Throughout the presidential campaign, we have been lampooned by the pale-pastel wing of the party for not coalescing around the Romney campaign with alacrity. Our detractors have been stupefied by our stubborn opposition to “the only candidate who can beat Obama;” the man with the requisite resume, funding, organization, intelligence, and persona.
We’ve been at a loss to encapsulate our opposition into a one-liner; a bumper sticker. After all, it takes copious pages of ink to explain the extent of Romney’s hypocrisy on the issue of healthcare alone. Yet, late in the 11th hour of the campaign, when it’s probably too late to make a difference, we have finally discovered our symbol that exemplifies Romney. Ironically, it came from his own campaign.
Romney’s communication director, Eric Fehrnstrom, had the following exchange with a CNN host:
Host: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?
Fehrnstrom: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.
Aha! That’s exactly what we were looking for! There is no symbol that emblematizes Mitt Romney more than an Etch A Sketch.
Later in the day, the LA Times reports that Romney clarified the comments of his spokesman by saying that they didn’t pertain to ideology, just organization.
Though Fehrnstrom was specifically asked about Romney’s political positions possibly changing, Romney portrayed the comments as being about his organization. Should he be the nominee, Romney said, the nature of the campaign certainly would change "organizationally." But "the issues I'm running on will be exactly the same."
"I'm running as a conservative Republican. I was a conservative Republican governor. I'll be running as a conservative Republican nominee," he said. "The policies and positions are exactly the same."
Um, no. The comments expressed were clearly about political positions, not organization. We all know that in a general election, any conservative must finish his sentences and clearly articulate why limited government policies will help the economy and create upward mobility for all voters; something that might not be required in a primary. But those positions should never change. In Romney's case, he never had any core beliefs anyway, except for his consistent support for government-run healthcare.
Look, we understand that the comments emanated from a campaign official and not the candidate himself. But these comments just confirm what we’ve always known about the people surrounding him. They are all purveyors of pale pastel political positions (alliteration intended). From their perspective, this is just a game of electoral politics; an opportunity to assume power for power’s sake.
Moreover, Fehrnstrom’s comments have struck such a cord with the base because they sum up Romney’s history in one image. Whenever he needs to win a particular political office, he resets the slate and pollinates it with whatever positions he ascertains to be politically expedient.
Instead of impudently demanding that we get on board the Romney train, maybe his supporters will provide us with some reason to believe that the Mitt Romney in the general election will not hit the reset button. Or maybe the reset button is exactly what we need to wipe away his obstinate support Romneycare.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project