It is crazy stuff like Fox personalities labeling the Obama fist bump a “terrorist fist jab” that drives right of center moderates like Charlie Crist, the late Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee away from the Republican party. It is a minor example, to be sure, but it was just more inflammatory rhetoric attacking Obama for something everyone knows is entirely innocent in nature. The conservative pounding Crist endured for hugging the president further demonstrates how unreasonable the right is.
Not only are real Republicans expected to assail the president over everything, no matter what, but being perceived as being respectful or not overtly hostile to him at every opportunity is a virtual death knell in the party. The route to fundraising millions and instant Republican celebrity is by treating the president in the most disrespectful way imaginable, in as public a way as possible. Screaming “you lie” at him during the state of the union is somehow acceptable behavior to these fanatics. Getting into his face and pointing your bony finger at him on the airport tarmac is ok now. Is there any wonder that centrists are abandoning the Republican party?
This is where I figuratively drive this post off into left field, over the ditch and through the woods on a bumpy ride down speculation lane. During the recent campaign I told many of my Mormon in laws that Mitt Romney made a huge mistake by continuing affiliation with the Republican party. Romney would have made a much more natural fit as a Democrat. After all, he had no problem etch a sketching his extreme right positions in the Republican primary to a very centrist point of view starting in the first general election debate. Romney may not have the core convictions of a center leftist, but he would have been more convincing trying to assume that role than he proved to be trying to act like a die hard right wing conservative.
I believe Romney could have played a role as a party switcher very well (he is one hell of a salesman so I think he could have been convincing) and he would have had much less difficulty in finding acceptance on the left than he did on the right. While conservative Christianists think Mormonism is a cult, lefties are more tolerant of different religious beliefs in their leaders.
In the recent speculation on the right as to why Romney lost, one reason they focus on is that he did not get as many white voters to the polls as McCain in 2008. I’m surprised Romney’s religious beliefs and how his religion was perceived by conservative evangelicals has not received scrutiny as a possible reason for that drop off in white voters. How many white right wing Christianists stayed home, believing that there was no Christian on either ticket. (Remember, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden are Catholic and many right wing loons believe Catholocism is anti-Christ just as much as they think Mormonism is. )
In my opinion a Romney party switch would have been best conducted following his defeat in the 2008 Republican primaries. He would have needed to hold his ambitions until the 2016 election, but Romney could have established his center left bonafides in preparation for that campaign.
Not that I think Romney actually has basic liberal beliefs mind you. He would have had to act the role. But he had to play a role in any event, because he doesn’t hold basic conservative beliefs either. Romney simply espouses what ever belief he thinks gives him more of an advantage at any given moment.
Admittedly this is just pointless speculation on my part. I have no way of proving the theory one way or the other. But I find the Romney switch theory interesting and plausible, even if my Mormon inlaws tried to guffaw me out of my chair when I proposed it to them. The more centrist Republicans are forced from an extremist party, and choose to continue public service as Democrats (keep your eye on Cristie for a comeback as a Democratic candidate for Governor) the more I wonder if my little Romney as a Democrat theory would have held water if put to the test.