Mitt Romney is play acting and he’s not bad. With leading man looks, he delivers his lines convincingly even though the audience knows most everything he says either contradicts his past statements and positions or simply isn’t true.
Romney is counting on his audience to suspend their disbelief. And roughly half the country has, if polls are to be believed. His supporters have accepted Romney’s charge that President Obama has failed, even though the evidence that Obama is succeeding is everywhere.
Out of the second worst economic disaster in modern times, we’ve had 30 straight months of jobs growth. More than 100 million Americans are benefiting from the president’s signature legislation, Obamacare.
The Iraq nightmare is over. We’ll be out of Afghanistan within two years. Al-Qaida is decimated and 9/11’s mastermind is dead and buried.
The stock market is roaring along, the auto industry is secure, and the economy is improving.
Yes, we are much better off than four years ago. But Romney, the actor, says we’re not despite the reality just outside his theater’s doors.
Like all talented actors, Romney assumes most any character the role calls for. But when a presidential candidate who calls himself “resolute” changes his positions as smoothly and unapologetically as Romney does, voters have no idea how Romney will govern as president.
In 2002 Romney played a “progressive.” In 2012 he takes the stage as “severely conservative.”
He’ll reduce everyone’s taxes to 20 percent, which would add $5 trillion to the deficit. Romney says he’ll pay for the cuts by closing “loopholes,” but you’ll have to elect him to find out which ones.
Ten years ago Romney was unshakably pro choice. Now he’s unshakably pro life. He supports legislation that would permit states to ban birth control and he promises to overturn Roe v. Wade.
He favored self-deportation last spring. Romney says now he’ll continue Obama’s program that permits young undocumented immigrants to work temporarily in the U.S.
During the recent foreign policy debate, Romney agreed with most everything Obama has done. But during his campaign, Romney condemned most all of what the president did, from leaving Iraq to helping Libyans overthrow Gaddafi.
Romney’s only public service came as governor of Massachusetts, where he left behind a dismal record with one glittering exception. He passed the state’s individual mandate, which he called the model for the nation.
Today he says he’ll repeal Obamacare.
When actors get out of character they often reveal who they really are. Romney did last May when he dismissed 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes as parasites and “victims.” His figure includes troops in harm’s way, the working poor, disabled Americans, and seniors.
You, the audience, must forget all of this. You must look into Mitt’s eyes and see the leader of the free world.
But the presidency isn’t play acting; it’s as real as it gets.
Say what you will about the president, but Obama’s done or tried to do most everything on which he campaigned. What we saw in 2008 is what we got. By any reasonable and objective measurement, Obama has done an exceptional job under the most trying conditions.
There are comedies, dramas, and tragedies. Romney’s campaign is a farce in which the candidate is always ducking in a door wearing one guise and popping out of another door wearing a different one.
Voters shouldn’t take him seriously.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.