Friday, March 2, 2012

Romney needs some tragedy

Mitt Romney is, objectively, a political chameleon. In 1994, when liberal Republicans still roamed New England, he tried to out-liberal Teddy Kennedy, tellling (.pdf) the Log Cabin Republicans that "as we seek to establish full equality for American's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent," and "we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this. I can and will." Then in 2002, as the old concept of the moderate-liberal Yankee Republican was in its death throes, Romney tacked to the right and was elected as a moderate governor. Once he decided he would run for President, he continued moving rightward, pulling out of a multi-state cap-and-trade program and being a pro-life governor despite running as a pro-choice candidate. In the 2008 campaign, he ran as a center-right candidate, just to McCain's right. This time around, after the rise of the Tea Party, he portrays himself as "severely conservative".

It would be one thing if Romney had a great personal story to help voters understand his political shifts, with moments of crisis leading to changes in his views. But instead Romney projects the image of a man who has never had any tragedy in his life at all. He was born to a father who ran a large auto company and later became governor and a mother who was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 1970. He went to good schools and wound up making hundreds of millions in venture capital. He's been married for 42 years and has five good-looking sons and five good-looking daughters-in-law.

As a reasonably informed voter, I am not aware of any true moment of crisis in his entire life. Instead of a compelling personal narrative that would explain his growing conservativism, he appears as an out of touch rich guy who makes $10,000 handshake bets, hangs out with NASCAR team owners, owns multiple Cadillacs, and pays a lower tax rate than most Americans. His political shifts therefore appear nothing more than callow political opportunism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting u chose a sailing metaphor b cuz romney does indeed seem 2 go in whichever direction the wind blows. sure enjoy your commentary. keep up the good work.