Mitt Romney has been justly criticized for moving far to the right on a whole range of issues in order to pander to conservatives in the presidential campaign. What hasn’t been noted often enough, though, is that Romney never stopped shape-shifting, adopting a range of different personas in order to suit the state of the week. Peter Canellos gets at it nicely in today’s Globe:
In the end, all those inconsistencies combined with a somewhat plastic presence on the stump made Romney seem inauthentic and opportunistic — a meat-and-potatoes car guy in Michigan who morphed into a Pollo Tropico lover in Florida.
Romney furthered those impressions by changing his emphasis in state after state, from being a social conservative in Iowa, to an anti-Washington crusader in New Hampshire, to an economic nationalist in Michigan, to the one true Reaganite who played to right-wing talk shows in the days leading up to Super Tuesday.
By the time Romney took the stage in Boston on Tuesday night, wearing the frozen smile of a politician desperate to stave off defeat, his message had unraveled into a series of generic platitudes and warnings.
In the Herald, Peter Gelzinis is on fire:
Mitt Romney’s quest for the White house dissolved under the weight of some very expensive brainwashing by a circle of consultants who sold him on the ludicrous notion that he could become president by running to the right of a genuine war hero.
That would’ve been a tough sell even if Mitt had spent 13 months in Vietnam, rather than two years searching for Mormon converts in the Bordeaux region of France.
But then, when you subscribe to the world according to Rush Limbaugh — the OxyContin-popping Charles Foster Kane of talk radio who bloviates his conservative rant from behind the locked gates of his Florida compound — you’ve already lost touch with a large part of reality.
Personally, I think Republican voters took the measure of Romney’s character and found it lacking. Even by the debased standards of politics, Romney was unusual in his willingness to say anything in order to get elected. Too bad he didn’t realize that’s not the way to get elected.
As Republican political consultant Todd Domke said on WBUR Radio yesterday, if Romney were the person whom he claimed to be, he’d be sailing to the nomination right now.
Further thoughts from the Outraged Liberal, himself a recovering journalist.
Channeling the same wavelength: A Globe editorial refers to Romney’s “shape-shifting,” too.