It's easy to forgive Romney for a complete about face in this week's debate with President Obama. After adopting an extreme tax reduction policy in the primaries, and waiting for Obama to criticize it first, he suddenly announced that he had never proposed such a thing at all.
Of course, he could have told viewers his new tax policy before Obama criticized the old one. But what's the fun of that? And if you can't win a debate without a little sandbagging and a sucker punch or two, then you're giving your opponent an unfair advantage.
When President Obama called Romney on his tectonic policy shift, Romney blithely told the President that “if you repeat something often enough, people will believe it,” but that didn't make it true.
This is, in turn, set the tone for the entire debate. Once he established that he could fluster Obama, all he had to do for the rest of the evening was say, “I never said that. You're misrepresenting me.” And because of the rules of the debate Jim Lehrer couldn't say, “but Governor Romney, didn't you propose exactly that in the primaries?”
Romney's strategy upset a lot of Democrats, especially when everyone who watched the debate decided Romney won. And, clearly, in the court of public opinion, he did. Even I have to admit, Obama looked like he was on the ropes, with his best punches denied him. The question is, did Romney really do anything wrong by completely reversing his opinion?
The strategy also emboldened right wing pastors across America to declare open war on Obama from their pulpits today, but that will have to wait until next week.
Some might argue Romney was merely following the example of Jesus. After all, at one point in his campaign Jesus said, “he who is not with me is against me.” (Matt 12:30) But elsewhere he said, “whoever is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9:50) So it sounds like Romney is only doing what Jesus would do.
Liberals might argue that conflicting aphorisms are not the same thing as lying about a previous policy proposal. But isn't that straining at gnats?
Let's look at Romney's record to see how much he wants to follow Jesus' example. He's reversed himself on abortion, health care, tax codes and just about every other policy. And he certainly certainly shares Jesus' views about the poor and needy.
Oh ye liberals, of little faith. What more could you possibly ask for? Granted there is not return policy on Presidents, and once you elect one you can't repent for four entire years. But if he's good enough to reverse position and win a debate, he's clearly good enough to be President.