This is the second time in a week that Mitt Romney has said something on the campaign trail that I thought sounded suspiciously familiar. Both remarks were in the context of Barack Obama’s “hot-mic” incident with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In both cases, Romney asserted that Barack Obama is hiding his true agenda from the American people, but the problem is that while he complains about Obama’s stealth agenda of radical leftism, and that Obama is just trying to fool Americans into voting for him by sounding more centrist, he’s merely holding off his real agenda until he can secure the election. The problem is that with respect to conservatives in the GOP, Mitt Romney is doing precisely the same thing. If he can secure the nomination, Romney will be moving a good deal to the left himself.
In describing Barack Obama on Wednesday, from the Reuters report, Romney said:
“He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking,”
Many conservatives will read this and will wonder immediately why it is that he has been hiding from his true record as a liberal Republican from a deep blue state. It’s not that Obama isn’t hiding, but that Romney is also in stealth mode during this primary season too. Romney’s dishonesty about his own agenda will make it difficult for him to make these arguments about Barack Obama with anything like a sense of moral authority, because he’s guilty of the same thing.
We already know that Mitt Romney will abandon his positions that sound vaguely conservative, thanks in part to Pam Bondi and others, because he intends to re-reform health-care in his own image. He will set up a very similar system to that which exists under Obamacare, and indeed exists in Massachusetts, probably minus the mandate. If he manages to get the GOP nomination, he will begin to quickly separate himself from the so-called “hard right,” although in truth, there is no “hard right” politician in this race. In fact, I dare say there are not many “hard-right” politicians in the country at the Federal level.
What this exemplifies is the art of “positioning.” Romney has been using the image as a “Massachusetts Moderate” to attract votes in very blue states in which he has won, and while he occasionally remarks on being a conservative, as readers will have noted, it’s not been a very passionate sort of claim. Even those tepid claims will be discarded when the general campaign arrives, should he happen to be the nominee. Of course, we’ve known he wasn’t sincere since he described himself as “severely conservative,” because the negative connotations of the word “severe” in association with conservatism is a view held by the left and by liberal Republicans. Mainstream conservatives don’t consider themselves “severe” in any respect, and this phrase by Romney offers us a bit of insight into his real views.
For this reason, it’s a bit astonishing to see him make these claims about Obama. It’s undoubtedly true that this President is attempting to hide the radical nature of his agenda, but that’s not exactly new. What’s new in all of this is the disingenuous nature of Romney’s attack, because for all intents and purposes, he is doing precisely the same thing to conservatives at present that Barack Obama is doing to the broader electorate. Romney isn’t conservative, any more than Barack Obama is a moderate, and in point of fact, there are fewer points of separation between the records of the two men than either might wish to admit.
Romney is definitely misleading conservatives, whether mild or “severe” in their conservatism, because he needs votes from that segment to secure the nomination. It is much the same as Barack Obama’s attempt to capture independents and moderates: It’s a lie, and it will bear no resemblance to how he runs a general election campaign, or how he will govern. Mitt Romney isn’t a “severe conservative,” but instead a severe fake. April will be a month in which Romney gains many delegates in blue states, but he should not be permitted to get to 1144. If Mitt Romney can call out Barack Obama’s intended deception in hiding his true agenda, I believe conservatives should waste no time in pointing out that Romney is engaged in a similarly disingenuous appeal. Mitt’s no conservative, and if he secures the Republican nomination, the “Etch-a-Sketch” will be shaken, and conservatives who had been fooled by all of this will see how severe the deception had been.
And it will be too late to do a damned things about it.