Mitt Romney comes off as fake. He seems like a man running from himself. When he speaks, he speaks in word strings designed to sound like something, while meaning nothing. He is running for President (for Pete's sake) and embracing whatever he thinks Republican primary voters want to hear at any given moment. It rings hollow and inauthentic.
To win the Republican nomination a candidate must win the Republican base--and the base is batshit crazy. They embrace a world view that began to take over the Republican Party with the campaign of Barry Goldwater and his merging of the extreme paranoid right wing fringe of Conservative politics with the neo-Confederate racism of the Dixiecrats. This is the foundation of the modern Republican Party and the so-called conservative movement.
Mitt Romney has been embracing this twisted political vision of America and that is why he seems fake, hollow and inauthentic. The modren Republican Party and conservative movement represent the kind of politics that Mitt's father, George Romney, spent his life fighting.
To embrace this modern Republican Party, Mitt Romney must distance himself from--and completely disrespect--his father. This must create a bit of moral difficulty --even for Mitt. Trying to avoid that difficulty strikes me as the root to his hollowness. And yet, he seems to be quite ready to repudiate everything his father ever stood for--if that is what it takes to be President.
The editorial above is from The Day of Connecticut back in November of 1966. News had just broken about an exchange of letters between Barry Goldwater and George Romney in the weeks following the epic FAIL of the 1964 Goldwater campaign. In his 12 paged letter (which was published in the New York Times) George Romney took issue with the way Barry Goldwater ran his campaign, the platform he allowed others to create, the people Goldwater embraced and the tactics he used to embrace them. Chief among Romney's critique was Goldwater's opposition to Civil Rights, but he also took issue with the idea that the extreme polarization of America's politics and parties was a good idea. George Romney's 1964 critique of wingnutopia is as true today as it was almost 50 years ago.
Here is a sample:
You were just about to take a position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act contrary to that of most elected Republicans in and out of Congress, and there were disturbing indications that your strategists proposed to make an all-out push for the Southern white segregationist vote and to attempt to exploit the so-called "white-backlash" in the North.The problem for Mitt Romney is that he has become the exact type of politician his father fought against, condemned and--I think it's fair to say--despised. Trying to pretend otherwise is why Mitt seems so fake all the time. He had a choice between the integrity of his father or the cowardliness of Goldwater and the modern conservative movement.
The [GOP convention] delegate's mail was beginning to contain much of what I'm sure you would regard as "extremist," "hate" literature backing you. A clear understanding of your position was needed, and I persisted. [snip]
In my personal view some of your comments in response to delegates' inquires, particularly on civil rights and extremists, raised more questions than they resolved. [snip]
I presented this memorandum [Romney's proposal on Civil Rights for the 1964 GOP campaign platform] in person and in writing to the entire platform committee ... that the platform pledge Federal, state, local and individual action to promote civil rights of all Americans. I also urged the repudiation of extremists who might attach themselves to the party or its candidates. My proposals were subsequently presented in written form to the Platform Committee in debate and were rejected. [snip]
With respect to the extremist amendment, as I said at the time:"With extremists of the right and left preaching and practicing hate and bearing false witness on the basis of guilt by association and circumstantial rationalization and with such extremists rising to positions of leadership in the Republican Party, we cannot recapture the respect of the nation and lead it to its necessary spiritual, moral, and political rebirth if we hide our heads in the sand and decline to even recognize in our platform that the nation is again beset by modern 'know nothings'." [snip]A leading Southern delegate in a private discussion with me, opposing my civil rights amendment after it was introduced but before it was offered, made it clear that there had been a platform deal that was a surrender to the Southern segregationists, contrary to the traditions of the party. And it appeared that there was a willingness to accept, perhaps even welcome, the support of irresponsible extremists [snip]
Serious as this weakness was, you could still have corrected it by speaking out clearly and unequivocally. Unfortunately, your acceptance speech moved in precisely the opposite direction, seeming to approve the platform as adopted and to throw down the gauntlet to those who dared suggest it could be improved. [snip]
Despite these developments, I still kept the door open for an endorsement of you. [snip]
I told you of a Southern delegate's revelation that a deal had been made on the platform's civil rights language which our Michigan amendments violated. I also urged you to recognize the need to overcome the effect of Governor Wallace's withdrawal and some Ku Klux Klan endorsements. [snip]
I did my best to point out the inconsistency between your personal record and public record, including the arbitrary rejection of my San Francisco amendment. [snip]
You asked me to let you have any suggestions... This I did in writing, urging a public statement by you ... that would include this key language:"The enduring solution must be a personal solution in the hearts and minds of individuals. That is why we must encourage civil rights actions by individuals, in families, in neighborhoods, and at the community and state levels of government."My extremism suggestion recommended this statement on your part:
"The rights of some must not be enjoyed by denying the rights of others. Neither can we permit states' rights at the expense of human rights. The basic principles of individual rights and states' rights are indivisible from individual responsibilities and states' responsibilities.""Extremism in defense of liberty is not a vice but I denounce political extremism, of the left or the right, based on duplicity, falsehood, fear, violence, and threats when they endanger liberty."
"A political extremist in my view is one who advocates overthrow or our Government through either peaceful or violent means; one who uses threats or violence or unlawful or immoral means to achieve political ends; or one who believes that the political end justifies the use any means, regardless of the effect on others."
George Romney deserved a better son.