I came to this conclusion even before taking his supposedly-calculated flip-flops on immigration, gays, and abortion into consideration. Now, there's nothing wrong with changing your position on an issue as you learn more, but it does seem suspicious when a politician shifts his position on so many issues dear to his party just before running for president. These flip-flops have led many to say the key to understanding Mitt Romney is understanding issue polls: don't know where Romney stands on something? Find out where the majority of Republicans stand, and then you'll know. Anything to get the nomination. I've never been sure if he's a moderate in conservative clothing or a conservative in moderate clothing, and I've never cared. Either way, he's very clearly pandering, which fits the pattern of naked opportunism we saw in him as Governor.
Pandering is, if not respectable, at least politically understandable when it's flipping from one viable position to another, but Romney sank to a new low last night at the South Carolina GOP debate.
Mitt Romney drew a distinction with John McCain while answering the opening question on the economy, a salient issue in Michigan more so than South Carolina.
"He said, you know, some jobs have left Michigan that are never coming back. I disagree," Romney said, challenging his chief rival five days before the primary in the economically suffering state. It's one the former Massachusetts governor can't afford to lose after defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire.
McCain shot back: "Let's have a little straight talk. There are some jobs that aren't coming back to Michigan. There are some jobs that won't come back here to South Carolina." But, the Arizona senator said, the country is obligated to help displaced workers find new employment.
Either Romney believes the manufacturing jobs America has lost overseas will come back despite our higher labor costs, in which case he's delusional and unprepared to lead us into a new economic era, or he was telling the voters of Michigan and South Carolina what they want to hear, even though he knew it wasn't true. Either way, this man is not fit to lead.
I'm a Democrat, and I will more than likely support the Democratic nominee for President this year. But as I watch my Republican friends pick their nominee, I pray they pick a true leader. Many Democrats want the Republicans to pick the easiest candidate to beat in November, but I don't think that way. There's always the possibility, no matter how slim, that the Democrats will blow yet another presidential election. In that unlikely event, I hope the leader we're stuck with is truly a leader - the best, or at least most reasonable, of the Republican nominees. I've written before about why I like Mike Huckabee, and I have an even greater respect for John McCain. I can't say the same thing for Mitt Romney. At least he's no Rudy Ghouliani, but that's not saying much at all.