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   Mitt Romney’s Naïve Evasion Strategy

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8/2/2012 1:25 pm

Author

Michael Tomasky

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Commentary

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Entered 8/2/2012, Updated 8/2/2012

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I’ve been pounding away at Mitt Romney’s lack of spine on the basis of his unprecedented reversals of position. We have never in modern American history had a presidential nominee who, as he ascended from the state to the national level, changed so many positions so shamelessly. But that’s not the only manifestation of his weakness. Take the three issues of his lack of specificity about the policies he supports, his inaccessibility to the press, and his refusal to release his tax returns. These highlight another aspect of the problem, one that’s no less telling and serious: His desire to sneak into the White House all but unexamined by voters. Even Bill Kristol has complained that Romney is on “autopilot” and is not laying out a serious and clear vision. Romney hasn’t said what tax loopholes he’ll close or what federal programs he’ll slash. He then tries to argue that to do so would be foolish, like a football coach posting his playbook online (my metaphor, not his, but it’s the essence of what he says). He doesn’t want to release more tax returns for the same reason that he doesn’t want to talk to the press if at all possible, and for the same reason that he wants to lay out as few specifics as he possibly can. He wants to get to the White House without having to endure all the difficult challenges presidential candidates have always faced. It’s another manifestation of his weakness. First, he completely reinvents who this “Mitt Romney” person is to placate a right wing whose power he fears. Second, having apparently accomplished that successfully, the point is now not to have to take any new positions, answer any annoying press questions, or reveal the truth about his fortune and his tax history. All of those can gum up the narrative he has crafted so carefully.


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