Now that Republican nominee hopeful Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign indefinitely, the limelight shines brightest on Mitt Romney, the GOP’s lone ranger.
I say lone ranger because, though Newt Gingrich hasn’t officially backed out yet, he did bounce a $500 check last week, highlighting the pathetic state of his campaign and its pending failure.
So this means Romney will face off against Barack Obama for the privilege of American presidency, a job that will in no way be easy for either man.
The Washington Post and ABC News both polled Obama ahead of Romney 51-44, though Fox News yielded drastically different results, with Romney actually ahead of Obama 46-44.
Most likely, that is more of an ideological discrepancy than a legitimate phenomenon, seeing as Fox News in all likelihood polled with a hint of bias. So, though the race is in fact close, it seems Obama has the edge.
And that edge should only get sharper as the two men enter the battleground of mudslinging and debate.
What do we know about Romney? Wealthy individual from birth, Mormon missionary in France during most of the Vietnam War, former governor of Massachusetts when the state was basically a laboratory laying the grounds for semi-universal health care and notorious flip-flopper.
That’s right; Romney has proven himself to be a flavor-of-the-week kind of politician. Far too often, he has made contradictory statements that make my head spin.
He essentially plays devil’s advocate — with himself.
For example, Romney said before the campaign that he has “never supported the president’s recovery act — no time, nowhere, no how.”
Later, he said this on CNN: “I think there is need for economic stimulus.”
That is like two ideological freight trains colliding with one another, and Romney prefers to watch the wreckage from, well, right where the trains meet.
Youngstown State University junior Drew Webster said he feels this is the biggest hypocrisy in the entire Romney campaign.
“He is the John Kerry of the GOP,” Webster said. “When he was governor of Massachusetts, he was very pro-health care and felt everyone should have it. And now, we look at the debates, and he is condemning president Obama for Obamacare.”
Romney did the same thing with abortion, one of his most stalwart issues, by saying first that he is pro-choice and then later saying Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
Sure, all politicians dabble in the art of flip-flopping a little during a campaign, but not in such a blatant manner as Romney.
It is almost insulting to know that a presidential prospect could earn the office without anyone being sure what he really stands for.
It doesn’t end there; he has flip-flopped on his opinion of Ronald Reagan, his take on mandates and his stance on participating in the Vietnam War.
One of Romney’s top strategists even compared him to an Etch A Sketch, meaning that, when necessary, you can shake him up and start a totally different slate.
Cryshanna Jackson, an assistant professor in the political science department at YSU, said she views Romney’s inconsistency as an attempt to be as moderate as possible.
“Some people like the fact that he isn’t blinded by party ideology,” she said. “I think he can be hurt by this. He’s not divided enough to pull in a large number of the Democratic vote.”
That seems like a nice way to say that Romney has tried to straddle the fence between Republican and Democratic values, and because that divide is so staunch in modern politics, such a strategy could only be detrimental.
I spoke with attorney Richard White, who teaches a critical thinking course at YSU, to see what motivates Romney’s erratic political dialogue.
He said he believes the origin of Romney’s flip-flopping is strictly political — as long as he stays within the shades of gray.
“I don’t think that there’s a lot of critical thinking involved in the decisions that he makes,” White said. “He has been known as a flip-flopper, and I’m sure that Obama and his crew will be getting those quotes and saying, ‘Here’s where you were two years or two months ago, and here’s where you are today.’”
Lately, Romney has been fading more and more to the right to appease the Republican Party; in fact, that is what spawned the Etch A Sketch comment.
But it is important to analyze a candidate’s entire political career, not just his or her current campaign platform, to get an
idea of what he or she really stands for.
In Romney’s case, you might discover a serial flip-flopper whose biggest consistency is inconsistency.