As promised last Friday, George Will (the Pulitzer Prize winner whom the Wall Street Journal has called “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America”) has written a condign censure of the candidacy of Mitt Romney in “Mitt Romney, the pretzel candidate”.
Will uses Romney’s eight (or nine?) varying and not entirely transparent stances on ethanol to help explain why “Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy” (to use but one example). All this to help explain why “conservatives correctly believe that it is important to defeat Barack Obama but unimportant that Romney be president”. Will then moves to other examples of Romney trying to have it both (or more) ways on other subjects, such as Social Security, Medicare, TARP, and the Ohio initiatives on public employee’s collective bargaining.
The last point had him waffling on the ballot measure preserving Ohio Governor John Kasich’s ability to deal with the unions in like manner to Scott Walker in Wisconsin. This was done – incredibly – while attending a rally for its passage in a special election, after expressing support earlier (which was why he was invited to the rally in the first place, to help buck up the morale of the phone bank workers). He told the rally that now he had no stance on the issue and that “citizens of states should be able to make decisions . . . on their own”. This is after his support of a New Hampshire right-to-work bill some three months before. After catching flak for the turn-around, the next day he came out for it “110 percent”. (That last over-the-top cliché could well be the modern replacement for George McGovern’s “1000 percent” support of his doomed vice-presidential running mate Thomas Eagleton in 1972, just days before McGovern dumped him.)
Will concludes, in speaking of Romney, “Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?”
As an added fillip, Erick Erickson of Redstate.com weighs in with his story on the leak of Will’s column a few days before, such as the quote from Professor William Mayer of Northeastern: “After studying Presidential nominations for 30 years, I’ve never seen somebody who has so completely renounced his past record when he decided to run for President.” Erickson then goes on to provide a valuable tool on the subject in the form of eleven pages of Romney flip-flops (a partial list) that the McCain campaign compiled in 2008, adding “The most striking thing to me is that some of Mitt Romney’s positions have flipped again for 2012.”