A search for the real Mitt Romney
A search for the real Mitt Romney
We can usually tell who a person really is by his family tree, his educational background, his religious faith, and his career. As for Mitt Romney, we have discovered that he was born in a rather rich family, educated at Brigham Young University and Harvard University, is a fifth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, and a successful businessman.
Despite what we have discovered, we still don’t know who the real Mitt Romney is. On one hand, he appears to be a moderate politician, and on the other, he says he is “severely conservative.” But his campaign speeches and his surrogates indicate that he is one person today and another person tomorrow. He speaks to conservatives as a conservative and to moderates as “moderate Mitt.” He seems to be trying to have it both ways on every issue. Like a chameleon, he is able to change colors (beliefs, opinions, ethics, and principles) in response to heat (political reality) and to the need to hide (camouflage) himself from threats to his positions.
Speaking to the Des Moines Register’s editorial board, Romney said, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” His spokeswoman immediately backtracked, saying “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president.” White House Press Examiner John Presta wrote “Mitt Romney is pro-life except when he is pro-choice, depending on the audience.”
He has been saying all summer that he will repeal Dodd-Frank; but in the second presidential debate, he said, he would keep parts of it. In fact, he has been saying he will get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency and roll back its regulations, but in the same debate, he said “regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulations.”
On foreign policy, he has been hawkish all summer, but in the third presidential debate last night, he became dovish and started talking about “a peaceful world.”
During the Republican primary, he talked about “self deportation” as a means of dealing with immigration, but now he says he will not repeal the president’s executive order to allow undocumented students, born and schooled in the United States, to stay in the country.
What he will say between now and Election Day nobody knows. His political party seems to have given him the leeway to say whatever he needs to say, even the opposite of the GOP platform, to satisfy enough people to elect him the next president of the United States.
Is Mitt Romney conservative? Is he moderate? Does he have a core? Is he just a jester? Is he a flip-flopper? Or is he afflicted with what President Obama calls “Romnesia?” These are the questions being asked around the nation.
Perhaps the best revelation of him may be in the so-called “secret tape,” in which he said 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes, see themselves as victims, depend on government handouts, and takes no responsibility for their lives. These are the people, he said, that he was not concerned about. Indisputable, his statement puts him in company with the base of the Republican Party, which has always been against entitlement programs. However, since the statement almost destroyed his candidacy, as shown in the polls, he has walked it back, saying “the words came out wrong” and, later, the words were “completely wrong.” In the language of an old idiom, he seems to “want his cake and eat it too.” No matter what he says, however, this tape shows that, as he said earlier, he is “severely conservative.”
Another thing that perhaps reveals his core is the fact that, while in school, he was a bully and prankster, and as a candidate for the presidency, he has constantly talked about building a military so big that no nation will dare attack the United States.
His talk about war, mingled with his love of being a bully and prankster, in a very real sense, suggest that he still likes to be a bully. He loves pushing people around. He loves “firing people.” Everything about his domestic policy seems to center on his belief that 47 percent of Americans are “takers and not makers,” as Paul Ryan keeps saying on the campaign trail, and everything about his foreign policy seems to center on being a bully of the world. As president, he will more than likely be like “the Incredible Hulk.”
Without a doubt, Mitt Romney is everything to everybody—for now. But if he is elected president of the United States of America, he will become the architect of an ultraconservative nation in which government as we know it will be a thing of the past, and he will become the creator of a bullying nation in which we will flex our muscles and say to the other countries of the world, “Don’t mess with us!”
For America, this is indeed a frightening prospect.