Most judgments on the first presidential debate have hinged on superficial arguments rather than substance. This tendency to view the exploration of government policy as a sports event to be won or lost could cause one to miss things of greater importance.
In this regard, it was clear to me that Gov. Mitt Romney used the debate as a device to re-cast himself as a middle-of-the-road Republican.
This is an implausible image, given that most Republican members of Congress and their leaders are aligned with the Tea Party, and his running mate, Paul Ryan, is a Tea Party icon. In order to create the illusion of political transformation, Romney used the debate to distort, deny, or obfuscate virtually everything he promised or stood for over the past two years, as if history does not matter or the memory span of Americans is negligible.
- Romney vowed immediate repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act, but now he says much of it can be saved.
- Romney promised to turn Medicare into a voucher program, but now he says he would continue old Medicare as a competitive option.
- Romney promised he would increase military funding, but now he says everything is on the table.
- Romney characterized 47 percent of the population as takers, but now he’s inviting them to vote Republican.
Unchanging, however, is Romney’s intention to defund PBS and Planned Parenthood.
Mr. Romney is a political chameleon, willing to say anything and take any position to gain advantage
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