspect, we are not alone.

Truth be told, what we feel is tired. And, we suspect, we are not alone in that fatigue either.

Why is that? Is the flaw in Romney? Or of more unfortunate portent, could it simply be in our endlessly declining politics?

Four years ago, the mood was one of excitement at both national conventions. Barack Obama and John McCain each offered inspirational candidacies. At least back then.

Today, the country is weary -- weary, to be sure, of a prolonged economic malaise that offers such slight hint of genuine recovery. Few families have escaped the substantial pain and the unrelenting uncertainty of it.

But, if possible, we may be even more weary of the cynicism of our politics. Beaten down, divided, exhausted by it.

The partisan lockjaw in Washington, D.C., over significant matters such as health care and spending sadly places brinkmanship over solutions, electoral advantage over the public good.

The debilitating appeasement of special interests by both parties undermines the nation's faith in public service. The unrestrained influence of money in our elections greatly lowers the level of discourse.

The recently concluded GOP primary season featured bitter and negative campaigning that reached new lows. The initial volleys in the fall campaign suggest the tone of the general election debate will be no better.

No wonder we on the editorial board -- politics junkies, all -- are having a hard time feeling invigorated by the debate so far this year, and that much of the country is too.

No wonder.

Into this unsettled environment slides Mitt Romney, a nice and able man, by all accounts. We find him likable enough. But he is a man also who so far lacks charisma, who so far seems disconnected to everyday families, who some say won his party's nomination largely because none of the other electable Republicans ran.

His views are not easy to discern. Is he conservative? Is he moderate? What does he really believe?

We endorsed Obama four years ago. We have had our share of second thoughts since. A lot of the country feels that way.

This time around, like a lot of the country, we're open to an alternative.

What's our advice to Romney tonight?

Uplift us.

And convince us.

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