A few months back, I wrote that there are two traditional, companion conservative strategies for decades. One has been to take your opponent's best feature and try to turn it into a negative for them, while co-opting it as a positive for you. (I learned this years ago when a far-right friend would lambaste liberal views, while claiming that he was the "real" liberal.) The other, reverse strategy of this is that conservatives will take their own worst feature and try to paint it on others. (This is also known as the "I'm rubber, you're glue" scenario.)
We saw this latter over the weekend when one of Mitt Romney's top campaign advisors, Ed Gillespie, claimed with a straight face that "this president will say or do anything to keep the highest office in the land."
Okay, yes, that's bizarre, but then you do have to consider the source. Ed Gillespie is the same person who said on the same show that Mitt Romney had "retired retroactively" from Bain Capital. So, his "say anything" charge not only wasn't the most bizarre thing he's said during the campaign, it wasn't the most bizarre thing he said on the same program.
Then again, it's standard procedure with the Romney campaign. After all, another senior campaign advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, famously said, "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."
There you have it. While one of Mitt Romney's campaign advisors is taking Mr. Romney's worst feature (that of saying anything to get elected) and trying to paint his opponent with it, another of his advisors has already told you that this is precisely what Mitt Romney does -- and will do!
Hey, don't take my word for it. Take Mitt Romney's.
Pull up a chair, this will take a while...
1. "I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush." (October 25, 1994)
"The principles that Ronald Reagan espoused are as true today as they were when he I spoke them." (May 25, 2010)
2. "Many, many years ago, I had a dear close family relative who was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we cannot force our beliefs on others in that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that." (November 2, 2002)
"Roe v. Wade has gone too far." (June 25, 2007)
3. "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won't chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety." (September 24, 2002)
"I'm after the NRA's endorsement." (April 5, 2007)
4. "I think there is need for economic stimulus" (January 4, 2009)
"I have never supported the President's recovery act, all right, the stimulus, no time, nowhere, no how." (September 28, 2011)
5. "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life." (April 4, 2007)
"Any description of my being a hunter is an overstatement of capability." (April 10, 2007)
6. "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard." (October 29, 2002)
"Roe v. Wade continues to work its destructive logic throughout our society. This can't continue." ( May 10, 2007)
7. "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam." (May 2, 1994)
"I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there." (June 24, 2007)
8. "Well, that's what we did in Massachusetts, and that is, we put together an exchange, and the president's copying that idea. I'm glad to hear that." (June 24, 2009)
"Obamacare is bad news... and if I'm president of the United States I will repeal it." (October 18, 2011)
9. "I believe the world is getting warmer... I believe that humans contribute to that." (June 3, 2011)
"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." (Four months later. October 27, 2011)
10. "'I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation." (October 17, 1994)
"There's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs." (August 1, 2006)
11. "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose" (October 29, 2002)
"The right next step in the, in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see Roe v. Wade overturned" (December 16, 2007)
12. "TARP ought to be ended." (December 6, 2009)
"TARP got paid back and it kept the financial system from collapsing... It was the right thing to do." (January 28, 2010)
13. "I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life." (October 18, 2011)
"We hired a lawn, a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants that were working there." (Two minutes and 14 seconds later. October 18, 2011)
14. "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it." (October 25, 2004)
"I never really called myself pro-choice" (March 10, 2010)
15. "I'm not intending to, at this stage, sign a [no tax pledge] document which would prevent me from being able to look specifically at the revenue needs of the commonwealth" (March 27, 2002)
"I'm Mitt Romney. I'm proud to be the only major candidate for president to sign the tax pledge. The others have not. I signed the tax pledge because I want everyone to know where I stand." (October 5, 2007)
* * *
"I want everyone to know where I stand."
If only Mitt Romney would stop talking, maybe we'd have a chance to figure it out...
"I'd do anything. For you, dear, anything."
-- the Artful Dodger, from Oliver!