The extraordinary disconnect of Governor Romney’s opening position in the final presidential debate almost went unnoticed as he tried to distance himself from some of his previous foreign policy statements.
Before the debate, I urged the candidates to have a substantive discussion about how best to fight terrorism, one in which they addressed the need to align U.S. policies with American ideals and to restore the country’s standing in the world.
With the third and final presidential debate now in the history books, the extreme makeover of Mitt Romney is now complete. In the first two debates, we learned that the former governor of Massachusetts was against reducing the share of the tax burden for the wealthiest Americans, for increasing Pell grants, for means-testing Social Security benefits so wealthier seniors would receive less, for the auto bailout (I’m glad you followed my advice, President Obama), and for affirmative action in the hiring of women in his cabinet. In the last debate, we learned that Romney is now for increasing foreign aid, for expanding the rights of women and enhancing economic development in the Middle East, against any military option in the case of Iran or Syria, and for – generally – world peace.
In his breathtakingly swift shift to the center over the last three weeks, it is safe to say that the October surprise in the race for the White House in 2012 is the resurfacing of Massachusetts Mitt.
In September 2004, the Log Cabin Republicans – a national organization representing gay and lesbian Republicans – voted to withhold their endorsement of then President George W. Bush, which marked the first time in the organization’s history that it did not endorse the Republican nominee for President. According to then-Executive Director Patrick Guerriero, “Certain moments in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those moments.”
That moment in history stands in stark contrast to yesterday when Log Cabin endorsed Governor Romney’s candidacy for the presidency. What this means is that the organization has officially thrown its support behind a candidate who is even more staunchly opposed to LGBT equality than President Bush was in 2004.
One has not truly arrived in politics until Saturday Night Live makes you the butt of a skit. Undecided voter, welcome to center stage.
These undecided voters’ apparent inability to choose between the “stark choices” and “clear differences” the competing presidential campaigns claim to offer is the source of frustration for many. The truth is these voters are disenchanted and, frankly, uninterested, in policy wonkiness.
They simply want one thing: a president who makes them feel better about tomorrow. The winning candidate is the one who best instills confidence that the American Dream will remain intact. It is not jobs or the economy, it is trust.
While I concur that this administration has largely pursued the right strategies on the global stage, I am concerned by the apparent lack of critical thought Mr. Romney has given to his positions as he campaigns to be our next commander in chief. He simultaneously criticizes and agrees with our current approach, twisting himself in knots to appeal to his party’s hardline neoconservatives by painting the president as weak, while he avoids sounding too hawkish to a citizenry wary of intervention and tired of war. These inconsistencies are troubling from one who hopes to make the final call on our most consequential national security decisions.
In the final presidential debate Monday evening, Mitt Romney allowed Obama to get away with perpetuating several myths that Republicans have, to their detriment and the detriment of the nation, allowed to be baked into political history. Left unchallenged, these stories have left Republicans bleeding on the political battlefield with collateral damage to economic freedom and national security.
You would have to live in a cave to think politics has not devolved into a nasty blood sport. Campaign ads are loaded with distortion, special interests still determine elections, and the truth is often buried in sexy campaign slogans. Who needs the reality TV Housewives? We've had the debates, a moment of voyeurism when men of power spent more time circling their prey and drawing blood than defining their visions for the country.
The three debates have uncovered just about every policy issue imaginable, but one issue that animated the 2008 campaign has been largely absent: the proper role of lobbyists. Regulations on lobbyists are well-established when it comes to the campaign, but during a presidential transition, the president-elect essentially makes the rules anew each time. Former lobbyists, most infamously Steven Griles at the Department of Interior in 2001, have used the transition of presidents as an opportunity to enrich themselves and advance their client’s interests. How exactly would a President Romney address the issue during his transition and ultimately his administration?
President Obama won the third debate, but did Mitt Romney win the White House on Monday night?
At times, as the debate progressed, Romney looked like a bystander, stage-struck to be so close to the actual president of the United States. Towards the end, before he recovered with a strong finish, Romney even began to babble, not quite sure what defence to mount against Obama's continual attacks on his flip-flopping in foreign policy statements. But, for all this...