If Mitt Romney’s debate performance Wednesday night was the main course in shedding his reptilian “severely conservative” skin, then last night was the digestif.
He’s throwing his old self under the bus:
In [the 47% tape] I said something that’s just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe however that my life has shown that I care about the 100 percent and that has been demonstarted throughout my life. This whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become president it’ll be about helping the 100 percent.
I guess the etch-a-sketch has been fully shaken.
There’s just one thing.
I had an etch-a-sketch as a kind, and there’s nothing like a brand new, pristine version. As you draw (or, in my case, scribble) on it, and then shake and restart, faint lines remain – ghosts, if you will, of past actions. And much as the GOP nominee spent Wednesday night claiming he’d never met this Mitt Romney fellow who had all these specific, unpopular positions, there is a record. And, you know, videotape.
Plus, if I were the Obama campaign, I could have a lot of fun with tape of Romney saying “In this case I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
Now, this pivot makes Romney hard to pin down. I remember Romney in the primaries choosing, as his one-word adjective, resolute. Oh well.
Maybe this is brilliant strategy – screw up the campaign so badly that he could pretend to be a version of Republican that went extinct when Lincoln Chaffee fled the party in 2006 without the far right of the GOP freaking out. But it’s awfully cynical, even as it complicates matters for team Obama. But I think they’ll figure out a plan.
After all, for all that the right wing is trying to convince working class whites that Barack Obama is really Stokely Carmichael and H.Rap Brown covered up by a neat haircut and a tendency to talk like a white person except when he’s alone with his kind, it’s Romney that is far more likely to pull off his campaign mask post-election and turn into something else.
Expect more of what you see in the clip above, and a lot of “who is the real Mitt Romney” stuff.
And don’t expect the 47% remarks to go away. They’re devastating because everything about them – location, audience, tone of voice – says that they’re a peek into whatever passes for Mitt Romney’s soul.
My guess is, when we look back on this, that this will have been Romney’s best week in the general election campaign. Not that he won’t have other decent ones, but this is as good as it gets.
And it’s not good enough to win.