Jenkins: Romney's new liberal playbook

September 13, 2012 

Anyone who watched Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention could have, or should have, anyway, predicted that although the former Massachusetts governor was walking tall on a rough-and-tough tea party carpet during his primary campaign, he’d eventually come back to the polished liberal hardwood underneath.

I mean, really. As he watched New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tell the crowd what a big shot he was (“... and then I ... oh, let me mention there’s a guy named Romney running for president ... but anyway, what I did in New Jersey to balance the budget and then ...”) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduce him (“Now I have another inspiring story about me and ... oh, yeah, Mitt Romney is running for president ... but anyway, back to my remarkable career ...”) Romney looked, oh my.

He looked like a guy looks when he’s going in for dental surgery the next day. You know it’s going to be OK, but there’s just something about a guy with a blade in his hand.

So now, with Romney’s remarks in an interview that well sir, he might just keep some of Obamacare in place, the public is starting to get a glimpse of the hardwood. Oh, advisers immediately started backing up, but it was too late. Uh, oh.

Your correspondent, with deep ties to the conservative movement and so far to the right of Ann Coulter that she once called him the “mad dog of McDowell Street,” has uncovered the bitter truth from sources inside the Romney campaign. The health care thing was a slip. But Romney has other, carefully timed announcements coming that will set the tea partyers afire. We obtained this information in a legal fashion, and no, it was not provided by 2016 presidential aspirants Christie and Rubio. We did ask them, but neither acknowledged knowing Mitt Romney. We got the same reaction from running mate Paul Ryan, the tea party hero who is Romney’s running mate.

Herewith the schedule of surprise announcements.

On Oct. 3, the date of the first presidential debate, which will focus on domestic policy, Romney is going to announce that he is entirely in favor of keeping Medicare and Social Security as they are, and instituting a surcharge on the incomes of the wealthy to make the entitlements solvent.

“Whatever it takes, 20, 30 or 40 percent,” is in the working notes for this session.

And, the former governor says he’ll start a program that will provide a free college education for all graduating, qualified high school students, and graduate school for all who desire it. It will be paid for by...well, he’s not worrying about that right now. (See? Practically Democratic!)

And speaking of taxes, after the first debate, Romney’s team will announce a revision of the tax code where a new graduated system of taxation will go into place with the top earners at a 95 percent rate.

At least, that’s the plan as given to us by Gov. Christie .. .er, I mean, by an anonymous source.

The former governor also is planning new spending programs in anticipation of all the additional tax revenue coming in, with billions to be spent on mass transit to curb pollution of the environment, and the installation of vehicle mileage rules that will have the minimum requirement for any passenger vehicle up to 112 miles per gallon by 2020.

And Romney is planning a worldwide initiative on global warming, which he’ll recognize with an executive order as government policy.

“I’m back to Massachusetts Mitt, baby,” Romney was overheard to tell one adviser during preparation of these initiatives. “We’re going to be clean, green and pristine.”

Well, we told you so. We and other conservatives tried to warn Republicans long ago that Romney couldn’t rub elbows up on Beacon Hill with John Kerry and the Kennedys all those years without it having an effect. We warned fellow Republicans that the guy was all for the kind of health care he supported in Massachusetts, and we long suspected he had personal compassion even when he was making gazillions at that investment firm. He’s made charitable contributions we probably don’t even know about!

We’re moving to western Canada, where we understand there are pockets of conservatism. Besides, we hear that, under an assumed name, Paul Ryan is already there.

Deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins can be reached at 919-829-4513 or at jjenkins@newsobserver.com.

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