When I was a boy, our family would gather around the television set and watch a fixed routine of shows such as Milton Berle, “The Twilight Zone” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” One of our other favorites was “To Tell the Truth.” On that show, three people would claim to be the same person, and eventually one would stand up and admit to being the “real” special guest.
Somehow, watching candidate Mitt Romney, I’m trying to figure out which of the three Mitt Romneys he really is, since, depending on which one emerges this month, he may still be capable of winning in November. There’s no doubt that the national polls all show signs that his campaign is faltering, which is in large part due to the fact that his fellow Republicans, and President Obama, have done a good job of defining him.
The first Mitt Romney is one who’s well known to people in the political world. He was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, a very Democratic state. He won that office because the voters considered him to be a member of that dying breed, moderate Republicans. Massachusetts had a history of accepting moderate Republicans, having elected Edward Brooke to the U.S. Senate.
Despite all of Romney’s current denials, he was a very middle-of-the-road politician. He spearheaded the passage of the nation’s first comprehensive health care law, which looks and is very much like Obamacare. He posed with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy at the signing of that law. He was pro-choice and supported many progressive programs. Overall, he got high marks for getting things done.
Between the time he ended his service in the Bay State and when he decided to seek the presidency, Romney did some serious soul-searching. His father, George, was also a moderate Republican who failed to become his party’s candidate for president because the right wing ripped apart his candidacy. Then, like now, a middle-of-the-road Republican has no chance of getting to the White House.