Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Wealthier, Less Principled Mitt Romney

If there is one reason people are considering supporting former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for president, it's because he's considered "electable," meaning he has a fair shot to defeat President Obama in 2012.

If there was one thing that hampered Romney's 2008 campaign it was the perception that he was a flip-flopper, a role which earned him the nickname "Multiple Choice Mitt."

While trying to present himself as a conservative, and even winning the endorsement of National Review, Romney was dogged by a very recent and probably very politically calculated switch from pro-choice on abortion to pro-life. This from a man who minced no words in assuring Massachusetts voters during a 2002 gubernatorial debate that he would "preserve and protect a woman's right to choose."

A more pressing issue for the 2012 presidential primaries is the national health care scheme passed by the last Congress. The plan that served as the model for Obamacare infamously bears the signature of Governor Mitt Romney.

Knowing that the Republican nominee in 2012 will have to campaign against Obama's landmark achievement, the president must be licking his lips knowing that a likely opponent of his will have to contort himself in an attempt to effectively campaign against himself. Voters would be sure to be reminded of another Massachusetts presidential candidate who also voted for something before he voted against it.

As of this writing, there is speculation that real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump is running for president. Considering that a reality TV star may be a presidential contender should tell us that the line between reality and fantasy is already blurred.

Like Romney, Trump had always been pro-choice until he thought about running for president. Now "The Donald," a philandering, casino-running, beauty pageant-owning egomaniac has gotten religion. Doing an interview for the Christian Broadcasting Network, one that looks more like The Onion than anything else, Trump is now telling us how much he loves the Bible, how much he loves sending people Bibles, and how great it is going to church.

So now it appears that Trump is doing what Romney has done for years, trying to convince us that he is not what he has always been: an empty suit who will say anything to advance himself.

Last week, a few reports surfaced on the Drudge Report where Trump, on separate occasions, labeled both George W. Bush and Obama as "the worst president ever."

Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Trump called Bush "evil" and even though he supported John McCain, he felt comfortable with President-elect Obama because he would govern by "consensus" and not rush off to war in a bull-headed manner like Bush. On the one hand, this may only mean that Trump was one among millions snookered by the smooth rhetoric of candidate Obama. But on the other hand, one has to wonder, if Trump believed Bush was bull-headed and rash in going to war, what had he ever seen in McCain's character and temperament that led him to believe the Arizona Republican would have been any different?

Even though Trump has traditionally supported Democrats and before he supported McCain, he preferred Hillary Clinton, which might give us a clue about how "The Donald" feels about government-run health care.

Like much of the current appeal of a Romney candidacy, the reason conservatives seem to be giving for supporting Trump is that he has a chance to beat Obama.

But if Republicans choose Trump, what does that say?

It means that after a lifetime of supporting Democrats and Democratic causes, all a celebrity like Trump has to do is start saying a few of the right things and he suddenly has conservative bona fides.

Are Republicans and conservatives so eager to make a Faustian Bargain to regain control of the White House that anyone, regardless of all the evidence against them, will do so long as they read the right lines?

Time will tell.


Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
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