Romney's Personality Shift

Revealing a central flaw

The strangest aspect of Wednesday night's debate was Mitt Romney's decision to change his tax policies on the fly. Having campaigned hard on a tax proposal that called for $5 trillion in tax cuts, he said flatly that he was not offering a $5 trillion tax cut.

"I don't have a tax cut of the scale that you're talking about," Romney said, even though that is exactly the tax cut he has proposed.

Was Romney for his tax plan before he was against it?

Romney's willingness to remake himself one more time brought into sharp relief a central flaw of his candidacy: Having campaigned as a moderate when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, he veered sharply to the right to win the Republican presidential nomination. Now, with the election just weeks away and polls showing him falling behind in the swing states, he has decided that he needs once again to sound moderate, practical and terribly concerned about the middle class -- and that is the person he sought to be in Denver.

The candidate who has repeatedly attacked regulations was quick to insist: "Regulation is essential. ... You have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work." Romney then reiterated his criticism of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation. But this scourge of big government during the primaries took care to let everyone know that he was not about to turn the United States into an Ayn Rand utopia.

Having hidden his Massachusetts health care plan behind "Repeal Obamacare" rhetoric in the primaries, Romney warmly embraced his own plan -- without explaining why repealing a national health care system modeled on his plan would in any way be consistent with his sloganeering against the president's central achievement.

Romney certainly proved his ferocity in Denver, drawing on the persona that had dispatched Newt Gingrich during the primaries. He relentlessly attacked President Obama on the economy, the budget deficit, health care and just about anything else the president has touched. Romney repeatedly used the word "crushed" to describe the impact of the president's policies on Americans' well-being.

"We know that the path we're taking is not working," Romney said late in the debate. "It's time for a new path."

In the early going, Obama seemed reluctant to go on offense and backed away from several opportunities to engage Romney. The president appeared far more interested in explaining than attacking, more concerned with scoring policy points than raising larger questions about his opponent's approach. The words "47 percent" did not come up.

Obama did return repeatedly to a central point: Romney's vagueness in his proposals on taxes and health care. He charged that Romney was hiding the details of those plans because they would prove unpopular with and harmful to the middle class. Several times, using different language, Obama effectively asked: If Romney's ideas were genuinely helpful to average voters, wouldn't he be shouting their particulars from the rooftops? And at several points Obama spoke of the baleful impact that the budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, would have on Medicare, student loans and community colleges.

Still, Obama chose not to put Romney on the defensive, instead telling voters what he himself had done and why. Obama was more deferential than Romney was to moderator Jim Lehrer and was more willing to let Lehrer interpret the remarkably loose debate rules.

Only in the last minutes did Obama find a stronger voice in describing his achievements. He contrasted his willingness "to say no to some things" with Romney's refusal to say no to "the more extreme parts of his party."

Romney entered the debate facing a skeptical pundit class and a party faithful that perceived his campaign as floundering. This he reversed on Wednesday. By going on the attack, he won himself strong press notices and shouts of joyous relief from his own camp. Obama, by contrast, surprised many of his supporters by not even repeating criticisms of Romney he has made in his own stump speeches.

But Romney's relentlessness may not play as well with swing voters. His decision to change his tax plan on the fly, rather than to defend it, will provide fodder for further Obama attack lines on how it would affect middle-income voters. And his obvious pivot to a new political persona -- or, perhaps more precisely, his reversion to his older, more moderate self -- will lead to more questions about who the real Mitt Romney is.


(c) 2012, Washington Post Writers Group


About the Author

E. J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist, professor of government at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury Press).



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Perhaps swing voters aren't as wedded to ideology as you are.

So Obama takes the high road and he is wrong. If he attacked he wouldn't look presidintial and the media would have attacked him anyway. No matter what he does the right will attack him after all he is not "like" the rest of us. He puts different "cadence" in his voice when talking to "ceratin" people.  I don't care for either of them, Romney or Obama, but I think there was something more to this debate than most of the media and most Americans understand. Sometimes you don't have to attack your opponent. Sometimes you just let him talk. I am sure Obama has read "the Art of War". Waffleman Romney hangs himself.


We have all had time to sleep on what we watched in the presidential debate.  For whatever reason I have slept well during the nights that have followed and the morning immediately after I awoke and over coffee and my morning paper I started thinking about the Hail-Mary hail of words that Mitt Romney threw out from behind his podium in Denver.

Did Romney win more fence-sitters than he lost Libertarians?  He appeared to be thrusting himself out there as a guy who if president would out Obama as Obama---an Obama Light or an Obama Heavy?

Apparently Romney’s supporters are now to stop believing in or just forget what he has been saying during the months of campaigning right up until this debate in which with straight face he did a full flavor version of Yogi Berra’s quip, “I never said most of the things I said.”

As a person that has found no reason to believe anything Romney says, I don’t know what anyone that wants to find something to believe is going to believe at any given moment that keeps pace with what Romney has just said, or said he did or didn’t say, or will say next.

I think Romney has gone well beyond the political flimflam that comedian Steven Colbert coined as “truthiness.”  Romney seems to have moved at warp-speed into a far-out cyber world of “sayiness.”


Allow me Mr. Dionne to present a few facts in light of your assessments.




1.       Five Trillion Dollar Tax Proposal by Romney:  NEVER existed, outright lie, finally admitted by Obama’s campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.  Her exact words (just this past week), “Not even close.”


2.      Regulations:  All reasonable people, even Ayn Rand, respect(ed) “reasonable” regulations in everything from our food to the safety of our financial investments.  It’s the government’s job to protect us.  That’s a far cry from endless agenda-driven regs, especially from the EPA, that now stymy us and American Business (big reason for the continued bad economy).


3.      That 47% Obama didn’t mention:  VERY smart on Obama’s part, especially since calling Romney out on a misspeak (of which he has since apologized and corrected), would be suicide for the obvious comeback of Obama’s old videos. 


           Are you unaware of the release just this week of Obama’s June 5th, 2007 race bait speech he     gave to African American Preachers?  Not only did he “transform” into Obama the Preacher, but he knowingly insulted the intelligence of good men with an outright lie.  Take a listen, and you will clearly hear him accuse the government of being racist in asking “Where are your Stafford (from Stafford Act), dollars?  This one is even hard for me to believe.  Turns out, the money (Stafford Act, HR 2206), Obama was accusing our government of NOT giving to the needy people (all 6.9 BILLION of it) was already approved 10 days prior.  Even worse, only 14 voted against it, and guess who one of them was?  Barack Obama.  This deception is so great, it’s should give George Soros pause.   So yeah, I don’t think Obama is going to be bringing up any old Romney footage anytime soon.

Here’s the proof if you can stomach it.

4.       Health Care:  Romney was merely making the point that over half of America is against Obamacare, unlike Romney Care in MA which was almost 100% bi-partisan, O’Care is 100% partisan.  In case you missed the viral video this week of Dr. Barbara this week, she sums it up in less than 2 minutes in what may well be the longest sentence recorded in cyber history.


I’m afraid Mr. Dionne, what we saw on Wed evening was finally the “real” Barrack Obama, sans teleprompter, sans protection from the MSM, sans the obvious ability to defend a failed presidency, against the “real” Romney .  To fail to see the obvious, that even the left main stream media admitted, is beyond denial.  Perhaps it’s time for many, blinded by ideology, to “rethink reality.” 


Shapeshifting is one thing in a science fiction movie but it's quite another in a man who wants to be President of the  United States. How do we know which Romney will get out of bed in the morning?

Romney has repeatedly claimed as Governor of Massachusetts he did a great job for supporting public education in the state. This is a lie. As Governor he cut state aid for local education to the bone to such an extent that cities and towns were having a difficult time being forced to raise local property taxes to keep the system from complete break down. Communities which had lower middle class home owners who could not afford the increased taxes were particularly hard hit. As a result our state has some of the highest property taxes in the country.

He claims he did not increase state taxes. This is a half truth. What he did do is increase state fees instead.

As for job creation he was a complete failure. At the time Massachusetts ranked 47th for highest unemployment of all the states. In spite of his so called business experience he did nothing to improve the situation.

What all American voters should be asking "Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?"

Seriously Paul, I suspect you are as intelligent as most CW readers and editors, yet it remains an engigma to me why you and  others hang on as gospel truth to every talking point that comes along. 

The facts are, you couldn't be more wrong about Romney's job creation in MA.  When he took office Mass was DEAD LAST (#50).  By the time he left office after 4 years, job creation was up to 28, almost a 50% improvement, despite MA overall sluggish job creation history.

And yes, MA " Taxachusits" has always had high taxes, but that's mostly because of the dems in office.  Romney tired 3 times to lower the taxes but couldn't get it through the Dems.  That said, MA under Romney was and still is number one of all the 50 states in education.  Looking at it on the brigheter side, CA, which has even higher taxes than MA, ranks 43 in education.  At least the good people of MA, unlike overtaxed CA, actually get something for their taxes!


And please, this "Real Romney" stuff is embarssing.  How can you not understand that when you are in in front of 60 million people, in real time, without a teleprompter, a rehearsed script, and protection/propoganda from the MSM, naked to the wind, that IS the real deal?  Americans saw both the real Romney and the real Obama in the last debate; that's as "real" as it gets, sans the "manufacturing of each" by the MSM.

Yesterday I provided the link to visual evidence of Obama (as a US Senator), race baiting and deceiving a room full of  African American Preachers of his own race, while at the same time, in his hypocrisy, falesly  berating the government for not doing the exact thing he and 13 other house members voted against!

If he could dupe his own race and men of faith, does it not even occur to any of you to think he may be duping you?  Apparantely, not so much.  Now we get the new talking point narrative that "Romeny lied during the debate" yet, no one can actually point to any actual lie.

Aren't we better than this?  For the record, Romney wasn't my first choice by any stretch.  Yes, like all polticians, he "adjusts" to his base (as in more moderate for MA, more consservative for POTUS).  There's a big difference between "politics as usual" and outright deception.  Heck, compared to Obama, Romeny looks like Ronald Reagan on sterioids!  Above all else, I never doubted that Romney wasn't a good and charitable man.

As Catholics/Christians, I hope you can find it in your hearts to think/pray this through in a more realisitc way, espeically if you are an Afirician American Christian.  If you need some help, here's one Africian American Preacher who does see reality.  H/T to Skook over at FA

Scroll to the bottom for the short video:



Corrrection:  Video is actually before the comment section, not at the bottom

Patricia. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center is the one that forecast the $5 trillion in revenue losses from Romney's tax plan. Of course, the number is a projection of losses over 10 years. It also doesn't take into account the increase in revenues through the elimination of loopholes. No serious impact analysis can because Romney will not provide the details of which loopholes will be closed. However, what we do know is that no matter which loopholes he decides to close, there aren't enough of them available to offset the tax cuts he intends to enact. 

This idea that Romney's tax plan will be revenue neutral is a farce.

Romney "won" the debate like a used car salesman selling a thrice wrecked "trickle down" junk heap by putting on a thin coat of shiney moderate gloss. The man is borderline mentally ill. Did no one hear his wife voice concern about his mental health should he be elected? Obama does not beat people up! Why? Because he is a good Christian. But hey, even Christ used a whip once. Watch out ye money changers and slick used car salesmen!

Well, Obama used the whip on old Mitt and Mitt's son wants to take a swing at Obama? Oh isn't he such a good christian boy!

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