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The Case for Romney: He Doesn’t Mean It

Josh Barro uses Romney’s total lack of conviction and consistency on every issue to argue in favor of voting for him. Because he doesn’t mean any of it, you see, he won’t do anything he says he would do and he might do good things instead of the crazy things he proposes now.

In general, the best way to figure out a politician’s intentions is to read his platform. But Mitt Romney is no ordinary politician. His ideological positions are entirely flexible and his capacity for pandering enormous. His platform reflects what he thinks will help him get elected, not necessarily what he will do if elected.

It’s possible to understand every action in Romney’s life as an effort to become president. But once he is president, what will his goal be? I don’t know (nobody knows) but I suspect getting re-elected will be near the top of the list. To increase his chances of getting elected, he will have to implement policies that are likely to grow the economy.

Redoubling on Bush Administration economic policies — with the added factor of severe budget austerity laid on — is unlikely to serve that end. So, Romney will have good reason to implement policies that aren’t in his stated platform, even if that means butting heads with Republicans in Congress.

If the best argument you can make in favor of a candidate is that he doesn’t really mean anything he says, you shouldn’t be voting for that person even if there’s a gun to your head.

Comments

  1. busterggi says

    Random generation encounter tables using 3d6 are so passe, yet Mitt still uses them for everything.

  2. oranje says

    Wait, was that a tacit admission that Bush-era economic policies don’t grow the economy, or are my allergy meds overpowering me again?

  3. Larry says

    Elect someone who changes positions more often than somebody with hemorrhoids sitting on a hard bench? I don’t see what could possibly go wrong.

  4. eric says

    If the best argument you can make in favor of a candidate is that he doesn’t really mean anything he says, you shouldn’t be voting for that person even if there’s a gun to your head.

    Totally agree. Being able to select leaders based on good information is fundamental to the concept of democracy. If the information we have is completely unreliable, we might as well just pick names out of a hat.

    Sure, no politician can make good on every promise. And some level of insincerity is probably more the exception than the rule. But the sort of blatant and comprehensive deception that Barro hopes Romnney is practicing cannot be tolerated if dembocracy is to really work. Such deceptive candidates need to be punished at the voting booth, by voters on all sides of the political spectrum, so that future candidates understand that they have to actually tell the electorate how they intend to govern.

  5. KG says

    Even on its own terms, Barro’s argument is remarkably stupid. If Romney is elected, and his main aim is then to be re-elected, he won’t be able to do anything much about the economy without support from Congress, which holds the purse-strings. But he will want to be seen to “get things done”, for which he will need that support; and the kinds of things any congress elected alongside Romney will want done will be repealing “Obamacare”, scraping what remains of welfare, persecuting gays, breaking down the separation between church and state, undermining education…

  6. David C Brayton says

    Are you sure that isn’t a Poe? I know it’s on bloomberg.com. And everything looks legit. But can anyone actually write that jibberish and expect to ever be paid again to write?

  7. Jordan Genso says

    That’s why I’ve been using the analogy of Mitt Romney being an adultering husband who was caught with his mistress, and then trying to convince both women that they are the one he really loves.

    Is the mistress (moderates) dumb enough to trust that he’ll leave his wife (conservatives) once elected? Is the wife dumb enough to believe him when he says the relationship with the mistress is over?

  8. jamessweet says

    In fairness, this is kind of exactly the reason I was hoping Romney would get the GOP nomination. In the event that Obama lost to one of the other candidates, holy shit, I’m not quite sure what would happen next. Bachmann? Perry? Santorum??? Egads… At least with Romney, we can count on him to sell out to corporate interests rather than, you know, actually try to ban porn.

  9. says

    Reminiscent of 1980, when I was assured by an acquaintance that I should vote for Ronald Reagan, because he wouldn’t really do all the stupid crap he said he would. And the incumbent democrat had failed to solve all the problems he’d inherited.
    No, I’m going to take Romney at his word and assume he really is as reality-challenged as he sounds; he probably does think “secularism” is a religion and that borrowing money from our parents is a realistic way to start down the road to prosperity. Yeah, sounds like a plan, dude.

  10. Jordan Genso says

    @ jamessweet

    To be honest, I think I’d rather see one of the other wingnuts spend their time in office focusing on the social issues, rather than having ‘Dubya’ Mitt Romney further tipping the economic scales so that even more wealth gets redistributed upwards.

    Even if Santorum was elected and able to pass some of his theocratic policies, I think they’d be easier to undo later than what Romney’s economic policies will do.

  11. Konradius says

    I would wish him to ban porn in the very unfortunate case that he becomes president.
    If there’s one way to mobilize the slacktivists…

  12. d cwilson says

    . Redoubling on Bush Administration economic policies — with the added factor of severe budget austerity laid on — is unlikely to serve that end.

    I think I see another flaw his argument. He thinks that republicans, or at least Romney, will realize (or care) that doubling down on Bush’s policies won’t grow the economy. That would require them to admit that their ideology is flawed.

    I posted this law earlier today, but it fits here as well:

    Conservatism cannot fail. It can only be failed.

    If repeating Bush’s policies don’t grow the economy, it’ll only be because the spending and tax cuts weren’t deep enough.

  13. ewanmacdonald says

    But there are also countervailing factors. Congress was radicalized by opposition to Barack Obama, and is likely to be soothed by the return of a Republican president. George W. Bush had significant success in bending Congressional Republicans to his will, even when that meant expanding government.

    What planet is this jerk on?

  14. Loqi says

    To increase his chances of getting re-elected, he will have to implement policies that are likely to grow the economy.

    Holy shit. That will make him the first president in history to try to implement policies that will improve the economy and thus his chances of re-election! Clearly, “Mitt Romney is no ordinary politician!”

  15. Stevarious says

    But once he is president, what will his goal be? I don’t know (nobody knows) but I suspect getting re-elected will be near the top of the list.

    Why? Does this guy really think Romney’s going to hold off on all the money-making for four whole years on the off chance that he can get re-elected by being fiscally moderate?

    It’s MUCH more likely that he will loot the country for his corporate cronies, counting on the massive campaign donations from said cronies combined with massive fear-mongering to get re-elected. (And after four more years of rampant, unchecked corporate looting, there will be PLENTY of fear to go around!)

    This guy’s delusional.

  16. Larry says

    That will make him the first president in history to try to implement policies that will improve the economy and thus his chances of re-election

    Unlike the incumbent, whose sole purpose is to completely destroy capitalism, the free market, and the ‘murican way.

  17. says

    oranje “Wait, was that a tacit admission that Bush-era economic policies don’t grow the economy, or are my allergy meds overpowering me again?”
    You’re just being ridiculous. It’s an admission that the proffered austerity programs don’t work, too.

  18. Pieter B, FCD says

    Romney could just acquiesce to the House GOP economic plan and slash and burn through the federal budget, tanking the economy. But I don’t think Romney has devoted his life to the pursuit of the presidency so he can get to Washington and take orders from Eric Cantor. If he doesn’t actually plan to lead after getting elected, then what was the point?

    Has anybody got a good online source for faceplam? I just ran out.

  19. says

    I’m so old, I can remember when the Republicans thought that “flip-flopper” was a utterly devastating charge against a presidential nominee.

  20. cjcolucci says

    I have heard from various sources that Democratic pollsters are finding that large numbers of voters, when exposed to Romney’s actual, stated positions, refuse to believe that any politician would want such stuff, and don’t believe that Romney does either.

  21. says

    This reminds me a lot of the Paulbots. They love that argument ‘But RON PAUL won;t be able to implement his really crackpot policies; Congress wouldn’t pass them. So you should totally vote for him because he’s anti war.’

  22. thisisaturingtest says

    That is incredible. “I don’t know what Romney means; Romney doesn’t know what Romney means; and even if either of us knew, Romney may not mean what he means; so, vote for him!”

  23. bmiller says

    Might I point out that liberal Democrats are undertaking exactly the same pattern of wishful thinking? “Sure Barrack Obama has repeatedly expressed admiration for Ronald Reagan, continued many, if not most, of the Bush Administration’s questional policies and programs, and continuously caves and panders to pressure from the right. But since THIS term is his second term, his true RADICAL LIBERAL will come to light! More and better Democrats. More and better Democrats!”

  24. bmiller says

    Of course, one big difference is that Barrack Obama has always admitted his basic corporate conservative leanings. He, unlike Romney, is not being dishonest.

  25. harold says

    NO-ONE HAS NOTICED THE CRAZIEST THING OF ALL.

    I strongly suspect that Josh Barro of Bloomberg is a “sophisticated, libertarian-type conservative” like Megan McCardle. Maybe he’s an anti-contraception fundamentalist, but probably not if he’s writing in Bloomberg rather than WND. He’s probably self-described “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” type.

    If you ask him why he supports religious authoritarians, he’ll probably say that it’s because he “prioritizes economic freedom”. I’m not making that up, that’s what similar people have told me.

    Now he admits that he doesn’t agree with their economic policies, either. But he’s still going to vote for them.

    Apparently, there’s just something about Barrack Obama and the Democratic party that repels him so much that he has to vote for Romney, even though he’s basically admitting that there’s nothing good about Romney.

  26. Michael Heath says

    Even after President George W. Bush’s tenure vividly illustrated the ‘law of unintended consequences’, is that this is the most compelling argument to support a Romney presidency I’ve encountered.

  27. says

    harold “Apparently, there’s just something about Barrack Obama and the Democratic party that repels him so much that he has to vote for Romney, even though he’s basically admitting that there’s nothing good about Romney.”
    Now look, you can vote for a sociopath, surrounded by ignorant boobs and greedy nihilists, who will loot the treasury while destroying the economy, crushing the middle class and sending it, with the poor, sick or old, into the gutter…or you can vote for some damn hippie.

  28. Aliasalpha says

    So since he’s said he wants to be president, does that mean he really doesn’t?

  29. sunsangnim says

    That’s the most generic argument for a candidate ever. “Once president, he’ll want to get re-elected, so he’ll do things that are good for the country to improve his popularity.” You could say that about absolutely anybody before their first term. But how often does it work out that way in reality?

  30. observer says

    He’s assuming that Romney has the slightest idea what policies would improve the economy. I’ve yet to see any evidence of that.

  31. alanchristensen says

    Mitt is a sock puppet, which is all the top conservatives want — someone with no actual convictions to take orders. (See George W. Bush.)

  32. typecaster says

    There’s also an assumption here that Mitt will be a free agent in implementing policies if he’s elected. His main interest will, of course, be re-election, but to achieve that he has to retain the rabid base – if not, they’ll go all third-party and no-donations on him, and he’ll be out on his ear. There’s a good discussion of the problem here . This argues against the idea that he’ll govern as a moderate, and will be constrained to look more like Paul Ryan and less like, well, himself as governor of Massachusetts.

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