Monday, October 8, 2012


Are we over the first debate yet? Not quite. The benefit of time and subsequent shocks and awes will bury the memory, Republican euphoria and Democratic dejection. However what lingers for me aside from the feeble presence of Obama is the emergence of the new Mitt. Obama was not prepared for this sudden transmogrification. It isn’t only that the president played softball fouling off pitches right down the middle while Romney played hardball. What happened was that Obama didn’t recognize Mitt’s newly reconstituted lying and denying persona.

Up until now Romney has campaigned against a fabricated Obama of his own making, a convenient straw-man who is lazy, not one-of-us, a Socialist–Muslim, who has expanded government and done away with the work requirement for welfare recipients. They blamed him for every ill in our times except, perhaps, the BP oil spill.

Now the race has come down to the old Mitt versus the new version. The previous guy had to feed the beast that is the Republican base, the party of unreason, of 19th century racism and Nativism who scream of sacred life at conception but only until birth, the proto-fascists who seek to suppress the vote. These are the American Taliban whose fundamentalism is no less male chauvinist.  You want assault weapons? Mitt’s for that. No regulations? Why not? No taxes? Where do I sign the pledge?  47% of us are grubbers. He spoke the speak and danced their dance.

And now, forget all that. He didn’t really say it….or mean it or he mis-spoke or was quoted out of context. He now most certainly believes in government regulations, in healthcare reform with a mandate. He now supports the Dream Act. He may even favor a jobs bill which his party has blocked repeatedly in Congress. How will this play in Dallas and Baton-Rouge? Wait till the Koch brothers hear about this.     

I don’t want to overstate the case. Basic differences remain even if the rhetorical tone has been softened. He is still the man of many hyphens… out-source, off-shore, flip-flop and out-of-touch. All his fancy dancing didn’t change the stripes. He objects to supporting NPR by allegedly having China write the check (0.01% of the budget) but has no qualms maintaining a bloated Pentagon of 2 trillion Chinese dollars. Does China know they are also paying for our weaponry?

Humans are complex. We have some of Hamlet in us. Indecision, ambiguity, equivocation are all part of our complex nature. We evolve and we devolve. Justice Black renounced the KKK becoming a New Dealer while Justice White dissented on Roe v Wade and drifted to the Right. But Mitt rewrites the soliloquy; he will both Be AND Not Be, depending upon the audience. He might as well debate himself. As Groucho quipped, These are my principles; if you don’t like them I have others.

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