Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mitt, We Don't Like You, (Non-) Endorsement Edition

For Crist, the hug heard 'round the world.

It was surprising enough, really, that Charlie Crist, former Republican governor of Florida came out in support of Barack Obama. (Or, maybe not, considering Crist was essentially hounded out of the Republican Party for being seen hugging Obama on stage.)
As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.
But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.
Ouch. It remains to be seen what effect this might have on Romney's chances in Florida, but it can't help.

But for The Economist, the essential conservative money magazine of Britain, highly respected in the U.S., to come out so powerfully against Mitt Romney speaks volumes about just what a failure the Romney campaign has been, so far, in convincing knowledgeable people of his value to the nation and, apparently, the world:
But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper.
 Double ouch.
The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial. He has threatened to label China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. Even if it is unclear what would follow from that, risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless. Some of his anti-immigration policies won’t help, either. And his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).
Here The Economist speaks directly to a point that I've been making, that Mitt Romney has been so boxed in by his move to gather the core conservative base around him that he can't get out, no matter his desire to etch-a-sketch a moderate view for the general election. The idea that, were he to win the presidency, this boxing effect would continue and lead to disastrous policies is a bit frightening. It's Mitt's Faustian bargain: to gain the power and glory of the highest office in the world, he would have to risk blowing it up.

That is Mitt's gamble. I really hope he loses. So does a growing chorus of Serious People.

They don't like me, they really, really don't like me.

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