Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What A Pickle Romney Has Put The Left In

Let me highlight President Obama's dilemma in criticizing Mitt Romney in two paragraphs. Paragraph one from liberal David Sirota of Salon:
Why are movement conservatives so uneasy with Mitt Romney? Is it because of his past statements defending a woman’s right to choose an abortion and his previous declaration that he’s a “progressive”? Is it because of his record mounting a campaign against corporate tax loopholes – one more aggressive than almost any other politician in both parties? Or is it simply because he governed one of the most liberal states in the country — a state whose liberal policies (despite the Obama campaign’s efforts to mimic George H.W. Bush’s 1988 assault) make it one of the nation’s best, according to most empirical measures?
Got that? Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper with no soul and will do whatever is politically expedient. Now on to Sirota's next paragraph.
All of that probably has something to do with it — but it doesn’t explain the whole story. Policy-wise, Romney has campaigned for president as a lockstep movement conservative, discarding or outright renouncing most of his previously left-leaning positions. That suggests if he wins, he knows he will owe his victory as much to the conservative movement as any prior Republican candidate — and he will likely deliver for that movement as payback. That’s because policymaking is less an expression of lawmakers’ personal preferences and much more a reflection of the demands of coalitions who put politicians in office.
Whoa! I thought Romney will do whatever is politically expedient? Now you are saying that he will "deliver" for the conservative movement? Why? If Mitt Romney does whatever is politically expedient, won't he try to appeal to the middle of the country now and after he is elected since the political middle of the country represents over 40% of the electorate? He just glazes over the fact that the country is not made up of right wingers. It is made up of a large center, whose approval Romney will need to pass his agenda and then get reelected. But Sirota would have us believe that Romney will forgo all of that just so he can say thank you to the Tea Party (who incidentally did everything they could to prevent Romney from winning the nomination).

Here is what is at play. Sirota wants to label Romney (a) a flip-flopper with no soul and (b) a right wing partisan with a conservative soul. Never mind that A and B contradict each other. And it will be a frosty day in Hades before Sirota or any partisan Democrat refers to Romney as a moderate, the very thing that Romney has consistently been accused of being his entire career. If I could give Sirota and the Democrats my suggestion, I would tell them to stick with A, because B ain't happening. It's just not believable. And when you try to swing for the fences on both of them, you end up striking out.

How about another example in liberal confusion over what to do with Romney: Andrew Sullivan.

First, let me say that I recently decided to continue reading Andrew Sullivan, not because I think he is a serious thinker offering empirically-based observations of the political world. No, if Andrew ever did any of that, he gave it up the day Obama came out in support of gay marriage. Now, Sullivan is an Obama cheerleader and the mere mention of Romney causes frothing at his mouth.

Rather, I happen to enjoy watching Sullivan be handed bad news on a daily basis regarding his rugged warrior and then try portray the state of affairs for Obama in such a hopeful light.  

Nevertheless, Andrew Sullivan, in order to maintain his large audience, must pass himself off as some kind of forward-thinking inclusive kind of guy. You know, the kind of approach that a homosexual journalist seeking gay equality would adopt.  

Yet, here he is on Romney's faith:
Here's a question: if Barack Obama had to go through a brutal process of defending the doctrines, sermons and ideology of a church he merely attended, why is Mitt Romney exempted from explaining the doctrines and statements and ideology of a church he was an actual leading official in?
In the rest of the article, Sullivan tip toes around the elephant. He lauds America for being great in its diversity. Furthermore, he knows he can't directly attack Romney's faith, but he's got to portray Romney poorly somehow.  He won't indict Mormonism, be he will ask questions. Lots of questions. Liberals will be able to maintain their self-image of how inclusive they are, while secretly pondering how weird Mormon Mitt is and how backwards his Mormon thinking is.

By the way, in case you missed it, anti-Mormon bigotry is up and you will never guess who are the culprits. 


newark hawk said...

According to most polls, the U.S. electorate consists of 40% self-identified conservatives, 40% self-identified moderates, and 20% self-identified liberals.

Presidential candidates pander to moderates because moderates are the only voters who are up for grabs for either party in the general election.

Every moderate who votes for Romney is a moderate who doesn't vote for Obama(and vice versa) - in other words, 2 votes for the price of 1.

Liberal & conservative voters, on the other hand, rarely cross over and vote for the opposition party if they are dissatisfied with their party's nominee, choosing instead to vote for a 3rd party candidate or to simply not vote at all, and thus don't have the same 2 for the price of 1 value that moderate voters have.

Right Wingnut said...


#1. You were fine with Andrew Sullivan when he was ripping Palin. Most of us knew what he was all about.

#2. Wait....I thought CONSERVATIVES were the anti-Mormon bigots. Many of us warned that the libs would prove to be the real bigots. Some of you didn't listen. Instead, you spent months whining about the "bigots" in Colorado and South Carolina.

It seems you're finally beginning to see the light on these issues. Perhaps ten years from now you'll be a full blown conservative.

With age comes wisdom. There is now evidence that there is hope for you after all. Perhaps you'll even become a "ditto head" someday. Ha Ha.

Pablo said...

Newark Hawk,

I agree with everything that you said except for conservatives representing 40% of the country. But your point is correct about moderates and cross over. Romney needs to win and maintain swing voters. He has no political incentive to be more concerned with Tea Party type voters.

Pablo said...


1) I think you have a fair point. Although I have always thought that Sullivan overdid the Palin bashing even though I agree somewhat with his assessment of her. Also, his Trig conspiracy theories were way off in left field.

But I think that you are correct to say that the degree to which I felt Sullivan was wrong on Palin was not great enough for me to devote a post to declare it. And perhaps I should have.

2) The reality is that the one group Romney never could win over during the primaries were evangelicals. Newt Gringrich, with all of his baggage, did win over evangelicals. You may say that Romney's past positions on abortion were the key variable. However, I would ask you to tell me how evangelicals think of Ronald Reagan, the guy who made divorce easier in California and who was pro-choice?

Now that the primaries are over, these evangelicals will all vote for Romney, particularly after Rosen-gate and Obama's support for gay marriage.

As far as liberals goes, I think they have the same problems with Mormons as they do with Evangelicals. They would view Romney as having an old-fashioned and regressive view on social issues. Also, the partisan spirit is alive and well with liberals. When push comes to shove, they don't mind playing the same games that conservatives play, the very games that they so often renounce. Even Sullivan noted this. If Rev Wright is fair game, so is Romney's Mormonism.

It's hypocritical. It shows that they don't really believe that attacking a religion is wrong. It is only wrong if it is the religion of one of their own candidates.

Anyway, long story short is that you have a point: liberals struggle with anti-Mormon bigotry when it suits their political needs.

GetReal said...

"if Barack Obama had to go through a brutal process of defending the doctrines, sermons and ideology of a church he merely attended"

Pretty big "if" they have there, considering that never actually happened.

Some conservative blogs brought it up, but Obama never really had to answer for it in a meaningful way. He threw Wright under the bus, but when was he brutally asked to defend "God Damn America" "The USA of KKK" 9-11 as "Our chickens have come home to roost" or other wacky stuff like the U.S. government creating AIDS to kill black people? I don't recall that ever happening, he's just acting like it did to justify what he wants to do to Romney's faith.

BOSMAN said...


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