Eugene Robinson neatly SETS THE STAGE for tomorrow night’s big debate:
Wednesday’s presidential debate promises sharp contrasts. One candidate wants to repeal Obamacare, one candidate invented it. One opposed the auto industry bailout, one takes credit for it. One doubts the scientific consensus about climate change, one believes in it. One wants to “voucherize” Medicare, one wants to save it. One dismisses nearly half of Americans as a bunch of moochers, and one claims to champion the struggling middle class.
It promises to be an epic clash: Mitt Romney vs. Mitt Romney. Oh, and President Obama will be there, too…
It seems to me that Romney’s prospects Wednesday night will depend heavily on his ability to explain why he has taken so many different positions on so many issues.
He was “effectively pro-choice” before he was staunchly antiabortion. He supported stricter gun control before he opposed it. He promises to cut everyone’s taxes while also reducing the deficit, but he won’t explain how.
Romney gives the impression of being willing to say anything he believes voters want to hear…
I believe Romney’s history of ideological flexibility explains why his “47 percent” remarks were so damaging. It’s not that his phrasing was inelegant, as the candidate and his surrogates maintain. It’s that Romney was speaking behind closed doors, among like-minded friends, and finally we could glimpse what he really believes. We could see what’s at his core — and it wasn’t a pretty sight.