At some point, Mitt Romney will have to stop hurling lying epithets at President Obama, and tell the American people what he is going to do as president.
Mitt Romney has committed himself to the following Tea Party/Far Right Conservative policies:
1. Never to raise taxes on anyone for any reason.
2. To reject a $10 spending reduction in exchange for a $1 tax increase.
3. To approve a personhood amendment that would ban most contraceptives.
4. To the Blunt-Rubio Amendment that gives employers the right to deny women insurance coverage for their contraceptives.
5. To the Ryan Budget that reduces non-defense discretionary spending from 12.5 percent to 3.5 percent of GDP, that cuts Medicaid, and that turns Medicare into a voucher program.
6. To repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank financial reform laws.
7. To repeal, if it still stands, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.
8. To oppose the Dream Act, immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, and to promote "self-deportation."
The "etch-a-sketch" comment about how Romney will become another person entirely for the general election has been universally panned as a gaffe, but it was clearly something the key strategists in the campaign had discussed -- and probably discussed at length, otherwise it would not have been uttered so glibly.
Romney realizes he cannot win a general election on the Tea Party/Far Right platform. Instead, in one of politics' never-ending ironies, Romney will use his phoniness and known lack of principle to his advantage -- he will start making utterances so that people who believe that, deep down inside he is actually quite moderate to liberal, i.e., his mother's boy, will believe that he will not actually pursue those policies.
That is what we now call a "stealth" candidacy. Republicans used stealth candidacies in 2010 to win statehouses, state legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives. Claiming they were going to "create jobs," they instead launched all-out attacks on women's rights, labor unions, democracy itself, and, for good measure, cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Scott Walker (R-WI) just signed a bill ending equal pay for equal work in Wisconsin. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has eliminated elected officials, appointing dictators in their places, in Michigan.
That is, stealth candidacies worked.
The media will allow them to work again. They have already decided to let Romney off the hook. "Everybody runs to the center" will be their excuse, and "Romney only said these things to get the nomination". It is, to the media, just one big joke, part of the "game."
The question, therefore, is whether the Tea Party/conservatives will provide Romney the space to run a stealth candidacy so they can defeat the president. Can Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, et al. be muzzled, or told to focus entirely on their diatribes against the president and the Democrats, and leave poor little Mitt alone? Will Steve King (R-IA) go silent on immigration if Romney tries to resurrect some semblance of an appeal to Latinos? Will Paul Ryan (R-WI) remain silent if Romney starts fudging on Medicare and draconian budget cuts? Will the right-wing fringe groups put aspirin between their lips and remain silent when Romney moderates his stance on contraception and Planned Parenthood?
I suspect they will. Why? Because, for the most part, they did so for candidate McCain (R-AZ) whom they despised because of campaign finance reform.
Moreover, unlike John McCain (R-AZ), who retained a bit of his love for country above himself by dampening the racist rants against candidate Obama, Mitt Romney has never shown a shred of decency beyond his own self-interest. Thus, with $1 billion of Citizens United money in right-wing Super PACs, and Romney pleading "it is illegal for me to comment" as he did in the primaries, this will be the most racist, ugliest election since the Civil War.
Democrats will need to be very hard-hitting, reminding voters not only of Romney's commitments to these positions, but also the evidence, before their eyes, of what Republicans do when they actually take office.
The commitments Romney made will turn the U.S. into a third-world country. That is not a partisan observation. Those policies follow the script of failed nations, as described in a 15-year study, Why Nations Fail.
Because the hard right truth is this: If Romney defeats the president, the right-wing Republicans will retain the House and win the Senate. And, then, Romney's actual views will become largely irrelevant -- the Tea Party Congress will send him those bills, and Romney will sign them.
That is, if Romney wins, the next president of the United States will actually be Jim DeMint (R-SC). And, that is no exaggeration.
The U.S. will become a failed nation, with a large sector of impoverished masses, women as second-class citizens, and a ruling elite extracting from the rest of us to secure and extend their own power.
And, that is no exaggeration either.