Etch A Sketch

The Economist takes a look at Mitt Romney and is not too sure what it sees.

So, Mitt, what do you really believe?

Too much about the Republican candidate for the presidency is far too mysterious

WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it (see article). And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth. After four years of soaring oratory and intermittent reforms, why not bring in a more businesslike figure who might start fixing the problems with America’s finances?

But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper. The convention offers Mr Romney his best chance to say what he really believes.

Now The Economist is considered conservative across the pond where it is headquartered but on this side of the pond it is probably right of center.  I personally think that Romney’s only core beliefs are money and power which makes it easy to see how his flip flopping is so easy – when you don’t really believe in anything it’s easy to change your mind.  A vote for Romney is a vote for????

Now we know that Paul Ryan’s core beliefs are based on Ayn Rand’s fantasy economics.    Those same fantasy economics that Alan Greenspan was forced to recant after they crashed the world economy.

I don’t think that Obama can improve things much but I have every reason to believe that Romney/Ryan can make things a lot worse for 98% of the population.

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  • zephyr

    I don’t think that Obama can improve things much but I have every reason to believe that Romney/Ryan can make things a lot worse for 98% of the population.

    One doesn’t need to have any particular love for Obama to realize that voting against him is a bad idea.

  • Dabb

    Good points, Ron and Zephyr.

    I’ve thought all along that the Republican Party has offered the country a frightening option. I wish they had done better…I honestly do.

  • Jim Satterfield

    Dabb, at this point in time I don’t think the Republican Party is capable of offering anything else. Look at who was running against Romney and how often they led him until major gaffes or discoveries about their history killed their campaigns. I tend to think that a lot of the “stars” of the party didn’t run because they know that the Tea Party faction is so powerful now that they couldn’t win unless they pandered like Romney. Until the most extreme elements aren’t ruling the party, the Republicans will continue with their problems. If Romney does lose, the narrative inside the party will be that they lost because they didn’t nominate a “real” conservative.