Wow. That didn’t take long at all. I write, and I learn.
Last week, in the inaugural installment of my new column More Eddy, I concluded that Mitt Romney is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and probably worse; that he is a sociopath out for the Oval Office at whatever cost, and willing to kowtow to the most extreme parts of the conservative movement in order to get there. Once in office, I was pretty sure that Mitt would be a puppet for the far right, slowly unravelling the basic propositions of middle-classism ushered in by the New Deal by communists traitors like FDR.
I was wrong.
This past Sunday, on Meet the Press, Mitt went off-script on the most substantive issue, and in the most dramatic way possible (for Mitt Romney). Looking at his body language I would even go so far as to say that he actually really liked going off script. Dare I say that he was speaking from the heart? And that maybe the guy has a heart? Methinks he even smiled when he spoke to David Gregory in support of certain parts of Obamacare. His eyes are Blue Steel, we all know that, but there was a kind-of smile there. And I think that the smile, not the eyes, is the new vehicle into the soul.
In the world-view of a Tea Party-infused Republican Party (I call it this new hybrid the “Republican Tea Party,” or the RTP) Obamacare is like The Communist Manifesto meets Mein Kampf. It’s an evil tome that must be completely repealed as the first order of business of any Republican president. They like to stress over and over that it is over 2,000 pages long, and certainly that can’t be a good thing.
But on Sunday’s Meet The Press, Mitt said that he would actually like to keep some parts of those most evil and hated passages, which means that, no, he won’t repeal Obamacare as he has pledged to the nutsos. If you save a passage, or two or three, you aren’t really repealing, are you? And how could he repeal it? The bill was based on his own Romneycare act! Of course he will reform Obamacare. Of course he’s not as rabidly ideological as he presented himself in the primaries. Of course he pandered to get the nomination. He’s not that guy.
Yes, Mitt Romney flip-flopped on Sunday. Yet another flip-flop in a long line of flip-flops, which are absolutely inevitable when one is acting a part without inner-conviction. Mitt Romney is just passing as a Republican Tea Partier. I don’t think he really even likes Paul Ryan that much. They look awkward together.
There was silence from his campaign HQ for the hours after the Meet the Press debacle, and then Romney’s PR team came out with a contradictory statement qualifying the specific part of the bill he was referring to, and the provision and what Mitt really meant and bla bla bla... bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. It doesn’t matter what the campaign said, it doesn’t matter what portions of the bill he will keep or how he will reform it. My analysis of the man doesn’t operate on that level of wonkery. What matters is that he poked a hole in his own firmament.
Mitt Romney is appeasing the hard (and hardened) right wing of his right wing party to get into office, but he has no intention of governing from that extreme, cold, sad place. Mitt will govern from the center-right. Tea Partiers and libertarians: This is not your president (but you knew that anyway).
Mitt is Homo organizezum, a paragon of the 50s “organizational man” in a gray flannel suit. Look at his fucking hair! You could easily see him playing a supporting role in a Hitchcock film like North By Northwest. In it he would be wearing a gray suit, just like Cary Grant. But unlike Cary Grant, Mitt’s charisma and actions would actually perfectly represent this color. In Hitchcock’s world, Mitt wouldn’t get the sultry and complex Eva Marie Saint, he would get Barbara Bel Geddes instead (which, duh, is Ann Romney).
But wait, shit, hang on... I’m having an epiphany. I’m having a breakthrough in understanding just like Mike Ruppert does near the end of Collapse, when he suddenly sees the hopelessness of Obama’s Hope campaign in the face of the 2008 collapse (remember that amazing film?).
Here I go out on a limb again (this column is my Bildungscolumn):
If Mitt gets elected and does in fact govern from the center, and with the balls to punctuate the ideological orthodoxy of the RTP with pragmatism, then he’s bound to get support from the other side of the aisle in Congress, the defining failure of Obamas first term. And if he does get support from moderate Democrats, then, fuck, you could even say that Romney, for all of his strategic pandering to the crazies and all of his rhetorical mediocrity, for all of his Leave It to Beaver roboticism, his obvious tax evasion, and even for all of the magic underwear and his 8-foot tall polygamist god on planet Zog (or wherever)... Mitt Romney might in fact be the president that will realize one of the dreams of Obama’s 2008 campaign and bring healing to this bitterly divided country.
What do you think of that?
Of course, if I’m right this week then the new question we need to ask is this: Will this late-in-the-game move to a centrist position on health care win him any points with any voters—undecided or even Democratic leaning—or will it just solidify him as Etch-a-Sketch-man, with no core beliefs?
You need a simple powerful message to win a national election (witness Bill Clinton’s genius oratory at the Democratic convention last week) and usually that message has to be pretty ideological out there. People can’t follow the details of a technical reform agenda as much as they can buy into the passion of simply defined choices. It has to be, unfortunately, either “repeal the evil of the enemies of personal freedom,” or “save the hopes and dreams of the embattled American middle class.”
And so my advice to the young Romney advisor that might trip over this column in a web search: Dude, tell your guy to stay extreme. He needs the crazies to get in.