Mitt Romney has been campaigning for the presidency for more than six years. His family has a history of campaigning, his father was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in the 1960′s. Now, as the page of the calendar turns to November, with five short days to go before the nation’s decision is made, Romney is completing his rebirth. He has returned almost entirely to his days as a moderate Republican governor.
The Tea Party must be steaming right now, ready to blow the lids of their pots. All of the promises that Romney made when he was fighting to get their votes during the primaries, all of the posturing, hawkish rhetoric, competing with out-of-touch conservatives like Rick Santorum and the Unethical Amphibian, has been discarded in favor of the center, the middle of the American political spectrum where elections are won. But hey, it’s not like the Tea Partiers are going to vote for Obama!
It reveals much about the American political system when winning the primaries is so different from winning the general election. On one side, America is a gigantic country with hundreds of millions of people and billions of opinions. On the other side, we agree on fundamental points: we must remain strong, we must remain safe, and we must continue to advance the American cause. Some would say that it is normal to present two different faces, one during the primary and one during the general election. But when the past elections are divided up between Democratic primaries and Republican primaries, austere differences appear.
During the 2008 campaign, the differences between Obama and Hillary Clinton were slim, existing in theory if at all. The Obama who began campaigning in the primaries was the same man elected president in November 2008. His messages remained identical, he did not sway, change opinion, or pander. He led.
The transformation that Mitt Romney has undergone is incredible. He ran in 2008 as a moderate Republican. He lost the nomination to John McCain. He reappeared two years ago to throw his hat in for the 2012 election, and the media immediately labelled him as the front runner. This was not because Mitt Romney deserved to be in front, but because there were literally no other prominent Republicans who wanted to take a stab at unseating Obama. It shows just how desperate the Republicans were that Newt Gingrich, the Unethical Amphibian himself, thought that he could be a presidential candidate!
Yet as the media-annointed “front-runner” Romney still had to deal with an angry sect on the far right of his party who threatened to gain enough momentum to propel someone like Santorum into the national race. Romney doubled down, and veered to the right. He attacked his own personal history of helping the poor and sick. He railed against Obamacare as unconstitutional (looks like he was wrong about that) and went after Obama for being weak on an international stage.
Funny how different one man can be, even when there are hundreds of millions of eyeballs on him. Now, less than one week before the polls close, he is assuring people that he would keep some of the aspects of Obamacare, that he would not turn Medicare into a voucher system and, as revealed during the final presidential debate, he would take an identical strategy to dealing with international situations as Obama has. Romney has not just veered to the center, he has veered to the left!
There is some danger to this, as the far right, who were already skeptical about Romney, might decide that it’s not worth it to show up at the polls. In a state like Wyoming, that isn’t going to matter. Romney will get the delegates. But in swing states, where Romney and Obama have spent nearly all of their time, it could have an effect. Except for one thing: the far right in America doesn’t seem to have a memory, unless it is used to recall the gold old days when Reagan was President. They see Obama as the biggest threat to their personal liberties, and clasp their notions of freedumb, rejecting all rationalization, scientific thought, and even their own blatant hypocrisy. If Romney can flip flop across the nation and the years like a fish trying to escape from a boat, and no one on the right cares, let’s hope it’s because they aren’t planning on voting.