Over the past few weeks, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has suddenly begun to defend his success, his family and even his wife’s decision to be a stay-at-home mom. In return, President Obama’s campaign and the media are crying foul. A lead sentence in a Politico piece on Monday said it all: “Meet Mitt Romney the victim.”

While it’s true that Romney finally appears to have realized that turning the other cheek works better as a proverb than a political strategy, he’s hardly the first of this election season to try to garner some sympathy from voters.

Rick Santorum made an entire campaign out of insisting that he’s often paid the price for putting his moral convictions before politics; Newt Gingrich unendingly blamed the media for insufficiently capturing his awesomeness on the campaign trail; Ron Paul has long made himself the victim of the Republican establishment, for rudely ignoring his advice over the past century, or however long he’s been in Congress.

But playing the victim, as cherished a political tradition as it is, won’t cut it against Obama, who’s proven that playing the aggressor is a much more effective tactic. His combination of professorial condemnation and swift kneecapping of those who would dare to disagree has made him a masterful bully.

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