Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Is Romney the Next Kerry?"

A provocative title, from a recent Daily Beast article:
[Mitt Romney's] encyclopedia-sized list of policy reversals makes 2004’s whipping boy, John “I voted for it before I voted against it” Kerry, look like an exemplar of political consistency...
Only Romney, of course, can know if his is a conversion of conviction or convenience. And in his defense other candidates have undergone similarly broad political evolutions—Ronald Reagan was once a New Dealer; Hillary Clinton was once a Goldwater girl. But their metamorphoses, which in Reagan’s case evolved over decades, came across as believable, even principled, to voters. The problem Romney continues to face is that nothing he says translates that way. As Ted Kennedy famously put it in a debate, “He isn’t pro-choice or anti-choice. He’s multiple choice." 
This, of course, was the same issue Senator Kerry faced in 2004, when he was relentlessly mocked by the Bush campaign for his perceived shift on his vote to fund the Iraq war. Bush himself had reversed on issues from time to time, as all politicians do. But the flip-flop charge only clung to Kerry—and may well have doomed him—because it seemed to say something larger about Kerry’s cool and lofty persona: he was opportunistic, another politician, unlikable, untrustworthy. Voters seem to feel the same way about Romney today: so far the man who by all rights should be the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination cannot seem to garner more than 25 percent of Republican voters. Matters may get worse...
Read the entire article here.

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