Strasser: I'm not entirely sure which side you're on.
Renault: I have no conviction, if that's what you mean. I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy.
Strasser: And if it should change?
Renault: Well, surely the Reich doesn't permit that possibility. (Casablanca, 1943).
A basic misunderstanding is afoot in the nation. It is fueled by the media who have decided that its next political game to entertain themselves and the country (and thus maintain their ratings) is to determine what Mitt Romney really believes, or at least what Romney will do as president.
It all works to Romney's advantage because it allows those so inclined to attribute to Romney their own views, assuming that those represent the real Romney.
But, Mitt Romney is irrelevant. It is virtually certain that, if Romney were to win the White House, the Republicans would maintain control of the House and tip the Senate. As Republicans in the states have shown, gaining power does not temper their zeal to impose their harsh, right-wing agenda on the country, even if that agenda, which they pretended did not exist during the election campaign, is opposed by large majorities of the American people. Indeed, they have taken license to ignore their claimed priorities so they can turn back the clock half a century, or an entire century, on the political, social and economic consensus that had developed.
What Mitt Romney thinks is, therefore, completely irrelevant. The right-wing Congress will pass the Ryan budget -- anyone believe a President Romney would veto it? It will pass the Blunt-Rubio amendment -- would Romney veto it? It will definitely repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and Dodd-Frank. Romney is not going veto any of those repeals.
Diane Sawyer, and the rest of the media, does not get it. For example, Sawyer asked Romney whether he would repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Romney hemmed-and-hawed but basically said he did not want to go back and upset the applecart.
The questions Diane Sawyer, and other media poobahs, should be asking Romney are more properly framed like this: If a Republican Congress presents you with a repeal of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, will you veto it? If a Republican Congress repeals the National Labor Relations Act, will you veto it? If a Republican Congress repeals the act establishing the Environmental Protection Agency, will you veto it? If a Republican Congress repeals the law that brought tobacco products under the regulatory authority of the FDA, would you veto it? If a Republican Congress repeals Title X (Family Planning Program), would you veto it?
Oh, you say, the Republicans will not get to 60 votes in the Senate, and thus the minority Democrats will filibuster these draconian laws.
Does anyone believe that, if the right-wing takes the House and Senate, and has Romney perched in the White House, that the filibuster rule will survive? That the Koch boys and their fellow travelers will tolerate a silly little technicality like the filibuster to stand in their way of a total ring-wing takeover?
These people are out to remake America in their own image, to line their own pockets, to defund and dismantle the sources of peoples' power, and to rig the system so that they cannot be defeated. It is a set of policies that follows the prescription for a failed nation as described in Why Nations Fail.
It is, therefore, far more instructive to consider what Jim DeMint (R-SC) would do if he had power -- as he will under a Republican sweep -- than to figure out what Mitt really might think about something.
Karl Rove's dream is to create a "permanent Republican majority." But a true right-wing majority does not exist, it is not even close. But, if they employ the "big lie," if the 99% has been weakened and its sources of organizational capacity destroyed, and if the total vote is small enough, they may be able to achieve it. See a five-year-old, more detailed analysis here that is just as true today as it was then.
There is only one thing important to know about Mitt Romney, and we already know it. He has no deep convictions. About that, there is no question. Without convictions, he is not going to step in front of the machine that brought him the White House, his cherished dream, and say "no."
Why would he?
When one looks at Mitt Romney, and imagines him in the White House, think instead "Jim DeMint." He will be the legislative power behind the throne, just as Deng-Xiaoping ruled China as Vice-Premier.
Moreover, even if Romney mustered a conviction or two, we know one more thing about him. Mitt Romney is no hero.
Follow Paul Abrams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pabrams2001