The Gladiator Problem

McCain has staked his career on talking straight. But this year voters want details too

Charles Dharapak / AP

John McCain

"Tonight is a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism," Mitt Romney said after winning the primary in Michigan, the state where he was born and where his father governed. This was, as is Romney's wont, distillate of hokum. The former Massachusetts governor remains the most pessimistic of candidates, always assuming the worst about the public—and never taking a difficult position or telling a hard truth. In Michigan, he suddenly opposed higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, included in the recent energy bill signed by the President. He also chided John McCain for telling the hard truth that some of the blue-collar auto...

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