Independent’s Eye by Joe Gandelman
It’s a cliché but fitting: Mitt Romney don’t get no respect. The GOP “front runner” in the race that has no front-runner also gets little love, sparks little enthusiasm and is being seen as a flip-flopping politician by many conservatives, liberals, moderates, once-admiring RINOs and the news media. At least he’s now a consensus builder.
What has happened? Is it all due to his many flip flops? Or is there something more at play?
Romney’s problem is that he’s stuck in two time tunnels – the time tunnel of his past and the time tunnel of a different Republican era when he would have been a perfect candidate.
Romney was a solid, East Coast moderate Republican governor. His Massachusetts health care law wasn’t an obstacle when he ran for President in 2008 but with the GOP’s rightward shift – and once sympathetic publications such as the National Review and Wall Street Journal lambasting him — – he keeps trying to find creative ways to distance himself from his signature law.
And so we see two politically conjoined Siamese twin Romneys, bringing to mind this from The Mayo Clinic:” If the [conjoined twins] babies share a heart or brain, for example, separation surgery may not be possible. An emergency separation may be needed if one of the twins dies, develops a life-threatening condition or threatens the survival of the other twin.””
Romney is trying to separate one from the other for his political survival. And the prognosis is poor.
We see Romney defending his Massachusetts health plan’s individual mandate and saying how wonderful it is for his state, then denouncing Barack Obama’s plan for doing it on a national level. A true “Profiles in Courage” moment would have been denouncing his past actions and taking the (rightful) heat or totally defending what he did in Massachusetts because it was the effective, smart and correct thing to do there — and nationally.
Romney speech didn’t thread the needle. He knotted his political hanging rope.
One columnist likened it to a dog sprayed by a skunk trying to outrun his own smell. The White House – in a sign they’d rather not run against him – issued pointed kiss of death praise for Romney’s law.
Once upon a time Romney would have been a Republican dream candidate. But Romney seems on a different wavelength than the GOP’s no-compromise base. He’s a relic of a different Republican Party era. He’s not flamboyant, is issues-oriented, pragmatic, has a solidly successful business record, helped save the Olympics, is not a publicity hound and has hair that Donald Trump only sees in his dreams.
His late father George Romney destroyed his Presidential prospects by figuratively saying he was ‘brainwashed” about Vietnam. Conservatives think Mitt Romney is trying to brainwash them on his real record…
A recent article in “The Atlantic” was titled “The Tragedy of Sarah Palin,” but today’s real tragedy is the tragedy of Mitt Romney:
In these days when Tea Party and conservative ideological purity dominate in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney is the candidate whose time has seemingly passed.
Copyright 2011 Joe Gandelman
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at email@example.com and can be booked to speak at your event at www.mavenproductions.com.
Follow Joe Gandelman on Twitter @joegandelman.