Monday, November 19, 2012

Will the Real Mitt Romney and his True Supporters Please Stand Up

Talking with Henrietta - The Changing Face of America's Voters
Taped on November 8, 2012

With the November 2012 election over, the Republican Party is left to do considerable soul-searching. Many of the party’s leaders are going to great pains to explain why Mitt Romney lost his bid to be the nation’s president. But Romney is giving explanations that even his Republican colleagues, who supported his campaign, are taking the time to publicly disavow. 

If Romney had any sympathy as a loser, then he is quickly beginning to turn away even some of his ardent admirers. His latest comments attributing Pres. Obama’s re-election to “extraordinary financial gifts” that he gave to this country’s ethnic voters, is turning prominent members of his own party against him. If nothing else, he has made it all too clear that his earlier comments, claiming that 47 percent of the American population wanted government handouts, were not misinterpreted.

Before his latest comments about the “gifts” that were given, some political analysts speculated that the Massachusetts governor ran to the far right in order to defeat his very conservative opponents in the Republican primary and to gain the support of Evangelicals and Tea Party members. They said that he was far more moderate than he appeared in the early stages of his campaign and that he did not have enough time during the endgame with Pres. Obama to express moderate views that might have made him more appealing to the voters.

Well, the new statements Romney has made to some of his big donors to explain his defeat show that he is still keeping his moderate views under wraps.

I know that losing what one has put one’s heart, soul, dreams and millions and millions of dollars into can be a bitter pill, and accepting defeat can be particularly difficult, especially when a resounding victory seemed right around the corner.

But Romney’s fixation, with identifying and separating the groups in this country that he considers the givers from the takers, is giving observers like myself additional insight into who Romney really is.

Since his most recent statements about the gifts that were given are consistent with some of those he made from the beginning, it’s becoming more and more apparent that we’ve probably been seeing the real Romney all along.

Not only might we be seeing the real Romney, but his defeat and his repeated statements about giveaways might also be giving his fellow Republicans the freedom to express their real views.

Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal is now saying that the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive. According to Jindal, "You don't start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party," he said.

Even Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s daughter, is on record as saying that the Republican Party should wake up and that she will consider leaving the Republican Party if things don’t change.

 I don’t personally recall her saying anything like this during Romney’s campaign.

Well, there is nothing like a big loss to bring out what people might really think: those who’ve lost and those who supported the losers. It makes you wonder whether these new views are genuinely held or whether they simply reflect an opportunity that Romney's former supporters are taking to put more distance between themselves and their failed candidate.

One thing is for sure: Romney was, in fact, right in in his assessment that there was a coalition of voters who supported Obama. But there is obvious disagreement over the reasons these groups supported the president. See what my guests say about this new coalition in my latest Talking with Henrietta show, The Changing Face of America’s Voters, which is shown at the top of this blog post.