Thursday, February 02, 2012

Why I Can't Vote for Romney, part II

In the early 1990's, as Mitt Romney was launching his political career, he used to make the rounds of local Boston businesses to take the temperature of the people working there. He seemed an intelligent and thoughtful guy, pro-business but progressive on cultural issues. He impressed us with his balanced and hands-off attitude toward personal values--he was pro-choice, fine with gay rights, supportive of all our progress on civil rights. He believed in the social safety net and an enlightened foreign policy. He foreshadowed some of what he would do as Governor, especially on healthcare reform.

It is hard to capture the sense of disgust and disappointment at seeing and hearing this guy sell out every ounce of reasonableness to cater to the lunatic right. He is trying to out-tea-party the tea-party. Even Rick Santorum expresses concern for the poor. Even Newt Gingrich gets the importance of science and technology--heck, he gets laughed at for his visions of moon colonies, which are actually kind of interesting. Ron Paul offers an alternative to the Rambo foreign policy advocated by most of the party. Huntsman acknowledged climate change. Even W advocated a humane immigration policy. Romney has taken the most extreme position on every one of these issues. If you believe him, his conversion is complete.

Many on the hard right distrust him because they don't believe it. If only we could be sure! If his new-found ideological purity is even half real, his election would be a tragedy for this country. Newt Gingrich is correct that Mitt was once a Massachusetts moderate. And that is a a terrible irony, because we could use a Massachusetts moderate in the Republican party.

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