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Here's what I was wondering, watching the debates, as Romney betrayed every position and promise he made to the GOP base in the most blatant, insincere attempt at political whitewashing in modern electoral history:
Was it really only two years ago that the tea party seized the national imagination and ran so far right they fell off the edge of their flat earth?
Romney sounded almost, dare I say it? Like a liberal. He out-doved Obama in foreign policy, he vowed to up the take-home pay of regular, working Americans, he method-acted as the guardian of such classic liberal programs as Medicare and Social Security. He damn near got on his knees, standing up for the little guy.
At first, Obama seemed befuddled by the whole thing. As if he'd been running against the Romney the Right Wing Avenger all these months, and now he's supposed to debate Romney the Blow-up Pleasure Doll.
This was the same fellow who spent his summer firing up tea party rants, where you just know that somewhere in the crowd, off camera, a drooling fat dude was holding up a noose.
The fact that Romney had to run fast and furious to the center, even the left, to con the people into electing him is encouraging, is it not?
If America were the fundamentally conservative place the conservatives make it out to be, that wouldn't work, would it? If Romney tacked any harder left, he'd capsize. But so far, it seems, he's getting away with it.
Something about Obama rubs a lot of people wrong. It's like they voted for him in 2008 out of white guilt, and now they can't wait to take it back.
There is no other way to explain how one, off-key debate appearance--against a guy who held his own by disowning every position he'd ever held--turned a blowout win into a statistical dead heat overnight.
I don't get it and I never have; there must be something wrong with me. Because I kind of like the guy.
I'd like him more if he were the boogey man the other side, falsely, portrays him to be. I could take a dose of the Angry Black Man that he is not, but should be, the way he's been treated.
But Obama is not that guy. He's a moderate, even-tempered, don't-rock-the-boat, standard-issue tepid liberal who happens to be black. Obama is the target of rage, not the source. But manufactured anger is expensive. If it takes him down, we'll all pay the price.
No matter who is president, the global depression will play itself out. The deficit has its own imperatives, the numbers will dictate the solution. Spending will go down, taxes will go up. That's the deal. I'd rather have a Democrat tinkering around the edges, but that's the deal. Fiscal policy is one percent policy and 99 percent arithmetic.
But while the numbers work themselves out, I'd rather have a president who didn't trade in hate.
I don't want the guy, or the party, that scapegoats gays, threatens abortion rights, limits contraception, tells women how to use their bodies, and panders to the gun nuts like they're a band of patriots whose muskets are the last thing standing between government tyranny and the Whiskey Rebellion.
I don't want the guy who throws red meat to the rednecks, leads the tea party lemmings to the ballot box then ships their jobs to China, runs to the right of Michelle Bachman in the primaries, then turns left so shamelessly he never mentions the word "conservative" during the general. A guy who will do that is full of it.
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