Among many other things, the debate a few days ago proved what many people, especially in Massachusetts where he was governor, have known for a long time: Mitt Romney stands for nothing. He is all about what he thinks will sell in the moment.
Whatever he may have said in the past can become “forget about it”, or “I’ve changed my mind,” or even “I was wrong” at any moment.
Take his tax proposal – a keystone of his campaign and proof of his conservative beliefs. When President Obama made the perfectly obvious case that it doesn’t add up without a significant increase in taxes on the middle class, Romney says “Oh, I wouldn’t sign anything that would increase taxes on the middle class.”
In other words, “forget about it.” He shakes the box, wipes the screen clean, and says he’ll do something that will not hurt anybody, never mind exactly what. Just elect me and I’ll explain it all later.
Although it didn’t come up in the debate, in a TV interview the next day, he was asked what he would have said if challenged on his “47% percent” comments in the much-publicized video. Despite the fact that he previously stood by his comment as no more than “not elegantly stated”, this time he said “I was completely wrong.” Wow! Amazing! Completely wrong! Shake the box, wipe the screen clean. Forget about it.
Of course, he says nothing about exactly what in his previous remarks was wrong or how he would rephrase whatever he was trying to say. Never mind. Whatever I’ve said that you don’t like, just forget about it. I didn’t mean it.
That statement is inoperative.
Anybody remember that term? “Inoperative?” It’s what the Nixon administration said about previous assertions it had made about Watergate, usually with great piety and righteousness, that had just been proved to be totally false. “Inoperative.” In other words, forget about it. A “lie??” Oh no, it wasn’t a lie. Just a statement that we are now erasing. Shake the box, clear the screen.
If you believe anything Mitt Romney has said about what he would actually do as President, I’d like talk to you. I’ve got a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can let you have for a bargain.