So the joke goes: after Mitt Romney speculated on why passenger jets didn’t have roll down windows this past week, Fox News released a survey of their viewers showing that 53% thought jets airplanes did have roll down windows.
I actually think that Mitt Romney is a decent man – a man who gives generously to charities and who has personally tried to help people he knew (aside from his attack on a fellow student at Cranbrook and subsequent amnesia about the event). His tenure as Governor of Massachusetts was marked by progressive policies on health care and education. In fact, 12 years ago he would have been the very definition of a “compassionate conservative”. I also think that his ambition to become President has overtaken the better angels of his nature and his transformation into the GOP nominee has caused him to lose that sense of decency. The Mitt Romney of 12 years ago would have been more in the tradition of the Rockefeller Republican and a light in the darkness that has become the Republican Party. To win the nomination he needed to win the base and recent surveys, not to mention the debates, have shown that Republican base to be increasingly older, whiter and markedly less informed by reality.
For example, Mitt’s most recent position on health care that Emergency Room treatment for uninsured people is adequate is a position he once called “socialist” and quite correctly called “fiscally irresponsible”. However, a majority of his base don’t care. Romney, once a champion of education, now doubts the science of climate change and evolution. Romney, once a supporter of women’s rights, now supports a platform that outlaws all abortions, some form of contraception and refuses to support equal pay for equal work.
It’s sad really… sad that a man would totally compromise his principles and intellect for political ambition, and sad that the Republican Party has de-compensated to an anti-science, anti-woman and anti-reality movement. Consider recent polls showing 30% to 50% of self-labeled, conservative Republicans believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that climate change is a hoax, that Obama is a secret Muslim and that he is not an American citizen. Perhaps Paul Ryan’s comment about the “stench” of Romney is referring to the remains of a once decent and intelligent man.