A Face Dancer is a type of human in Frank Herbert‘s science fiction Dune universe. A servant caste of the Bene Tleilax, Face Dancers are shapeshifters, and their name is derived from their ability to change their physical appearance at will.
Of course in Romney’s case it’s an ability to change his ideological appearance at will. As David Frum reports this is how Grover Norquist sees Romney.
The most quoted speech at CPAC this year was Mitt Romney’s, but my vote for the most significant goes to Grover Norquist’s. In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.
They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:
All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
The requirement for president?
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
From mistermix at Balloon Juice:
Mitt Romney’s new anti-Detroit-bailout Op Ed in the Detroit News includes bonus union bashing to prove the severity of his conservatism. Since 62% of Republicans in Michigan oppose the bailout, versus 36% of the overall population, Romney has to double down on bailout bashing in a desperate effort to erase Santorum’s 15 point lead in that state.
We all know that Santorum is toxic as a national candidate, but the problem for Romney is the only way to beat Santorum is to adopt the same anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-progress positions in the primaries and bet that he can somehow reverse course this Fall. The longer the contest draws out, the more Romney has to pander, and the more he turns himself into the Goldwater-like candidate that the Republican establishment is desperate to avoid.
Romney is an ideological Face Dancer who will assume whatever face his masters require. The problem is Romney is going to have to dance to the extreme right to beat Santorum. The longer the primary fight continues the more difficult it will be for Romney to dance to the center.
Cross posted at Newshoggers.