With both the RNC and the DNC behind us, the primary season is finally and definitively over. Obama’s nomination was all but assured, but Romney’s was a tough fight. Going into the many debates and primaries, Romney was widely seen as the moderate in the fight. But in the era of the Tea Party, the Republican nomination would be all but impossible to win, as a moderate.
Indeed, moderate has become a dirty word in the GOP, as the Tea Party has moved the GOP further to the right. As is often mentioned in this debate, even the Republican hero of Ronald Reagan would never be able to be elected in today’s GOP. The amnesty-granting, deficitquadrupling, NAFTA-supporting, former Democrat known as Reagan would have been dismissed quickly today. So it is no wonder that upon entering the presidential race, Romney quickly disavowed any trace of ever being a moderate from his past.
Lest he be associated with so-called Obamacare, he disowned Romneycare, the wildly successful health program he pioneered in Massachusetts. But that was just damage control; Romney then had to go on the offensive. Perhaps denying that humans had any effect on global warming would do the trick? Well Romney certainly tried that.
But now that the primary season is over, which Romney are we going to see? Will we see the moderate who was willing to reach across the aisle to come up with bipartisan solutions in Massachusetts? Or are we going to see the ultra-conservative from the primary campaign trail?
It may be telling since Romney has already broken with party lines multiple times in the past couple of weeks. Following the public outrage at Missouri congressman Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape”, Romney released a statement stating that a Romney/Ryan Presidency would not oppose abortions in cases of rape and incest. Yet at the Republican convention, the GOP officially adopted into their 2012 platform the opposition to abortion in absolutely all cases.
In a recent questionnaire answered by both Romney and Obama regarding different scientific issues, Romney also broke with not only his own previous comments but with many in the Republican party when he once again admitted that humans contributed to global warming. Romney wrote: “I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences.”
There was once a Romney from Massachusetts that I could respect and possibly even vote for. He was able to compromise for the greater good of his constituency and to solve serious issues. So which is the real Romney? If he were to somehow win the November election, would he work together with the Democratic party to get the economy moving again? Would he fundamentally change the Affordable Care Act, or merely tweak some of it? It is very likely that whichever candidate wins this race will face another split Congress, with the Democrats controlling the Senate and the Republicans controlling the House. It is hard enough to get Congress to act at all right now, but will we have a President that adds to the partisanship or creates bridges between the parties?
After ascending to the Presidency following the death of William Henry Harrison, John Tyler was called a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for abandoning the Whig party that he had won the vice-presidency with and eventually joining with Democrats. Could Mitt Romney possibly be a modernday “moderate in conservative’s clothing”?