After watching the RNC, I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOP operatives are looking past the 2012 election to 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I think the party wants to win, but Mitt Romney is not their guy, he’s not. If he were, the Republican National Convention would have been a Mittfest rather than a parade of rising stars. Rather than introducing Mitt Romney to the country, the planners decided it would be better to introduce the young talent in the Republican party to the country, most of whom are about as far right as you can get and represent the new face of the Tea Party base.
Take for example the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. The daughter of immigrants from India said in her speech at the RNC that her parents “loved the fact that only in America we could be as successful as we wanted to be and nothing would stand in our way.” Yet she does not want other immigrants to have the same chance to be successful as she and her parents had. She praised South Carolina’s “innovative” anti-immigrant laws whose constitutionality are being challenged in court, claiming that the President has not secured the borders. Last I checked, South Carolina does not border another country, but that’s just an aside. What’s troubling is that immigrants are being made the scapegoat for all the problems that ail the palmetto state. And to make sure that voters who would likely vote for the Democrats, can’t vote, South Carolina introduced voter ID laws, which disproportionally burden minorities, some of whom are immigrants or like Haley, children of immigrants. Talk about standing in the way!
Naturally, presiding over a right to work state (code for cheap exploitable labor) she bashed the unions and like the other speakers, took the President’s “you didn’t build that” out of context. She insists that non-union workers built Boeing airplanes and manufactured tires in her state. Of course they did, but not without government support, which was precisely the President’s point. Let’s not forget that Boeing has been the beneficiary of many lucrative defense department contracts paid for by the government. And as David Sirota of Salon.com pointed out on Up with Chris Hayes, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the RNC took place, was subsidized by government through tax dollars.
Unlike the other speakers, Haley actually mentioned Romney’s name more than just in passing – 5 times to be exact, however her praise was mostly non specific or less than factual – “he fixes things and is results driven”. She mentioned nothing about his actual positions because he’s flipped flopped on them so often. Ok, he’s balanced a budget in MA, but not without raising taxes as Haley claims. He did raise taxes to increase revenue, only he called them fees and increased lots of them raising millions on the backs of MA residents. And I know because I was and still am one of them. If the GOP can get away with calling the President’s fee for not buying health insurance a tax, than Romney’s fees in MA should be called taxes too.
The problem with Romney is that he doesn’t have a conservative record to run on, quite the contrary and that is why he is not the GOP’s guy. The convention was an audition for the GOP’s 2016 run for the oval office. Mitt, who was scarcely mentioned by the rising stars of the party at the convention was all but written off. The convention speakers leading up to Romney (and Clint Eastwood) were the real stars.
Mitt may give President Obama a run, but he’ll have to go even farther to the right to make it close, and that is just not who Romney is and he won’t be at peace with himself. Romney is a good campaigner, but not a a very good politician. At his core, he is a businessman. And friends, America is not a business. We need a President, not a CEO.
And here’s a prediction: unless the more moderate voices like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush take the party back to the center, the GOP is headed straight off the cliff, with guns a blazing, like a crazed Wilie Coyote or Yosemite Sam. You watch.