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Monday, October 24, 2016

Mitt Romney raised eyebrows by delivering a speech on Wednesday suggesting that President Obama is an unreliable figure, devoid of principle, program, and purpose. “He wants us to re-elect him,” the presumptive GOP nominee practically sneered, “so we can find out what he will actually do.” Someone clearly advised him that an audacious attack on Obama’s character would please the partisan base, distract voters from his own opportunistic gyrations, and create space for him to draw a new, flattering, resolute portrait of himself.

But as a presdidential nominee who spent most of the primary season erasing his own political record, Romney may already have eliminated any positive rationale for his candidacy. After disowning the most important programs and positions he advocated as Massachusetts governor, what can he present as his qualifications for the presidency? Please don’t say Bain Capital, because the nation is in no mood to elevate a ruthless private equity mega-millionaire into the Oval Office. And don’t say Summer Olympics, because that doesn’t sound quite big enough for a would-be leader of the free world.

Adopting the favored cliché of conventional politics, Romney’s friends and advisors — even his wife Ann — assure us that he will now pivot toward the broader electorate, returning to positions that once marked him as an acceptably moderate Republican. When everyone learns his true views, we won’t have to worry about his pandering to the Tea Party, the religious extremists and the corporate right. But even if he can persuasively distance himself from the far right on such issues as contraception — the surprise controversy that reopened the partisan gender gap — he will not be able to retrieve the gubernatorial record he has discarded.

Romney’s obsessive erasure of his own achievements began before the last presidential cycle, while he prepared to enter the 2008 Republican primary. During those years, he notoriously shifted long-held positions on abortion, stem cell research, gay rights, illegal immigration, and other key issues in an effort to outflank John McCain on the right. The makeover went well beyond social issues. Having vowed in 2003 that he would never sign Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge as governor, he signed the same pledge with a flourish  four years later. And having spent millions of taxpayer dollars in the pursuit of alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels as a hedge against climate change in 2003, he spun around to denounce such notions in a 2007 press release. His enthusiasm for fossil fuels — and his disdain for “green jobs” — can scarcely be matched today by Sarah “Drill Baby” Palin.

If Romney can convince voters of his newfound right-wing orthodoxy, that won’t help him explain why he should be president. Given the partisan gridlock that has confronted the inexperienced Obama, a candidate boasting of success as Republican governor of a Democratic state could arguably offer an alternative. But while Romney often talks about his role in working with legislators of the other party, he can no longer describe what they did without eroding his own party’s enthusiasm. Certainly he cannot “pivot” back to the universal health coverage that became his signature accomplishment — a bill that inspired the Obama administration’s insurance mandate and required substantial state spending (and taxes) to achieve its worthy objective. Indeed, he hasn’t been able to talk about the goal of universal coverage, which is simply unacceptable to the “let ’em die” ideologues of the Tea Party. He can’t even brag too loudly about eliminating the state’s budget deficit because that too involved increasing taxes — or hiking fees and closing loopholes for the wealthy, viewed with equal contempt in his party.

Reforming health care and balancing budgets frame the entirety of Romney’s single term as governor. The final blow to any bipartisan credibility that Romney might still retain came when he endorsed the “marvelous” Ryan budget, a plan that undermines both of those goals while symbolizing the dysfunctional divisiveness of the Republican Congressional majority.

Maybe he should start talking about the Olympics after all. It isn’t an impressive credential for the American presidency — but when the summer games begin, at least he won’t have to pretend that he never supported them.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • Romney’s most important qualification for the presidency is that he’s not Barack Obama.

    • Well, Good luck with that!!

    • What policy(ies) has the Obama administration supported not benefited 98% of the American population?

    • What policy(ies) has the Obama administration supported not benefited 98% of the American population?

    • ElviraRamirez

      And????? That does not qualify for the job. If we could at least know what he stands for would be a good start.

    • CrankyToo

      Which is one reason why Romney will never be President of the United States – but only one.

  • SLH

    Romney, the chameleon candidate, calling the president an unreliable figure is like Rush Limbaugh criticizing someone else for being overweight.

  • God bless America and save us from evil and wicked leaders in Jesue name.

    • rustacus21

      … Jesus also believed it was our obligation to enlighten ourselves, in order to be free of the wickedness of ignorance, greed, gluttony & covetous envy. 2 B an ‘activist’ on bhalf of what is good & righteous, virtuous & moral, w/in each of us. Whether a Liberal/Progressive or not, we should all want to emulate, advocate even, these same values daily, reflecting similarly, Progressive/Liberal ACTS of Jesus & many, many other historical Liberal/Progressives…

  • edwardw69

    The Olympics? He can’t even talk about that: he used federal bailout money to turn them around.

  • Jeffrey Howard

    Don’t forget that HIS saving the Olympics involved a HUGE GOVERNMENT BAILOUT!

  • ajames10560

    Sorry Joe, but you can’t discount Bain Capital, as it is a large part of Romney’s frame of reference. As well, many people in this great nation feel it is time to elevate a ruthless (sic) private equity mega-millionaire into the Oval Office…. accompanied by an equally financial charged Cabinet. Its is relatively clear that the current leader and his staff are not financially adept.

    • nhpoet

      Sorry but you have one of Mitt Romney’s best qualifications – unable to understand reality. For your information:

      Romney wanted the auto industry to go bankrupt because Detroit could not be saved. President Barack Obama went against most advice and bailed out the auto industry – saving thousands of jobs and beginning the end of the Great Recession.

      Romney would have this country go back to the policies and practices that got us into such an economic calamity. Obama’s record shows a long list of accomplishments that are starting to restore the financial viability of our nation – all accomplished with the complete opposition of Republican members of Congress and Republican dominated state legislatures.

      Romney campaigned in Wisconsin with the author of the Republican House budget that would devastate our national economy, destroy the economic safety net for the American people, increase the failure of our schools, health care system, and infrastructure as well as eliminate personal freedoms – and he ignored the present Republican governor who will be facing an enormous public outcry in a recall election and facing possible criminal charges in a John Doe investigation of his county executive service. Obama’s mini-documentary campaign video narrated by Tom Hanks has galvanized thousands of voters across the country to fight against Republican-led attacks on our democratic society.

      Sorry ajames10560, it is time to answer back to fascists who advocate the ruthless dismantling of our American heritage. Soon it will begin to feel that you are talking to yourself.

      • stopthelying56

        Good job nhpoet I agree, I’ll never trust a lying Mormon he’ll sway anyway he can to get control of this country legalize change laws to better life for Mormon’s.

        Rep lied, created this miss

      • rustacus21

        YIKES!!! ALL this & there’s (Conservative) Americans who STILL want to vote 4 this guy?!? Talk about the fallout of PTSD conditions!!! I heard Romney say the other day, that the Obama administration was a ‘failure’… & I thought to myself, ‘…dude, R U serious? U’r party is blocking progress!!! He’s going to fail at something, under the circumstances!!!’… – More proof this guy is not ‘operating’ in the same world/reality as normal, average, ordinary American Middle Classers & the Working Poor… Thanx 4 telling it like it REALLY IS!!!

  • William Deutschlander

    Poor, poor Mitten, first he will lie then he will deny!

    Mitten’s accomplishments ALL denied, anything else he lied!

    Mitten is a pathalogical liar in need of mental health assistance!

    Mitten wasn’t the strongest candidate of an incredibly weak (sick) republican feild, however he and his Bain Capital types, had enough money to buy him the the top spot!

    Just what our country needs a lie & deny, Bain Capital, Hedge Fund opportunist, dictitorial type to dictate what our Republic, a Democracy, should and should not do, for we the people, you know ALL the people not just the chosen few wealthiest of the wealthy, 1%!!!!

    Democracy, Democratic in 2012!

  • nhpoet

    Mitt Romney is the perfect nominee for the neoconservative Republican Party. His qualifications to be the next Republican president include (but not limited to): he’s illogical, and unable to speak honestly; an enemy of the American people, opposed to abiding by the U.S. Constitutional; bought and paid for by the big corporations; historically ignorant and lacking in enough intelligence to direct our nation’s foreign policy; unable to comprehend economic strategy or devise a federal budget that will benefit anyone who earns less than a million dollars a year; has an uncanny ability to see the negatives while representing nothing that can be construed as positive achievements to qualify to be president; and cannot make a national speech without telling a bad joke and/or lying through his teeth.

    Is this something Republicans can rejoice in?

  • I would rather elect Zippy the Pinhead than this knuckle head as president of this great nation. anybody out there remember Zippy? No matter what the GOP says, the situation that this country finds itself in today is THEIR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I don’t see why people believe what Mitt is saying. He flip flops on every subject. he can’t make up his mind of what it want to do. At least I am not Blind. I see him for what he is. A person who will say anything to get the votes he needs. He close factories, and fired people, and then reopen it and hire more people. Have money on off shore accounts, not paying taxes on it. And his Health plan that he put into place, is like Obamacare and he want to override it. Not a person to trust in my opinion. Like all politicians they say what they want done and they know it would not happen. Obama found that out. No one want to play together, they are like little children, “I am not going to play with you, you not playing fair. I hate you”which is the (congress). If they would have let him have some of his plans he has for this country, then maybe the country would not be the way it is. But will will never know.

  • citizenmb

    If Obama doesn’t win this one in a rout, I seriously wonder where the American electorate is hiding their heads! (I won’t make any speculations!) The Koch bros, et al, will spend mad money trying to elect one of their own, but I don’t think even that 1% have enough billions to make people overlook Mitt’s all-too obvious shortcomings.

    On the other side of the coin, Obama’s considerable intellect and understanding of how the 99% live means we will be blessed with Barack’s talents for another four years. Now to elect a Congress that also understands this. The big problem is to get at at least 51% of that formidable percentage to vote!

    • stasiastjames

      50 million Americans haven’t read a book in the past 12 months! The American electorate is among the dumbest in the world.

      • citizenmb

        Maybe it would be “nicer” to say that the American electorate is the most mis-informed in the world. Statistics show that Fox News devotees are the least knowledgeable in the country. Pure poison coming from that reprehensible “fair and balanced” (and so the lying begins!) channel.

        • stasiastjames

          It is too easy to blame Fox News, but their viewing numbers are much lower than those of ABC, CBS or NBC news. The issue is that most Americans don’t follow politics until 1 week before the election, then they buy into whatever the ads on television say without any attempt to verify. The fact is that studies have shown that the winner is almost always the one who raised the most money to spend on advertising. While it might be “nicer” to say mis-informed, it is just plain stupid to cast a vote without knowing what is the true party agenda or what the candidate has supported in the past. A large number of the Republican base are anti-abortion and single issue voters. However, if some corporation figures out a way to make providing abortion profitable, the Republican party will drop the anti-abortion plank of their platform as soon as enough of them had been paid off. The electorate is mis-informed and uninformed because it is too lazy to become well informed. You can dress it up any way you like, but that is just plain dumb.

  • Mitt Romneys tactics remind me of the cunning Lawyer for locked up women in for murder in the hit musical Chicago. Billy Flynn was his name and Richard Gere played him to a tee,(for Mitt he plays it to a tea-partier). One of the songs came to mind while reading page on Mitt Romney wins in Wis., D.C., and Maryland, Razzle Dazzle ’em. Lyrics pertain to Romneys style, “Give ’em the old hocus pocus, Razzle Dazzle them.” For Mitt I thought of my own lyric: Give ’em the ole’ Flip-Flop Flooby, Razzle Dazzle them.
    In the musical Gere does some great Tapp dancing. Romney does the cha-cha, one step forward two steps back when it comes to sticking to any proposal. He’s also great at flip-flopping. In my book when you make a promise and break it your a liar and cannot be trusted. Once, Twice, Three times you’re out. It looks like Romney is a compulsive liar and con-artist. Maybe that’s good for investing,(really gambling), and being a multi-million, billion, heir but not for president of this country. We went thru the gambling with the former president, when he ended taxes for the rich. Look how that went.
    Obama never lied. The Republican-Tea Party congress blocked every law he proposed. Now their on his Health Care bill. Tea Partiers sound akin to Hitler who actually looked to kill the poor and disabled. That’s how Mitt sounds like. Do we want a compulsive lieing flip-flopper in office? Maybe all the blindid idiots who votted for him see promise but I don’t. I see disaster.

  • Ed

    Do you want a president whi will not keep his money inside the US?

  • Electing a mega millionaire as a president is bad enough, but he’s a Mormon. An anti-christ yet the religious right evangelicals are following him like pigs to the slaughter. They have exchanged their faith for money and politics. What a sad day for Christianity.

  • w on steriods? or just another parisite , wanting more, more, more?

  • howa4x

    Waht he is actually doing is going on the attack by accusing Obama that he is ending medicare instead of the Ryan budget. He is saying that the president is hiding his adgenda even though the state of the union laid it out. His campagin even said that they hoped that Obama dosen’t use his religion as an issue, even as Republicans call him a muslim, and accuse him of not being born here. They have turned the world inside out.
    Romney has to tack back to the center, but if you look at the election results more conservatives voted against him than for him. Now with his 2 right wingers out of the race wheres the excitment? Will real conservatives go out for him, especially if he begins to disown their issues?
    What will they do when he begins to reverse on contaception to get the womens vote back. What will independents and others do when they see him flip flop back to them. In the end will anybody trust him?It si not going to be a cake walk for Mitt but it will be interesting

  • It wasn’t the “summer Olympics,” it was the WINTER Olympics.

  • amsashworth

    He ran the Winter Olympics

  • rustacus21

    As this very excellent article points out, as well as what we already know, it’s the Conservative ‘talent’ for gridlock that has made THIS president, this government, this political system – a model of inefficiency. But it’s Romney’s inability to focus & remain consistent on any single or series of issues. Is this the type of president the nation expects & deserves, especially in lite of the Conservative ‘offering’ of 2001 – 2009? Say what U want about Prez. Obama, but his virtue is in serving the American people – & that we understand very well! Even w/the Citizens United ruling forcing his own party to choose sides (money or devotion to the American people/policy imperatives), he has done all that is humanly possible to hold the line against further deterioration to our collective situation. Could we expect as much from a Romney or any other Conservative fielded? NO! Things aren’t perfect, but they’re improving, even while the President is doing all the heavy lifting w/1 hand tied behind his back by Conservatives in Congress. But don’t be taken in by the Romney propaganda. I remember another Conservative candidate who, just 12 yrs ago, claimed he could surpass even the great success of then outgoing President Clinton. The accomplishments of this administration are modest, but we should all be thankful, accepting ‘modest’ success over abject & devastating catastrophe. We all, as voters BETTER be clear on the difference come November…