Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney the Candid-ate

Linked above is the playlist of MotherJones videos on YouTube. The first five or so are from Mitt Romney's May 2012 address to wealthy donors in Boca Raton, FL.

I'm not going to editorialize these leaked Romney vids from the Boca Raton fundraiser. My sympathies in this election are clear. However, these newly released videos are still fascinating for at least two non-partisan reasons:

1) This is probably the most candid you will ever hear a presidential candidate speaking. Romney is presumably addressing a roomful of wealthy supporters from whom he is soliciting campaign funds, and he is talking very bluntly about his perceptions of the shape of the race, the differences between him and Obama and what his campaign needs to address in order to win the race. I promise you he won't be bragging in a news interview any time soon about how they've hired professional campaign advisers who work in elections all over the world (and neither will Obama). I'm not surprised by anything Romney says in these videos, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of my conservative friends agree with him. This stuff is probably only really off-putting to the swing-voter--those 5-10% of Americans which Romney clearly outlines as who he has to win over to take the election.

2) Which brings me to my second point, that Romney's comments here about the targeted swing votes highlight a problem endemic to the two-party system. Our politics are unnecessarily polarized and force otherwise reasonable people into defending black-and-white reductions of the incredibly complex issues facing a country as large as the United States of America. Nobody likes it, but Romney is merely pointing out the uncomfortable truth of the contemporary American presidential election: most people have made up their minds before the candidates are even picked--all that matters is those 5-10% who might vote either way.

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