Saturday, April 14, 2012

Will Romney's Insincerity Actually Help Him?

I don't always agree with Chris Hayes (or his guests), but I still find his show, Up With Chris Hayes, (Saturdays and Sundays 8-10 eastern on MSNBC), the single most informative news/opinion show on TV (here's my previous rave).

The show's tone is unabashedly liberal, but it's almost entirely free of spin and talking points. Discussion is substantive and respectful, and intelligent almost to a fault. I have to concentrate to follow, which makes me remember watching MacNeil/Lehrer Report as a kid. When was the last time news/opinion TV actually challenged well-educated, informed adults?

This morning Hayes offered an interesting mini-editorial:

"There is a tried and true trajectory for presidential candidates as they enter Act 2: the legendary pivot, wherein the candidate attempts to wriggle free from the idealogically charged positions he or she took during the primary in order to appeal to the base of the party...."

"Mitt Romney, if not a master of the pivot, is well practiced at it. In fact that's the entire rap on Mr. Etch-A-Sketch: that he's been on both sides of more or less every issue. At one level, this would seem to trap him as he enters the general. Since he already has a well-earned reputation as a habitual position changer; a finger-to-the-wind politician who alters his pronouncements based on what's politically expedient, he would seem to have less flexibility to do that now, as he enters the general election.

But it is possible that, ironically, Romney's now-legendary reputation for insincerity will actually help him in the general. If voters come to believe that all the terrible positions he's previously held were just insincere pandering.

They may think that once he's elected, he'll jettison all that nasty and govern as the genuine moderate they think he actually is."

Hayes says this is flat wrong (I myself suspect two words are all liberals and moderates need to consider to get past this hurdle: "Supreme Court").

Watch the video, below for the whole thing:

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Hayes referred to his recent radio interview with WNYC's Brian Lehrer (who is, incidentally, one of the most astute voices out there; I really enjoyed the interviews I did with him back in the Chowhound days). Check it out here.

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