by Rich Abete
This post originally appeared on BNV in April. However, it has been edited and updated and remains relevant today.
I’ve written quite a bit about the Republican presidential candidates. I mean, who could resist that certifiable and hapless bunch? From the rank hypocrisy of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann (and the rest of them for that matter), to Rick Santorum’s misogynistic overreach, from Newt’s baggage (which would rival the contents of the cargo hold on a 747), to Ron Paul’s list of pathologies that likely appear in the DSM-IV, they have provided me with endless fodder upon which to opine….and about which to be horrified. But there is a conspicuous omission from this list of characters from which I’ve derived such reluctant and ambivalent pleasure: Willard Mitt Romney.
Alright, so the obvious question is, “Why would I take a pass on such an easy target?” The answer is in the question (of course, they were all like hitting the broad side of a barn). However, since Mr. Romney has clinched his party’s nomination, it is now my civic duty (and anyone else’s who has a venue in which to rant) to make sure this guy’s myriad foibles are exploited to the hilt. To that end, let’s have some fun!
Let’s first establish what type of guy Mr. Romney is. This one word sums him up quite neatly: chameleon. Even with the absence of a darting tongue, this much is apparent. By the way, chameleon, according to dictionary.com, can be defined as a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person.
Much has been made of Mr. Romney’s political shape-shifting and glaring lack of core convictions… and rightly so. He has flipped (or is it flopped?) on every major issue that he was cornered to take a position on during the rabid, Republican primary. In fact, he has shape-shifted and painfully pandered on more than a dozen issues…some momentous…since launching his candidacy for the last go around in 2008. In the interest of time and space, here are just a fatuous few that I would consider biggies:
Universal Healthcare (specifically, the individual mandate): We all know that Mr. Romney signed into law a version of universal healthcare coverage when he was governor of Massachusetts that is remarkably similar to the federal Affordable Care Act (which is incidentally facing a constitutional challenge in the SCOTUS with regard to the so-called individual mandate). Even as late as 2009, Mr. Romney wrote an op-ed during the national healthcare debate supporting the Massachusetts plan for the nation as a whole, and he specifically supported the individual mandate. He has distanced himself from his position to such a degree that he now criticizes the President regarding the same mandate for which he advocated, and he has vehemently pledged to “repeal Obama Care.”
Man-Made Climate Change: Mr. Romney once reasonably believed that the issue of man-made climate change was settled by climate change scientists (as factual), of which 98% concur that man is contributing substantively to global warming. Not to be outdone by his primary opponents who unanimously derided the idea of man-made climate change as a hoax during the primary regardless of their previously stated positions, Mr. Romney now speaks eloquently (well, maybe not eloquently) the language of his right-wing cohorts.
Immigration: Once advocating a path to citizenship for “illegals,” Mr. Romney lurched so far right-ward in a transparent maneuver to out-flank his opponents during the primaries, that observing his conversion could have given you whiplash. He now proposes that the government round up the folks that are here illegally (all 12+ million of them!) and send them packing. What a douche… Sorry. That was lazy…but it’s the truth, right? It should be noted that since initial publication of this post, President Obama has gotten out in front on this issue by signing an Executive Order that would functionally allow young folks that come to the U.S. illegally with their parents to stay here without threat of deportation. This has left Mr. Romney literally speechless as of this date, despite incessant questions from reporters regarding the matter.
Right to Choose: In 2002 while campaigning to be governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney stated, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.” Now, of course ever pandering to the right wing, he is ardently pro-life. He does, however, magnanimously make an exception for the victims of rape and incest, unlike many of his brethren on the Right.
What will be so very fascinating to observe for we political junkies, will be Mr. Romney’s artful (or more likely, painfully inept) two-step back to the center in an attempt to appeal to the more moderate electorate in the general election. You really can’t pay for that kind of entertainment. Although it remains inevitable before November, Mr. Romney has not yet made any inevitably awkward maneuvers to claw his way back to moderation to gain the support of many independents. As such, there is yet much to look forward to in the upcoming campaign. His first jerky movement to the center will no doubt be his eventual response to the President’s bold…and yes, political…action on immigration.