(Old) I don’t see how Republicans can vote for Romney

I wrote this a few years ago (obviously), but it’s relevant to another article I’m posting, so I’m posting this in full for reference. Enjoy!

I don’t see how a Republican can vote for Romney;

A few days ago, Romney remarked that he couldn’t see how any young person could vote for a Democrat. In his rush to further the two-party divide, he exposes an interesting flaw in his own candidacy. How can Republican voters vote for Romney? If the issue is trusting the person you put in power to care for your best interests and act according to your ideals, then Romney is one of the last people that should be selected as a Presidential candidate, much less the presidency.

I’m not an ideologue. This is more of a “if I were a young Republican” type of intellectual exercise. And while I hate to play the tired old tune of “flip-flopping”, Romney’s virtuosic skill redefines the term.

You see, politicians fall on a spectrum from right to left, Republican to Democrat, conservative to liberal, corporatist to populist. Politicians usually tend to stay in a region on the political spectrum and remain fairly consistent; for instance, a strong populist such as Alan Grayson isn’t likely to flip around and start endorsing Big Oil and tax cuts for the wealthy. Likewise, a more corporate-oriented representative like John Boehner is just as unlikely to start pushing socialized medicine in lieu of the private healthcare industry. It just isn’t going to happen.

But with Mitt, we do see this type of sudden reversal in policy position, whether it’s shifting from supporting Romneycare and the individual mandate, or pro-choice to pro-life. Sometimes these positions change from one election cycle to the next; sometimes it’s mere minutes between polarity reversals.

To be clear, I have nothing against changing your mind. Rational adults are constantly changing their minds. If you give me new facts and make a good solid argument, then I will consider your viewpoint, and if I find it superior to mine then I will adjust accordingly. If we all stuck to our original opinions without deviation, then the only shows in syndication nowadays would be “Power Rangers” and “My Little Pony”. Viewpoints are supposed to evolve over time, and it is not something to be ashamed of.

However, when a viewpoint is changing simply to pander to voters, then there is a real issue. The issue is this: if you are a voter, and you vote for Romney because he has recently changed back to support what you value as important, then what makes you so certain that he will continue to support that particular issue once he’s in office? I’m not even suggesting he’s lying or duplicitous: it’s far worse than that. The Republican Party is somewhat united on most issues, but vastly divided between the social conservatives, economic conservatives, and libertarian factions. If you fall on any side of that spectrum, then you should be aware that Romney might not truly represent you while in office.

The politically and strategically sad thing about this whole debacle is that instead of being consistent and proud of his successes, Romney constantly finds himself apologizing for the very things that put him in position to be a legitimate contender for the Presidency. Instead of pointing out that individual mandates were originally conceived by the right wing Heritage Foundation and turning that into a victory for Republicans by getting Obama and the left to conform to their will, Romney is stuck spinning his wheels and regurgitating the same tired argument of “I think it’s a fantastic idea, but it’s better off regulated on a state or local level”.

Alas, politicians seem to have forgotten that the end goal of elections is not merely to get elected, but to represent the people. I have my views; yet if I were to adopt the party line and play the part of a perfect little conservative — antithetical to my true beliefs — on the campaign trail, only to be voted into office, then I would have a hard time meeting the expectations I set for the people that elected me. Next election (or if a recall happens), I would be ejected from office, and rightly so. It’s better to run on your principles and stay true to what you’ll actually do when in office and lose honestly than explain away your half-truths day by day and slip your way in for merely one term.

As a good example, I put forth Candidate Obama vs. President Obama. I will unabashedly admit I voted for Obama in 2008, and if I went back in time I’d do it again in a heartbeat. 2012 I will vote for Obama as well (unless a strong progressive emerges from the woodworks within the next few months, but that’s not going to happen). However, Candidate Obama whom I voted for in 2008 was a Strong Progressive, who was going to Repeal Tax Cuts and End Wars and support Public Option with real Health Reform. The President Obama I got caved to Republicans on nearly all issues and consistently fails to present a strong public issue and champion his many successes. To be clear, there are several things that Obama has put forth that are clear successes (even if only 60% of what I personally would have wished for), but that is the nature of politics. Thus I will vote for President Obama in 2012 with that caveat firmly in mind, and I won’t be surprised by much within the next 4 years.

I’m not here to convince you to vote for Obama. I’m not here to endorse Paul, or Gingrich, or Santorum, or anybody else. I’m here to point out that if you have any deeply held convictions and you want your President to represent you, you should not vote for Romney.

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