According to the Pew Research Center,
…35% of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28% with the Republican Party and 33% as independents.
So why is this race as close as it is? The Republican candidate has made lying the foundation of his campaign, as evidenced by his sudden shift to the center in Wednesday’s debate performance (emphasis on performance), where he threw out some policy ideas that were no where near what he has previously proposed. Here are some of the post-debate headlines:
President Obama had this to say about Romney:
“I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney,” Obama said, adding that the “real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”
Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, put it this way:
“It was a very vigorous performance, but one that was devoid of honesty.”
As Real Clear Politics pointed out:
“Romney’s willingness to remake himself one more time brought into sharp relief a central flaw of his candidacy: Having campaigned as a moderate when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, he veered sharply to the right to win the Republican presidential nomination. Now, with the election just weeks away and polls showing him falling behind in the swing states, he has decided that he needs once again to sound moderate, practical and terribly concerned about the middle class…”
Conservatives, for their part, are just thrilled that Romney had a successful showing in the first debate. They seem unconcerned that some of his last minute policy shifts fly in the face of established conservative policy; if Romney has to lie to the American people to be elected, well that’s fine with them, but it should be anything but fine with the rest of America. No one, not even his own party, knows for sure what this fake candidate would do once in office. Here are a few of Romney’s fuzzy new policy positions, from the New York Times:
Taxing the Wealthy
In the primary debates, Mitt Romney promised to cut taxes across the board, but on Wednesday night, he said that he would not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.
Mitt Romney has often spoken about the need for regulation, but in the primaries he often emphasized its excesses.
Mr. Romney attacked Newt Gingrich for not supporting Paul D. Ryan’s Medicare plan, but later attributed the idea to Bill Clinton’s chief of staff.
Mr. Romney has often struggled to find a balance between taking credit for his health care program in Massachusetts and arguing for the repeal of President Obama’s health care law.
Mr. Romney stressed his conservative credentials throughout the primaries, but in Wednesday’s debate, he attributed working with a Democratic legislature as a great experience.
(The Times has side-by-side video comparisons of Romney’s statements here)
Newt Gingrich said of his own debate with Romney, in January of this year:
“I’m standing next to a guy who is [giving] the most blatantly dishonest answers I can remember in any presidential race in — in my lifetime, I don’t know how you debate a person with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are just plain factually false.”
Consider for a moment how dishonest you have to be for Newt Gingrich to call you on it.
But that’s the crux of who Mitt Romney is: He has decided he wants to be President, make that- he’s Entitled to be President, and he will say anything, become anyone, that will please his current audience. Do Conservatives know he’s lying- of course they do; deceit has become a cornerstone of the GOP; but in case that doesn’t work (let’s face it, non-conservative voters are considerably more aware of facts than conservative voters) there’s the party’s concentrated efforts to deny the vote to those who don’t fall for the party’s lies.
Over the last couple of years, the Republican Party has used its’ state legislatures to throw up as many obstacles to voting as possible, with as many laws as possible. These and anti-choice laws have been the priorities for Republican politicians over education, jobs, and budget issues since the 2010 mid-term elections.
According to Mother Jones, “Since the start of 2011, more than 180 bills have been introduced in 41 states (and counting) that could make it harder for you to register to vote, prove that you’re eligible to vote, vote early, or vote by mail. In fact, the Brennan Center for Justice estimates that at least 5 million voters nationwide could be affected by these bills.”
New Mexico: “…the local Republican Party has apparently started training “poll challengers” for this election. A hidden camera caught Pat Morlen, the vice chair of the Sandoval County Republican Party, instructing volunteer “poll challengers” to demand photo ID and force legal voters to use provisional ballots.
Florida: “Less than a week before general election ballots are mailed to voters, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has sent another error-riddled list of potentially ineligible voters to county elections supervisors.
Out of more than 11 million registered voters, state officials started with a list of potential suspects of more than 180,000. Then they sent a list of 2,625 suspects to elections supervisors that was so flawed the supervisors put a stop to the purge effort.
It is no surprise that the state’s list of potentially ineligible voters is disproportionately filled with Democrats, Hispanics and African-Americans.” (Tampa Bay Times)
And as The Nation reported:
Nathan Sproul, the infamous voter suppression operative from 2004, accused of running an operation in several states that destroyed voter registration forms signed by Democrats, had been secretly paid by Republicans this year on another multimillion-dollar contract for voter registration in swing states.
Mr. Sproul has been used by Romney’s campaign “for signature gathering services during the primary”, and his company was recently fired by the Republican Party, only after more allegations of voter registration fraud became public.
America has seen what Mitt Romney really thinks, in his own words, speaking to some of the very donors he’ll be beholden to should he win in November. (You can view the video here.)
We know that Republicans (Including the current VP nominee Paul Ryan) made a pact on the night of Obama’s inauguration to block every effort he would make to fix the economy. (You can read direct quotes here.)
We know Republicans will make every effort to block the votes of non-Republican voters. (You can read a Harvard article on recent voter suppression here, and see the extent to which Republicans have gone here.)
So what exactly does it take to make voters angry enough to reject this party?
The Republican Party has become more akin to a Mafia crime family than a political entity; they flaunt their dishonesty openly with little repercussion from the American people; and they are now putting candidates out there who will look straight into a camera and boldly, without conscience or morality, lie to the voters in this country.
What has become more important than anything else to Republicans is winning- at any cost; and if they prevail in November: They will destroy the poor and the middle class, money will control this country the likes of which we have never seen before, environmental issues will begin an uncontrolled downward spiral, and religion will have more say in public policy than the will of the country’s citizens.
Has the President achieved his goals in this first term, no; but the reasons can be found in a Republican pattern of deceit, filibuster, and recalcitrance, even going so far as to deny their much loved “small businesses” a tax break because it would possibly create jobs.
If you take Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or any Republican candidate at their word, as they simply compound one lie with another, then you are complicit in the demise of an accountable Democracy, and the years of corporate governance that the Republican Mafia will bring down upon us.