I don’t pretend to know what GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney actually believes.
No one should. On many major issues – abortion, health care, taxes – Romney’s perspective has shifted to suit whatever electorate he was pandering to. If it was Massachusetts Liberals, he spoke like a nuanced moderate. If it was fiscal or social conservatives, he spoke like Calvinist tax accountant. If the audience was fish, he’d talk about his desire to grow gills. He’s a guy who wants to win, although he has a laconic way of going about it, in that despite having a better vocabulary, he seems to have an almost Palin-esque disinterest in maintaining the kind of rigorous verbal, intellectual discipline demanded of a national political candidate.
You can only have so many missteps before people assume you’re not up for the job. Romney’s still rolling on while being on his penultimate gaffe, all of his staff still intact even after the debacle of actor/director Clint Eastwood talking to a very profane chair during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
So, these videos recordings of Romney being the alleged “Real Romney” while talking with donors have made me more disturbed actually, than outraged. But not for the reasons you might think.
In the video, while pandering to those with the big wallets, Romney admits that trying to appeal to about 47 percent of the U.S. voting populace – nearly 50 percent – is pointless because they’re getting fat off the teat of Big Government. He says he’ll never get their vote, so why bother. He also jokes on how getting elected would be easier if he was ethnically Latino and that he’s a self-made man … who was also born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Somewhere anti-racist activist and author Tim Wise is devouring this to go deep on what is –quite possibly – the most naked and clueless evidence of “White Male Privilege” since the entire existence of George W. Bush.
It’s easy to get outraged here, considering that more than half of all Americans, regardless of race or background, will experience at least one year of poverty in their lives where they may need to rely on some form of government assistance. He pretty much discounted the many Americans out of work due to reckless and poor decision-making on the behalf of America’s meritocracy and Trust Fund Babies who blew up Wall Street.
But let’s step aside the modern realities of running on a GOP ticket these days. That the “fringey” feeling of the primaries means even the most sensible of Republicans has to pretend like he loves Ayn Rand and Dead Dixicrats in equal measure. Instead, think of what it would take to do this – to say these things – if you actual don’t believe it just because you need the campaign cash? That you will take on the ideals and mannerisms of people who might actually disgust you if it means you get to president, finishing the job Dear Ol’ Dad couldn’t do? George Romney, Mitt’s father, was a lot more moderate, even Liberal by modern standards compared to Romney’s “Say Anything” desperation.
What does it mean that even when Romney speaks in private with donors you still don’t know what he actually believes? That these “intimate” details honestly give you nothing? Romney is like a rabbit hole that just goes deeper and deeper, with no clear end. You think you’ve found your way to some sunlight on what his real views are, but instead there’s more holes leading to more contradictory ways out that seem to only bury you deeper in.
Does Mitt Romney even know what Mitt Romney believes anymore or is he so focused on finishing Daddy’s business that he doesn’t care what he has to say or do to win? That he’s made the ultimate moral compromise just to fulfill a made up destiny?
We have no idea how Mitt Romney would vote if he were actually president. We don’t know what he’d stand and fight for. We don’t know what he’d let slide. Conservatives shouldn’t trust him anymore than liberals because it’s becoming clearer and clearer, there IS no real Mitt Romney. Just a hall of mirrors full of grotesque Joker smiles, each illusion promising you he’ll be the version of Mitt Romney you want, yet move over to the next mirror and he’s shifted. That’s what makes him scary. That’s what makes him unsettling.
You don’t simply don’t know what he’ll actually do, or say – other than he’s capable of anything.