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Posted on Jun 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

Dean Barnett’s Anti-Romney Love Romney Piece

In today’s New York Times, Dean Barnett writes an interesting piece discussing the Mitt Romney that he knew 15 years ago during his run for Senate and comparing that character with the Mitt Romney of today.

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This is a unique opinion piece in the sense that it is one that truly drills in two opposing arguments. Normally, this type of flow would be seen as inconsistent, but I think that there is an underlying message in this piece.

When discussing Romney’s credibility from early-campaign promises and flip-flops, Barnett says:

“This tack rang false with the public because it was false. The problem wasn’t so much the perception of widespread “flip-flopping” on issues like abortion. The public allows its politicians a measure of flexibility. But the public correctly sensed something disingenuous about Mr. Romney’s campaign.”

Absolutely correct

Barnett then goes on the other side of the Romney debate and paints a more positive picture of Romney by saying:

“I know few voters will believe this, but Mitt Romney wants to be president out of a sense of duty. He feels our government needs someone with his managerial skills. He also feels that to fight the long war facing us, we need an intellectually curious president who’s willing to learn about an unfamiliar foe and who will fight resolutely to defeat that foe.

Mr. Romney cares passionately about social issues, but he knows his Republican competitors can appoint strict constructionist judges as well as he can. The real value of a Romney presidency would lie in the talents, honed in the business world, that he would bring to the White House.”

Once again, Barnett is spot on.

After making two opposing statement, the article is closed with

“I hope Mr. Romney does well enough in Michigan today that he gets the opportunity to introduce the public to the real Mitt Romney. He is a wonderful and gifted guy. It would be nice if he and his campaign allowed the voters in on that secret.”

Odd article, right? If you’re not a Romney supporter, you’re going to be nodding your head, focusing on the fact that he has flip-flopped on some issues that many people hold near and dear. If you are a Romney supporter, you too are probably nodding your head focusing on the more positive elements of the article, particularly the fact that Mitt Romney truly does want the White House and does have the skills necessary to take this country in the right direction.

However, what was the NYT hoping to accomplish by running this piece on a primary election day?

In my opinion, I think that the NYT saw this as an opportunity to damage the lead that Mitt Romney was gaining over Senator John McCain. They know that this campaign is going to be long battle for the Republican regardless, so why not make it as ugly and polarizing for the Republican Party as possible.

That might have been their intent, I don’t know for sure. If it was, I don’t think that they succeeded at all.

To me, this article was just positive enough for me to stop myself from making the judgment that maybe Barnett is right in that Romney has changed his positions and has been hurt by that. However, after thinking about the current state of politics in the United States, I’ve come to the conclusion that if people don’t change their mind over time, regardless of the issue, be it big or small, they aren’t probably seeking that much information and desire to find truth.

Yes, this sounds a bit “hippieish” but when I go to the booth on Election Day, I want to know that the President that I am selecting is going to be able to truly analyze the issues and make a decision based on the facts, not based on some preconceived notion.

This I where John McCain scores a lot of points with me in his thoughts on Global Warming, saying that yes, we could sit and do nothing, but what happens if we’re wrong?

In my opinion, the GOP field should be down to two, the two men who truly want this position, and quite frankly deserve it. This shouldn’t be a 4 or 5 man fight; this should be McCain v. Romney all the way up through convention, and finally give the GOP an event where debate is had and real decisions are made.

I think that the debates between Romney and McCain is the most valuable for the GOP in that they both articulate the ideas that many of us agree with, without sounding too extreme. These are the discussions the GOP needs to have if we want to truly reform the party and get back to the roots of Reagan or Goldwater.

Right now the GOP is fractured, dividing amongst a wide variety of factions with each having its own agenda and viewpoint of seeking power. We need to debate these issues, find some middle ground, make as many parties happy as possible and show the American people that we are a unified party that is ready to take action.

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