Mitt Romney headlined the premier speaker series Monday at Desert Town Hall in Indian Wells, California, telling the crowd that though he hasn’t decided if he is going to run, if he does he needs to be a better communicator.
You know, as in communicate to voters “who I am – not just through the policies I talk about but the places that I go and the audiences I speak to.”
If you show up at businesses it looks like you’re a business person. If you show up at churches and at minority communities it shows you care much more broadly. And that’s something that I want to do.
That’s a nice thought. But Romney does not care more broadly. He has binders full of women. He makes fun of people in cheap raincoats. He says there are 47 percent of the population (including minorities) that he doesn’t care about.
I don’t think Romney realizes just how much he did communicate to voters about who he is: a man who will say anything to anybody to get elected. It is unclear if he thinks we’re not paying attention, or if he doesn’t understand how recording technology works, or if there is some other major malfunction at play.
Mitt showed us he’s a guy who, if you’re against something, he’s against it too, and if you’re for it, he’s for it too! And unlike Obama, he did not say his position had evolved. Instead, he insisted it had never changed, that he had always been perfectly consistent.
The Democratic National Committee scored huge in 2012 with its WhichMitt.com website (http://www.whichmitt.com/). The title speaks for itself and as the DNC pointed out, the answer is always “all of the above.”
What Romney said Monday proves it still is.
According to Fox News, Romney told the crowd at Desert Town Hall, “The reason that I am a Republican is because I believe in the principles of conservatism are the best to help people get out of poverty and the best to help people have opportunity and rising wages.”
Well, the facts demonstrate that, 1) conservative principles put a lot of those people into poverty in the first place, and are sending a lot more people to join them even as we speak, and 2) the GOP has no desire to raise wages. Conservatism is about maintaining the status quo. The status quo does not raise wages.
In fact, in May of this year, Romney came out in favor of raising the minimum wage, saying on Morning Joe, “I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it.”
The only problem is that he was for raising the minimum wage before 2012, but then in 2012 announced that “there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.”
Yet, no doubt he will insist, as he did in 2011:
“I think you’ll find that I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be as I look at those issues and as I try and apply those principles to government.” [Seacoastonline.com editorial board interview, 11/3/11]
Even though he said, in 2007:
“If you’re looking for someone who’s never changed any positions on any policies, then I’m not your guy.” [Meet The Press, 12/16/2007]
So when Mitt says he’s for raising the minimum wage, just wait five minutes.
And then there is his diagnosis Monday of the problem of poverty:
Romney twice cited a Brookings Institution study showing a high school graduate who marries before parenthood and at some point in time holds a full time job is unlikely to live in poverty. He says government policies over the past 50 years have failed to lift America’s poor and that it should focus on policies that will tackle the educational, social and economical benchmarks noted by the Brookings study.
“If you’re serious about helping people get out of poverty wouldn’t you think [Washington politicians] would look at a study like that and say, ‘gosh, let’s look at our government programs and see if they’re keeping people from getting married.’ And they are.”
Say what? The federal government is preventing people from getting married? And how did he conclude that getting married was the essential ingredient in attaining success and not the graduating high school thing?
If Mitt wants to do better in 2016, he is going to have to do a whole lot more than communicate better. He is going to have to decide he actually believes a certain set of principles and then stick to them, understanding that they will get him elected or they won’t.
He will not get into the White House by visiting folks in “minority communities” and lying to them.
Romney’s problem in 2012 (and in 2016) is one all Republicans seem to share these days: misdiagnosing the problem and applying the wrong solutions. They think if they act hipper, or get better looking people, that somehow they will be perceived differently.
In fact, the one lesson Romney seems to have learned Monday is to keep the media out. If they can’t ask questions, he can’t be forced to trip over his answers. But that’s not a long-term solution.
No matter what they look like, act like, or say (looking at you, Rand Paul) they can’t disguise what they are. Communication isn’t Mitt’s problem. Being a Republican is Mitt’s problem. Because as we proceed into the twenty-first century, the status quo is not something Americans can live with.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.