If and when Mitt Romney secures the Republican presidential nomination, he will have moved so far to the right as to be unelectable. There are, at minimum, two positions he’ll need to alter immediately to have any chance of beating Barack Obama: his unequivocal support for Paul Ryan’s “Kill Medicare” plan, and his punitive, ridiculous, mean position on Hispanic immigration.
As a political chameleon, Mitt Romney has no peer. He flip-flops the way most people breathe, so much so that independent voters won’t necessarily hold a few more against him. After all, independents are no slouches themselves in the flexibility department. They love to bask in the glow of their civic “open-mindedness.” (No. I won’t go there today.)
But for Republican base voters, Paul Ryan walks on water and Mexicans are a Brown Menace, so Romney’s twin pirouettes, no matter how skillfully executed, are going to be problematic. Mitt can afford to let a few wingnuts rattle off his wagon, but not all of them. What to do?
The answer, I think, is to get personal. Romney can’t go all-out Kenyan or Birther on Obama, but he definitely needs to go Socialist, with perhaps just a hint of Muslim. The idea is to sprinkle enough boogeyman code words into his rhetoric to satisfy the hard right without coming across as a nasty kook.
Good Mitt, Bad Mitt. This should be fun to watch. Romney may be the Baryshnikov of flip-floppers, but he’s also a human gaffe machine.