Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Multiple Choice Mitt?

Do you remember those multiple choice tests you used to take in school? Answers commonly could be chosen from A to D with perhaps an "E" which would stand for: "none" or "all" of the above. Test takers learned to triage their answers, choosing by a process of elimination, the one best answer which addressed the question. When there were multiple choices which were similar, one needed to discriminate. However looking at the real world today, if you are Mitt Romney, you do not have to do this. You can choose all of the above, most of the time, even when the choices are contradictory.

The Daily Kos reviews a recent column by Ezra Klein in which he discusses the latest attempts by Mitt Romney to be all things to all people, reversing long stated positions apparently on a whim. He was for health care when in Massachusetts (and conveniently forgets that more than 80% of his budget was supported by government funds), bur now opposes Obamacare.

He brags of creating jobs in MA, but forgets that by the time he left, the state had a net loss of jobs. He ran as a pro-choice candidate against Ted Kennedy for Senator, but bowed to the right wing of his party in the 2012 Republican primaries and attacked both choice and Planned Parenthood, whose support he once sought. As President Obama asked the next day, which Mitt will show up next? Now he claims he never said what we have seen tape of him saying. Does he truly believe he can use the Etch a Sketch strategy and confuse the American people into voting for him? Is there truly no there, there?

In another column, Klein discusses that one who just reads a transcript of the debate will have a different impression of who one and who lost. The animated Mitt does not show up in print, but the lack of specifics and repetition does. Also shown is the wonkiness of the discussion and here the President, although coherent, is not persuasive. The President does not appear to be engaged. Romney was aggressive, dismissive of the moderator, and brought no new ideas to the discussion, but brought a different persona to the debate discussion . . . walking himself back from months of acquiescence to his party's right wing. So, who can believe or trust anything Romney says. I know I can't. The polls have indicated that Romney got a much needed bump from his debate performance, but how many voters will realize that it was a made for TV moment?

Klein also cannot believe the "moderate Mitt" mantle he is trying to wear as he rightly points out that Mitt has signed the Grover Norquist pledge and raised his hand in the primary debates stating he would not raise one dollar of revenue even against ten dollars of tax cuts. He described himself as a severely conservative Governor. So who is he? He will say whatever it takes to sell his snake oil. Described by Axelrod as giving an Elmer Gantry performance, Romney was equated with an infamous fictional fraudulent preacher. Klein also asks, "who will Romney owe allegiance to if elected?" Do several multi-billionaires or Karl Rove come to mind? Hint: his allegiance will not be to the middle class! The middle class will not easily forget the "47%" candid moment when he shows his disdain for half of the hard working people in this country.

As for taking on Public Television, Jim Lehrer and Big Bird . . . not a wise choice in my opinion. Public Television gets less than 100th of one per cent of the Federal Budget, probably less that the Pentagon spends on paper clips! As President Obama has said Romney will take it easy on Wall Street while he drops the hammer on Sesame Street! Who watches public TV -- the old and the young, primarily? Who doesn't love Big Bird -- the bird who allows each of us to be a child now and then? Those who cannot afford cable often watch only locally available channels. Sesame Street, during its 40 year history, has taught two generations their letters and numbers. It has taught them how to read and brought basic civility to the small screen. Charles Blow writing in the New York Times discussed the importance of Sesame Street to his early learning in a poor southern county and the value public TV brought to his later knowledge. How many times has this been replicated over the history of this program? How many real working people today can point to this source of knowledge as invaluable to their ability to learn? I think this is just another example of Romney's distance from real people.

What do you think the debate showed? Do you trust Mitt Romney to tell you the truth? Let me hear from you. What should the President do to counter these flip flops?

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