Friday, June 22, 2012
Romney Demonstrates Political Cowardice
It now looks like he is trying something new. Instead of taking a position on an issue (which he might have to flip-flop on a few days later), he's avoiding any position at all (maybe hoping people on both sides of the issue will assume he agrees with them). A perfect example of this particular brand of political cowardice is the immigration issue.
President Obama recently announced a new administration position on immigration -- that he would no longer deport young people brought to this country before their 16th birthday, as long as they had stayed out of trouble, and either done well academically or served in the U.S. military. Since that announcement, many in the media (and those on both sides of that issue) have wanted Romney to say whether he would continue that policy or do away with it.
Both right-wingers and Hispanics had hoped Romney would finally reveal his position on this issue when he spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials yesterday. They had to be disappointed though, because all he did was duck the issue one more time. Instead of answering the question on everyone's mind, Romney just said:
Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.
As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution. I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner.
That's not an answer. His promise to find a "solution" once he is president, without giving any specifics about what he would like to see in that solution, is simply an effort to dodge the question -- and it's not likely to make those on either side of the issue very happy. He took the coward's way out by refusing to answer the question.
I can understand why he doesn't want to answer the question, or to take an unequivocal stand on this issue. He's between a rock and a hard place, and taking a stand either way will cost him votes. If he backs the position the president has taken, he will anger the teabagger base of the Republican Party -- and he's already having trouble solidifying that base behind his candidacy (with many of them threatening to stay home on election day). He needs these base voters to get on board and enthusiastically go to vote on election day, or he will lose.
But he needs more than those base voters, and if he takes a position against what the president has done then he could lose support among the general public. After all, 64% of the American people support what the president did (according to a recent Bloomberg Poll), and many of those people are Independents -- who Romney needs if he is to have a chance of winning.
While I understand his political cowardice, I don't believe it is a winning position. Most Americans expect their candidates to know what they believe and not be afraid to explain that belief. They don't like timidity or cowardice, and won't vote for a candidate who displays either. Romney needs to take a stand on this issue (and others). People are starting to wonder if Romney has any real political beliefs (other than to give the rich more tax cuts). But that would require some fortitude -- and Romney doesn't seem to have much of that.