Mitt Romney wants to be president so badly, but he just can't get anyone to elect him. Don't laugh, okay? He must struggle to get out of bed each and every morning knowing that he'll have to spend the entire day being Mitt Romney, the shiny plastic humanoid who'll never figure out what Republican voters want.
Take his book No Apologies, which first came out early last year. He addressed current policy debates in a measured, moderate tone, even giving a nuanced take on President Obama's stimulus package. It was an early indication of his 2012 Republican primary strategy: Play the quiet moderate while the kookier candidates flame each other into oblivion, and eventually win by default. (And by having unlimited sums of cash.)
But Romney wrote most of his book in the months after President Obama's inauguration, before the Tea Party successfully shifted the GOP's center of gravity far to the right. And a nuanced take on Barack Obama's stimulus really doesn't play well with any Republican primary voters in 2011. Shit! What was Mitt Romney supposed to do with this liberal book he wrote in 2009? Well, what he did end up doing was edit a couple of sections for the just-released paperback version with nastier words for the Obama administration. The Boston Phoenix reports:
The first rewrite excises a relatively even-handed assessment of the 2009 economic-stimulus package. In the original, Romney wrote that it "will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery, but not as much as it could have." The paperback pronounces the stimulus "a failure," and blasts Obama's "economic missteps" with conservative red-meat language - for example: "This is the first time government has declared war on free enterprise."
The other major change comes in a chapter on health care. In the original hardcover, Romney tried to carefully distinguish between the Massachusetts law and the national version that was nearing passage as he wrote.
But the Massachusetts model has become Romney's bête noire among conservatives, who loathe the national reform they call "Obamacare." The rewritten paperback swings much harder, proclaiming that "Obamacare will not work and should be repealed," and "Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states."
He also penned a new "Tea Party"-targeted introduction. It's just a string of Tea Party buzzwords that his aides must have compiled for him:
Romney certainly appears to be targeting those [Tea Party] voters in the paperback's new introduction, in which he bemoans the "elite" liberals' destruction of everything the Founding Fathers stood for - especially "freedom," a word that appears 25 times in the introduction. "Constitution" shows up 11 times. The Tea Party gets mentioned by name, as does the Glenn Beck–promoted 9/12 movement - even Joe the Plumber gets a shout-out.
Well, Republican voters? Will you finally love Mitt Romney now that he's rewritten his book with more "real conservative" platitudes? No, you won't. But chin up, Mittens. Just keep changing your strongly held convictions for purely political reasons every few months, and things will turn around.
[Image via AP]