Clearly Mitt Romney has decided the only way that he’ll ever be able to fulfill his destiny of bringing about the third term of Bush/Cheney is to run for Bush’s first term—or President Obama’s second.
For anyone who remembers George W. Bush tripping over himself to agree with Al Gore, lying about his tax plan and rejecting “nation building,” Romney’s fey flirtation with the center is chilling—especially when you know Romney’s 17 Bush/Cheney advisors are stewing in the wings, tuning their war drums.
The difference in 2000 was Bush had nothing to prove to his base and spent a year running as a “Compassionate Conservative.” Romney is banking on six weeks of approximating sanity being enough.
Everyone points out what a brilliant strategic move Romney made at the first debate, as if it’s a good sign that we may elect a president whose expertise—along with avoiding taxes and exporting American jobs—is hiding what he’d actually do in office.
But you can’t deny the success of Romney’s deception.
The Obama campaign—as Romney ran to the right of Rick Perry and picked the author of the most anti-middle-class budget in recent history as his running mate—decided to brand the King of Bain with extremism. This turned his true flaw of “no core” into his greatest strength. He then shifted to the center with a deftness that shocked even the president.
Now, all Mitt has to do is survive just one more week pretending to be moderate and he has somewhat of a chance of winning and taking the country over right as the “real recovery” he’s promising begins.
But Romney’s one problem is that he can’t shut down the Republican Party until November 6.
Following the summer of Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, we got Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock telling us that rape isn’t God’s will, but the rapist’s baby is.
What was Mitt Romney’s response? A statement saying he disagrees with Mourdock’s statement but will continue to support the candidate, allowing the ad he shot endorsing Mourdock to continue airing.
What’s dangerous for Romney about Mourdock’s comments is the “God” part. While most Americans are religious, the extremes of the fundamentalist agenda are exactly the kind of issue that keep Republicans from growing their base.
Here’s a reminder for the GOP: Jesus never mentioned gay people or abortion once. But he sure was pissed at people who didn’t help the poor.
Yet who does the GOP target with their righteous indignation? Gay people, women and… the poor.
This summer, the national gay and lesbian news magazine The Advocate broke precedent to endorse President Obama for his unprecedented support of gays and lesbians. Simply, no president has done more to advance their equality in American history.
Beyond the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, stopping the defense of the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act and his support for gay marriage, the Executive Order the president issued allowing gay couples to visit each other in hospital rooms was a huge practical victory for equality.
And Mitt Romney may end it.
Why? What convenient excuse have bigots always used to deny minorities equal protection under the law?
Romney himself has done incredible harm to equality. In the GOP primary debates he bragged that he stopped Massachusetts from becoming the “Las Vegas of gay marriage.” This betrays a disdain for gays and lesbians that Romney vaunted as he began his quest for the presidency, telling voters in South Carolina, “Some gays are actually having children born to them. It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.” He even took steps to prevent gay couples to claim their own children on their birth certificates.
Romeny’s flimsiness on abortion rights suddenly reappeared when he lied and told an Iowa editorial board he wasn’t supporting any new abortion restriction legislation. He is.
Jonathan Alter points out how a Romney presidency would be an endless effort to keep the far right happy. Imagine if he didn’t nominate a virulently anti-choice Justice to the Supreme Court—Sarah Palin or Rick Sanotrum would have an exploratory committee for a primary challenge up and running by the next morning.
But Romney’s support of Mourdock betrays his disdain for women’s rights.
Mourdock could have easily said that life is life—despite the circumstances that create it. This is a more dignified and consistent answer than even the one given by Todd Akin, who conjures magic to justify his extreme views. Instead he injected God’s will into the equation.
No one has better explained the offense a victim of rape takes to this assertion than MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry:
You see, Mr. Mourdock, the violation of rape is more than physical. Rapists strip women of our right to choose, of our right to say no, of our right to control what is happening to our bodies. Most assailants tell us it is our fault. They tell us to be silent. Sometimes they even tell us it’s God’s will. That is the core violation of rape—it takes away choice. Richard, you believe it is fine to ignore a women’s right to choose because of your interpretation of divinity. Sound familiar?
Mitt Romney may believe it’s God’s will that he become president. He’s using feigned moderation and fabricating scandals in Libya to make that will come true.
Luckily for us, the Republican Party still exists in a form that cannot hide the extremism Romney will bring into the White House. It’s a reminder that in every way the Romney campaign promises more power and less oversight for the powerful and more obstacles and contempt for the powerless.
If that’s God’s will, Richard Mourdock and Mitt Romney are His ideal spokesmen.