The changing man
He has many factors in his favour. But to win the presidency Mitt Romney will have to reinvent himself once again—this time as a likeable, sympathetic guyChameleon-in-chief?
Mr Romney struggled in particular with the conservative base, who had misgivings about his inconsistent record. (His Mormonism, which is considered heretical by many evangelical Christians, may also have put off some religious voters.) Right-wing pundits dwelt on the fact that he had run for the Senate, and for governor of Massachusetts, promising not to limit access to abortion—but now claimed to be vehemently pro-life. By the same token, he had supported a regional cap-and-trade scheme to trim greenhouse-gas emissions in Massachusetts before renouncing it late in his governorship. He now says that the causes and extent of global warming are too uncertain to merit expensive efforts to fight it, especially in such grim economic times. Above all, he stoked suspicions on the right by championing health-care reforms in Massachusetts that served as the template for Barack Obama’s health-care law, before denouncing Obamacare as an affront to liberty that must be repealed.
In the end Mr Romney prevailed partly by adopting a series of positions designed to please right-wing primary voters. He unexpectedly unveiled a proposal for a whopping tax cut that the 59-point economic plan he released last year had mysteriously failed to mention. He also developed a fervent opposition to anything that smacked of compassion towards illegal immigrants, chastising both Mr Gingrich and Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, for their supposed lapses in that regard during debates among the Republican candidates. Mr Romney and his supporters also vastly outspent his rivals, blitzing them with vicious advertisements.
Read it at The Economist: