Moving Disposal Day to Thursday this week so I can bring you another fabulous debate post-mortem tomorrow. You can follow my sarcastic remarks during the debate live on Twitter tonight.
STORY #1: Severely what now?
“In appeal to swing voters, Romney offers a more centrist message.” As one of, apparently, a statistically insignificant few who actually do swing between Republicans and Democrats, let me say that I’m not buying it. It sounded nice in the last debate, but that doesn’t mean former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is going to stick with it. I would love to see one of those line graphs that measures approval and disapproval, only applied to his place on the left-right spectrum since he was governor. It would illustrate perfectly what centrists have known for years: In the great traveling freak show that is politics, Romney is the man with no core.
If he had a core, we would be less inclined to wonder who’s been having his ear since his campaign began (see Story #2). His problem has always been appealing to the national Republican base, which is a completely different kettle of fish than, say, appealing to all of Massachusetts. So it’s natural that he would surround himself with doctrinaire right-wingers. Would his apparent acceptance of their ineffectiveness mean anything if he became president?
STORY #2: Ann knows best
If you read a bio of Romney (I strongly recommend this one), you will soon learn that one of the best ways to get him to change his mind about anything is to get his wife to persuade him to do so. The man worships her in a way that makes women – myself included – squee. Initially I was baffled at the notion that she and their oldest son, Tagg, were the ones to “soften” Romney on the trail. But if anyone could do it, they could, not some hapless adviser.
But don’t be fooled. It’s a cosmetic job they’re doing. The easiest way to make him shed his aloof, cold corporate raider image is to draw out his smiling, fatherly, aw-shucks image. Policy-wise, the only change he’s made is to add a dose of denial (see Story #3).
STORY #3: A dose of denial
I really don’t know how to react to Romney’s promise not to “pursue” new legislation on abortion. On the one hand, he’s saying abortion is one of his lowest priorities, as it should be, and which it has been throughout most of the campaign. On the other hand, what will he do if such legislation crosses his desk? I know he’s changed his position on abortion before, but changing his tune on everything else is a lot more affordable when it comes to the GOP base; he’d have to be a moron not to get that.