Just imagine Mitt Romney’s inner monologue on the day he signed RomneyCare. There’s his old nemesis Ted Kennedy standing next to him, smiling that Kennedy smile. Finally the Heritage Foundation’s conservative alternative to single payer health care will get a chance in the nation’s most liberal state. This is how you become president, Ol’ Mitty, he must have thought. Just play it down the middle.
We know Mitt is a malleable guy, to say the least. For years, he pretended to be sincerely pro-choice. Now he pretends to be severely anti-abortion rights. But he’s always been, as Kennedy quipped, “multiple choice. What Mitt never expected back then was that a Democratic president would appropriate his signature achievement – and that it would then become the most hated thing in Fox Nation since Jimmy Carter.
So Mitt’s campaign has devolved into a charade where he is trying to become the lovechild of Limbaugh and Reagan — even more conservative than the nation’s foremost fundamentalist, Rick Santorum. He wanted to project strength, but somehow his contrail stank of weakness.
As former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum explains:
For the past year, we have watched him be pushed around by the radical GOP fringe. He’s been forced to abjure his most important achievement as governor, his healthcare plan. In December, he was compelled to sign onto the Ryan budget plan after months of squirming to avoid it. Last fall he released an elaborate economic plan. On the eve of the Michigan primary, he ripped it up and instead accepted a huge new tax cut – to a top rate of 28 per cent – that has never been costed (and that he now tries to avoid mentioning whenever he can). Romney has acknowledged in interviews that he understands that big rapid cuts in government spending could push the US economy back into recession. Yet he campaigns anyway on the Tea Party’s false promise that it’s the deficit that causes the depression, rather than (as he well knows) the other way around.
Mitt’s business and financial record, shrouded in secrecy, has been turned into a battering ram by the Obama campaign. No longer does the press corps swallow the idea that Mitt and Bain Capital created jobs. Instead, more and more, Bain is associated with a malignant force in our economy: gamblers who play with other people’s money, raking in big gains while socializing their losses.
Thus Mitt’s true weakness is revealed: He can’t get a grip his on his own narrative.