I didn’t begrudge Mitt Romney’s weeks of silence on the debt ceiling, although I understood Democrats’ efforts to prod the Republican front-runner out of hiding. As a political matter, Romney had nothing to gain from engaging in the nitty gritty of deal-making. He could stand above the fray while everyone else squabbled and horse-traded and looked smaller by comparison.
But Romney’s just-announced opposition to the deal is truly deplorable. “As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced - not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama's leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute,” Romney said in a statement. “While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama's lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”
Time out for primal scream.
It’s one thing for Romney to pretend that, if only he were president, the Senate would have rolled over and dutifully passed his cut, cap and balance approach. Good luck with that one, President Romney. It’s one thing for him to jab at the president for a supposed leadership failure pushing “the economy to the brink” without taking into account that the debt ceiling crisis is essentially a Republican creation.
But is he really calling on Republican lawmakers to vote down the deal? I understand the political allure of this position: Hellooo Tea Party. Take that, Michele Bachmann. But unlike his earlier ducking, this opposition—at the 11th hour and 59th minute, by the way—is completely irresponsible coming from a man who could easily be president. You can only hope that when Mitt Romney talks, House Republicans don’t necessarily listen.
If this man is willing to act so cavalierly in pursuit of the presidency, what would he do in office?