Tom Edsall on Mitt Romney: “Consistently evasive”

Can a candidate for President get away with dodging all the tough issues? I guess we’ll find out.

That’s as good a two-word summary of the Stepford Husband as I’ve heard. Edsall concentrates on the political implications for Romney of looking like a coward, rather than on the implications for the country of electing a coward, and he sticks with the immigration issue, but the picture is beautifully painted, including this magnificent paragraph of bafflegab on what a President Romney would do about immigration:

We’ll — we’ll look at that — we’ll look at that setting as we — as we reach that. But my anticipation is, I’d come into office and say we need to get this done on a long-term basis, not this kind of a stopgap measure. What the president did, he should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn’t. He saves these sorts of things until four and a half months before the general election.

Edsall notes that his constant evasions say something about Romney’s character as well as about the state of his party. That’s two excellent reasons to vote for Barack Obama.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

20 thoughts on “Tom Edsall on Mitt Romney: “Consistently evasive””

  1. i recently got involved in a discussion on facebook about this subject. the basic response from most of the people in the discussion was that obama was a lying sack of s*** and you democrats don’t want to face up to it. when i asked how that, even if that were the case, would make romney more truthful the response was along the lines of “you democrats are so unreasonable there’s no point in talking to you.” of course i live in texas and most of the folks in the discussion were from a county that went mccain by about 78% so i knew what i was getting into.

    1. I also live in Texas and there’s an unreasonable amount of hatred toward Obama here (and across red America.) The general assumption is that Obama is aiming to intentionally destroy America–as in, he is an enemy of America who set out for the presidency only to annihilate the country that elected him. As absurd as this sounds, it’s what many people here believe. Democrats are either seen as credulous fools or co-conspirators. I often get questions like, “you’re smart, you went to an Ivy League school. How can you not see that he’s an anti-American out to destroy the country?”

      I believe this false construct was created so that Republicans wouldn’t have to grapple with the idea that they might be wrong. Or at least that a majority of Americans don’t agree with them.

      1. Dear navarro and Matt:

        Don’t live in Texas. Or any other formerly treasonous portions of our great Union.


        Larry Birnbaum
        A proud resident of Illinois, the home of Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman, who saved the Union and freed the slaves

        1. Dear Larry,

          Sure, take the easy way out. But then the confederacy wins (what? you thought the civil war was over?). I’m living in Georgia so you don’t have to. It’s not easy but someone has to do it. You’re very welcome.

          Native Illinoisian transplanted to Georgia who’s looking forward to the day when his
          presidential vote will actually count.

        2. seriously? that’s the best you’ve got?

          i refuse to give this state up to a bunch of right-wing bastards who probably get more benefits from the federal government per capita than any “welfare queen” they want to point at. i’m an 8th generation native of this place and my ancestors have been dying here since the 1840s. i’m more likely to leave the country than i am to simply leave this state. i understand your sentiment but i cannot agree with it.

          1. I, for one, agree with your sentiment. Texas might be an intellectually derelict moral wasteland; it’s also in some ways one of the most brutally honest places I’ve lived. Product of the (natural) environment, natch. Is my adopted home state a socially retarded, constipated cesspool of hatred and willful ignorance? Yup. Is it also home to some amazingly straightforward folks who, once I get off my horse, remind me of the positive uses of a mirror? Ayup. Lasting change comes from within, from identification and all this allows. This is not Weimar Germany, 1932 (at least in terms of American politics). Those of us in deep red states (even blue oases like Travis County) can and do effect change, not by ideological triumphalism but the old fashioned way – one connection at a time. I can honestly say that I’ve more effectively influenced the world here in “critical thinking is a liberal plot to undermine parents’ authority” land than when I lived in either New Commie Socialist York or The People’s Republic of Vermont. Or maybe I’m a masochist. Remember, however, one thing – Hispanic majority, baby. Just in time for 2016.

        3. Despite what I say above, I truly appreciate how Texans operate. Libertarianism is in the Texas DNA. There’s a real streak of “live and let live” here that manifests, yes, in crazy gun laws and get-off-my-property attitude. But it also creates opportunities in the sense that no one tries to stop you from doing things or tells you it can’t be done: in business, in life, in your yard.

          I’m originally a West Coaster–where there’s much more of a NIMBY attitude, and an attempt to control what other people do. I’m sure this is even more pronounced on the East Coast. In Texas, people are expected to be independent.

          I go back and forth on Texas. In other places, I considered myself a rational moderate, equally willing to take on the weirder ideas on the far left and far right, but here I’m seen as a raging blue Socialist liberal. My neighbor, an engineer with a masters, believes that Nostradamus warned of a blue-turbaned Muslim who would destroy our country and she thinks that Obama is fulfilling this prophesy. She yells about it from her porch when she’s drunk–which seems perfectly normal here. Then, the next morning, she goes to her job where she’s expected to make informed decisions about energy policy.

          I hate the willful ignorance and Texas/A&M jingoism, but I do love the grit, character, and independence of the state.

        4. Larry,

          Screw that stuff,, ‘kay?. Kinky freedman, Molly ivins, — and there are plenty of racists everywhere–gosh, even in lordly El-a-noy.

          No state is exempt. No state gets to be a scapegoat for the racism we all are obligated to confront in ourselves.

          Now that we’re done pointing fingers, on to the bigger point: all that irrational Obama hatred is because of ni*CLANG*. (See the Balloon Juice lexicon if the meaning of this isn’t, heaven help us, immediately clear.)

    2. It may be worth noting that the Texas Rangers currently have the best record in the American League and the Washington Nationals have the best record in the National League. A World Series between these two teams–on the eve of the 2012 elections–might be just a tad apocalyptic. Like soccer riots–with Second Amendment rights!!!

  2. I’m not sure lying per se is an electoral loser. I recall something about a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam….

    1. I’m not sure lying per se is an electoral loser.

      It’s all the market (uninformed electorate) can bear. And they can bear a lot. Check it out: We have a Wall Street flimflam man, a half-a-billionaire, with Swiss bank accounts running for President less that 4 years after his ilk caused the greatest economic melt down in our times. Even better he has embraced the Ryan budget of tax cuts for the rich…

      Kevin Drum hit a homerun about this a while back:

      I’ve mentioned this before, but it was the financial collapse of 2008 that really cemented me in this view that the 1 percent have simply crushed their opposition over the past three decades. In any normal universe, that collapse should have ushered in an era of populist politics and ruined the Republican Party for years. Not for a generation, mind you—2008 wasn’t 1929 and George W. Bush wasn’t Herbert Hoover—but certainly for a good long time. After all, how clear could things be? We followed the precise path that Wall Street and the Republican Party laid down for us and the result was the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. That sort of thing should keep you out of power for at least a few election cycles, no? But in fact, it kept them out of power for only one election cycle. That was it. The last few years have been a period of time in which the economy was overwhelmingly the most important electoral issue, and vast swaths of the American public simply haven’t held the GOP or its policies responsible. They might tell pollsters they do, but in the voting booth, where it counts, they don’t.

      If Romney gets elected the “cementing” of the “crush” by the .1% Kleptocrats will be complete.
      Personally I will give up following politics completely. There is no sense in it. It’s game over.

      1. K, Thomas Frank’s new book Pity the Billionaires is excellent on this theme. Well written and all too enlightening about something it would be nicer not to have to know about.

  3. And then, despite the abysmal and costly failure of Iraq, if elected, Romney is sure to have a jingositic, neo conservative, hawkish foreign policy, with some of the very same neo conservatives who pushed Bush Jr. into the Iraqi elective war, having retuned as influential advisors to Romney.

    Romney aligned himself with Bolton and other neocons in 2012 to protect his right flank. Today there’s little daylight between the candidate and his most militant advisers. “When you read the op-eds and listen to the speeches, it sounds like Romney’s listening to the John Bolton types more than anyone else,”

    1. Heh. I went to a talk by John Bolton just prior to the 2010 elections. The amount of utter bullshit cascading out of the man for 45 straight minutes was astonishing. But not as astonishing as the alacrity with which his audience lapped it all up. We. Are. Doomed. I’d just go fishing if the fish were safe to eat…but instead will continue using a pea shooter against the TheoCon/NeoCon/NeoLib/DLC juggernaut. Did I mention that we are doomed?

  4. The question that hovers around this issue of Romney’s well documented willingness to evade, lie, say anything that fits his immediate need to make the audiance like Mitt is:
    Will the coveted swing voters believe that Mitt is just saying that stuff to get the votes of “those crazy people” and when he gets in office he will do the sensible thing (whatever it is that mushy middle swing voter wants)?
    Obama showed that being a Rorschach Test can be a good strategy to win the White House. How about being an EtchaSketch Rorschach Test with unlimited money? That might work even better.

    1. The fly in the ointment for Mitt is that he is such an unpleasant, weasely creature. It’s just hard for him to get anybody to like him no matter what he says. Would you buy a used car from him, even if it was one of his wife’s Cadilacs? Not me.

      1. I think that’s unfair. In private life, Mitt Romney might be an ok guy. Is it necessary to vilify him on every level, rather than pointing out that he has character flaws that would make him a bad president but adecent if flawed human being, like most of us?

        1. Watching and listening to the man gives me the same creepy feeling I always got from Nixon and GW Bush. I think I’m not alone in this reaction from comments I’ve heard.
          Fair or not I trust my gut. At my age I’ve learned to trust two things: My Dad’s words of wisdom and my gut when a person makes that little buzzer go off in my head.
          And let’s be real. Do we really need to be fair when a compulsive liar, a member of the Pump and Dump crew that has wrecked the world economy who promises to double down on that agenda is spending more money than has ever been spent in a campaign to grab control of the most powerful office in the world?
          No doubt Mitt loves his wife and buys ice cream cones for his children. He is a real piece of work and at this moment the most dangerous man on the planet.

          p.s. How would you like his little chop shop company to take control of the place where you work? Yeah Mitt’s a sweet heart and he would sell your eye balls to pay for new hard wood in his rec room.

          1. Frankly, in his prviate life, the guy sounds like a mild version of David Koresh.

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