Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mitt's Magical Mystery Tour

Perhaps the best reason to not vote for Mitt Romney is that he doesn't know himself and we can't know him either. More importantly, because of his magical mystery tour through the Republican primaries and his uncanny ability to shift his marketing lines within hours or even minutes, even his supporters are left clueless about what kind of president he would make.

It is a time honored tactic for GOP wannabees to run right during their bizarre run up to the convention. Mitt, who'd been a Massachusetts moderate who collaborated with Ted Kennedy to pass RomneyCare had to make a neck wrenching hard right to get in the same rutted lane as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Mitt trashed equality for women and trashed their reproductive and healthcare rights. Even taking the right ditch wasn't really enough, and it was probably Mitt's rich friends enabling him to run a barrage of ads pummeling his opponents that eventually locked the nomination for the Massachusetts chameleon.

As most observers figured would happen, following the nomination Romney solidified his base in the Republican Party, but most suspect that is more about hatred of President Obama than any real love for Mitt. It allowed the one time "moderate" who later sounded like a tea party reactionary to attempt to get all four wheels back on the road with a major assist from his billionaire friends (his top donor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson donated $34 million,  three times more than Obama's top five combined).

But getting back to the middle of the road has made Mitt a liar on issue after issue. For example, he says he wants to reduce the deficit but his budget math doesn't compute. How can he maintain (or increase) defense spending while honoring his no tax pledge to Grover Norquist? On women's issues he has flipped more than a bass in the bottom of a boat. At times it sounds like he respects women's rights but then he goes into tea party appeasing mode by being blind to pay equity and threatening to eliminate Planned Parenthood, to restrict access to birth control, and to support a scary personhood amendment. This man has his boxers in a binder when it comes to protecting hard won rights of American women.

On foreign policy... do we even want to explore his foot-in-mouth missteps that have already damaged the U.S. overseas? On Libia and other issues Romney has tried to make political hay out of foreign policy and even some of his strongest supporters have reminded him that his extreme makeover political marketing should stop at the water's edge. It his hard to tell where Romney stands because all of his positions are so overtly partisan.

Here is the point -- as Election Day nears Romney's magical mystery tour still leaves most Americans, including many Republicans, wondering where he stands or if he stands for anything. It is one thing to change a position due to changing circumstances, but is is something else entirely to seemingly possess absolutely zero core convictions about anything. Mitt's magical mystery tour offers no compelling reason to vote for him. More importantly, if he happens to actually occupy the White House, it is no way to lead a great country where people hold deep and strongly held convictions.

UPDATE 10/23/12: Mitt continued on his mystery tour in last night's foreign policy debate as he tried to transform from a saber-rattling neocon and Cheney disciple to a more moderate and pragmatic approach where he agreed with President Obama more often than not. More than substance (Mitt didn't have all that much except to say "I agree with your policies only I'd do it better...), maybe you noticed his arrogant demeanor. Wonder how that will play with our friends and allies?

With apologies to the Beatles whose Magical Mystery Tour touted something Mitt will never be able to do: SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

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