Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why the Tea Party tolerates Etch-a-Sketch

Missing so far in October’s political commentary is an obvious question about Mitt Romney’s latest Etch-a-Sketch redrafting of his positions. (Just yesterday Romney “softened” his position on opposing abortions and repealing homeowner and charities tax deductions.)

Question: At what point will the Tea Party see Romney as just another RINO (Republican in Name Only)? At what point will the latest sketch drive out the hard Right wing of the Republican Party?

Romney’s campaign has obviously asked the same question ... and answered it. Indeed they probably answered it months ago. After all we first heard the Etch-a-Sketch analogy from the Romney campaign on the day Romney won enough primaries to ensure his nomination.

Might the Tea Party abandon Mitt?

Not to worry.

They’ve likely been clued in that this is the essential means to the end of taking over the White House. Rest assured, Tea Party, after the November victory, the sketch will change again and you will like what your see.

Meanwhile, the rest of us want in on the secret. What will we see if Mitt wins?

We know where to look for clues. Follow the money.

What was once said about the piper can now be said about the sketch artist. Whoever is paying the artist guides the pencil.

The problem for us outsider citizens is this:  while we know where to look to find out how much money (hundreds of millions) is going into the campaign, we don’t know who is giving it.

We have our Supreme Court to thank for our ignorance.

In fairness, the same “Citizens United” secrecy applies to the Obama campaign and its financial backing, but at least the president is consistent. Compared to Romney, the president paints in vivid, lasting oils, albeit they are smudged by the Republican opposition. To be sure, much of Obama’s artwork is bad.  Regarding war he paints in blood red and black boxes. His portrait of the environment is decidedly ungreen and is increasingly pitch black and oily surrounded by blank space.

A sobering concern is that the very same people may be paying both candidates. “Hedging” is the by-word for our times. PACs are really nothing more than arcane policy/financial hedge funds managed by political consultants.

So, to change images, will the Tea Party fall off the wildly swerving Romney wagon as the candidate lurches to the middle?

I doubt it. I think that Paul Ryan and friends have clued in their fellow travelers. So far the polls show that the Right has received the message and is holding on.

Finally, there’s this nasty part of Tea Party thinking that has nothing to do with Left, Right or Center. For reasons that reside in the conspiracy-obsessed heart of “birther” darkness, large portions of the Tea Party hate Barack Obama. He is “the other”  — and Romney isn’t. The visuals of television debates, far from hiding differences, only make them more apparent. They are visceral — beyond discussion and debate.

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