Election 2012: Let's Get Real About Romney

Mon. November 5, 2012 12:00 AM
by Waymon Hudson

I am seriously running out of ways to express my incredulity at this election...

It seems people have given up even trying to defend Mitt Romney's ever-changing stances and are just saying, "You don't like this current Romney? Don't worry, he'll change into whatever you want after the election and be GREAT! Trust us!"

They can't defend his views because they can't nail any of them down without them changing the next day.

If his constant flip flopping and contortions during the campaign are any indication, his presidency would be a rubber stamp for dangerous, regressive policies put forward in this year's Republican Party Platform -- which literally had the sections on social issues written by Tony Perkins, leader of the hate group the Family Research Council.

This danger of a malleable Mitt Romney has been a common theme this election cycle. And for good reason. Romney has proven that whatever his core values are, they aren't strong enough to buck the rightward trend of his party.

Even Romney's choice of a running mate, Paul Ryan, should give sane and educated voters pause. Paul Ryan is the perfect face of today's extreme GOP, seeking to hide extreme social conservatism under talk of supposed conservative fiscal views. His record echoes that of the Republican legislators in power in Congress and states across this country and that of the party's 2012 platform. They claim to be all about the economy and jobs, yet their actions and legislative records speak of a different agenda to push our country's social progress back decades by attacking women's rights, LGBT
people, and the social safety net that are part of the very fabric of our country.

And anyone who thinks a strong willed Vice-President and vocal party can't shape a malleable President need only look back three short years ago to the influence of Dick Cheney on George W. Bush. Sometimes, a VP isn't even a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Even supporters of Romney are now trying desperately to spin his lack of moral certainty as a good thing. Conservative columnist David Brooks tried his best at this game in the New York Times in a rather shocking endorsement of Romney entitled, "The Upside of Opportunism." Yes, in this new Romney-verse, political opportunism should be praised as a good thing in leaders, with Brooks actually saying,

"Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He's more likely to get big stuff done."

Somehow the impossible leap from flip-flopper to strong leader able to wrangle intransigence happens in the space of one sentence.

That same argument was the basis of the Log Cabin Republican's endorsement of Romney. Among other anti-gay stances, Romney signed the National Organization for Marriage pledge, which supported a federal amendment banning marriage equality, as well as included forcing a referendum on marriage equality in Washington DC, appointing anti-equality federal judges, defending DOMA in courts, and creating a panel on 'religious freedom' to address the imaginary assault on Christians. Yet despite his long history of anti-LGBT views, the LCR decided Romney's malleability was a good thing and that his lack of conviction would really work out for us all in the end, saying that pledge was simply

"an empty promise made to a vocal but shrinking constituency. ... In our judgment, the NOM pledge is ultimately merely symbolic and thus should not be the basis of a decision to withhold an endorsement."

That's right-- they honestly call a signed pledge an "empty promise." Of course, don't tell NOM that, because they endorsed Romney because of his pledge to them. The argument for Romney has become "you can't really trust anything he says, so just trust he'll flip-flop in the direction you want." That's an interesting knot to tie oneself into.

As for a post-election Romney, does anyone honestly think he won't be driven by the extreme fringe currently controlling the GOP? He's going to suddenly grow a bipartisan moral compass and buck the party he needs to support him so he can get reelected for a second term? If he'll act like he has this election just to GET in office, what makes you think he'll be any different as he tries to STAY in office?

Talk about "leading from behind"...

In Romney's new political world, lying, lack of leadership, directionless pandering, and moral ambiguity aren't something to run from, but embrace. Forgive me if I don't simply "trust" that Romney and the extreme voices running the GOP will suddenly break out in enlightenment and bipartisan handholding after a contentious election.

When things like my basic rights and equality as an American are at stake, I prefer to base my vote on policy and facts, not those "empty promises" touted by Romney's supporters.