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Monday, April 16, 2012

Romney Tacking Center Is A Self-Consuming Artifact

Many have pointed out a real dilemma for the Republican Presidential nominee given the current extremity (a nice word for white-racist greedhead gun-loving patriarchal death cult) of the Republican Base. The usual strategy of playing to the hard-right base voters in the primaries and then tacking back to the "center" to win over independents in the general is doubly difficult for Mitt Romney. First, this is because he has earned such an unprecedented reputation for opportunistic finger-to-the-wind flip-floppery that this sort of perfectly standard campaign re-tooling plays for him in particular into some fairly lethal ready-made negative narratives about his lack of courage or convictions that will likely turn off as many independent voters as more moderate positions would gain him. Second, this is because Romney is distrusted by his base while at once Americans more generally are highly turned off by the sorts of extremism represented by the Tea Party, the Ryan Budget, and the War on Women, and this means that both energized Republicans and energized Democrats really want Romney to stick to the extreme positions he advocated over the course of the primaries, so that every signal of "moderation" will likely generate a devastating firestorm from Republicans, while every signal of fidelity to his Base will generate an equally devastating firestorm from Democrats.

So far, the Romney campaign seems to be trying to thread this needle by affirming Romney will keep to his civilization-dismantlement promises from the primary, but insisting that Romney says nice things about the programs he is destroying right before he destroys them, or assuring us he sure hopes somebody somewhere will still do the important things that he is making it impossible to do. "We'll junk healthcare reform… but here's hoping somebody does something about all those uninsured folks and all those abusive and fraudulent insurance practices! No support for Planned Parenthood… but gosh I'm sure somebody out there will support it. The NEA and the NEH? What awesome glorious work they do! It's high time we junk them! Now, onto more tax cuts for zillionaires like me!" I have no interest in offering Romney campaign advice, obviously, but I will say that it is hard to imagine this clumsy contradictory self-consuming strategy pretzel is going to work, dude.

CNN Political Ticker:
Answering a question from CNN affiliate KDSK of St. Louis, Romney listed off a series of programs he would either eliminate or defund in order to reduce the federal deficit… "You get rid of Obamacare, but there are others… Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can't afford to borrow money to pay for these things." Speaking on CNN Tuesday night, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the candidate was listing programs, including Planned Parenthood, that could be defunded to balance the budget. "He singled out some areas of the budget he would eliminate or curtail, all in the name of achieving a balanced budget," Fehrnstrom said. He added, "It would not be getting rid of the organization. They have other sources of funding besides government operations, but in order to achieve balance, we have to make some tough decisions about spending."

1 comment:

jollyspaniard said...

I think you have it right, he's making compassionate conservative type noises. But I would be very suprised if he didn't at least try to tack to the centre somehow. I'm not sure how but his campaign is clearly thinking about that very hard.

The Obama campaign is already using footage of his previous statements in their ads. I expect that will continue, the most effective critique of Romney is simply to quote him.