Chameleon, two-faced, multiple personalities, shape shifter. “Shape shifter” is, in this era of CGIs (computer generated images) the latest and scariest form of this phenomenon: Oh, it looks like Mitt Romney, it looks exactly like Mitt Romney!
But, heaven help us, it’s not! Who is he really, and why is he acting that way?
In the third and final presidential debate on Monday night, the person appearing to be Republican candidate Mitt Romney sprinkled the word, “peace,” 12 times in his comments, said he didn’t want to hurt anybody, that war will never win the world, and that economic development in the Middle East is the key to the region’s woes.
Wow, who couldn’t be persuaded to vote for a guy like that?
The only problem is that that guy is not Mitt Romney. That was some kind of a holographic image or clone or discovery resulting from a months-long search for the perfect Romney look-alike.
So, then, who is the real Mitt Romney and what does he think? The problem is, no one has actually seen or heard from him. It makes you wonder if he really even exists.
The guy who shows up at his rallies, who debates his Republican challengers, who does heartfelt TV interviews, this is not one person…this is a phalanx of Mitt Romney-looking people. My personal view is that there are about 20 of them. Each one spouts a different line, and the models range from ultra right-wing bully-hawk to bleeding heart flower child and points in between.
But in the event I am wrong about all that, then it must be that Romney’s advisers drew up a plan for the debates that was designed to cross everything up, and frankly, they’ve at least partially succeeded.
In the first debate, on matters of economic and tax policy, Romney simply denied everything, retorting to Obama’s charges things like, “I never said that!”
In the second debate, he followed a similar game plan, and it was working until some young women crossed him up with a question about equal pay for equal work. His response was like he’d blown a fuse and he started rocking and smoking. (It is worth noting that the 24-year old woman who asked that question has been relentlessly assailed since by right wing commentators and bloggers who, as in Rush Limbaugh’s case earlier this year, seem to have severe emotional problems when confronted with younger women showing any signs of intelligence).
Romney never answered the question and instead referred to women in binders, which became an international hit.
In this week’s final debate, Romney decided to show up with flowers in his hair and, exhibiting a severe case of amnesia, said that the U.S. should have no military role in Syria, not do anything of a military nature in Iran except as a very last resort after efforts at negotiations, and that China can be America’s best friend.
In essence, he did the same thing in the last debate as he did in the first. He completely dismissed who he was and what he said earlier, and tried to mess everyone up by expounding an entirely new line.
Some pundits expressed relief, that the Romney of the third debate was the “real” Romney, and we don’t have so much to fear if he wins the election, after all. But that’s a pretty shallow view. I’m sure Chamberlain found Hitler to be quite gracious when they met and Chamberlain declared, “Peace in our time.”
This writer has known two-faced men in his time, better than I would have liked to, and know how they operate.
The worst thing about Romney is that you can’t trust anything he says. Period.
As fellow Republican Newt Gingrich said on the primary trail, Romney is a liar who will say anything to get to the White House, and if he lies to get to the White House, he’ll lie when he’s there.
It is not how many times you evoke the word, “peace,” when you speak, it is how true and honest you are about your convictions that determines your character. On that score, Romney is an epic fail.