Mitt Romney has a lot of nerve. I am usually forgiving of politicians who embellish or exaggerate in search of victory. Presidential campaigns used to be a little like water polo; it was just assumed there would always be a lot of fouling and dirty play below the surface. But Mitt Romney is in another category. He reminds me of Madonna in his ability to reinvent himself.
Romney's central closing argument, seen here in a new campaign ad, is that he will be a bipartisan leader, bringing Democrats and Republicans together to solve the nation's problems. It isn't just that this argument is a complete rip-off of Barack Obama's 2008 message; there is no trademark enforcement in politics. It is that it seems so blatantly false, or, at best, naïve.
It rings false because Romney now repudiates his one impressive act of bipartisanship, Massachusetts’s health care law. After the law passed, Romney decided to run for president and realized that he would never be able to win the Republican primaries positioned as a moderate.
So he began his sharp move to the right, giving up any chance at a second term as governor to run for president.
Mitt Romney may not know or care who he is politically. It may be that he sees ideology as a form of fashion, like picking out a tie to match a shirt and suit. But to more and more in his party, ideology is what it's all about. The new generation of Republicans isn't about to let him move to the middle on taxes, government spending or social issues. In fact, that's just what many Republicans are waiting for: to see whether Mitt Romney will abandon his “seriously” conservative principles upon taking office. Unlike in the last week of a campaign, they won't be so forgiving then.