“You said that, first, we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends, which means not only were you wrong, but you were also confusing in sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies.”
– President Barack Obama, talking to Gov. Mitt Romney at the third presidential debate, October 22, 2012
We have a Commander in Chief, and his name is Barack Obama. He successfully made the point that if Mitt Romney carries his knack for shuffling his positions into the realm of foreign policy, it will be a disaster for the United States’ standing in the world. Unless, of course, like a third world despot, Romney is telling us one thing and telling the rest of the world something entirely different.
On MSNBC, former 2008 McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt appeared relieved and happy as he declared, “Mitt Romney came across as reasonable, thoughtful, serious, presidential.” When challenged on the position changes, Mitt’s new, heavy lean to the center, Schmidt was unapologetic. Calling the move “a reset to a more traditional Republican style of foreign policy,” the GOP operative added that President Obama, “was unable to conceal his exasperation with Mitt Romney as he was pondering his previous positions,” and how those had changed.
When host Rachel Maddow described how Romney had changed his opinion of the date of the Afghanistan withdrawal, Schmidt didn’t see the position shift as a negative for the Republican nominee. “The Romney campaign has made a political calculation, and I suspect that they are right, there will not be a political price to pay for his flexibility on these issue changes,” he admitted.
“Flexibility” is a good euphemism, full of understatement and with an implication of reasonableness, but Romney is not so much Gumby as he is a man with a Hula Hoop, positions spinning around his waist, circling back around when convenient, shifting his narrow hips here and there, in such a way that his entire campaign won’t come crashing to his feet.
In doing so, of course, he has sent his neo-con base twirling dizzily on a Sit ‘n’ Spin. If you throw in an Etch-a-Sketch, and a Battleship game, he could occupy an entire shelf in a kid’s bedroom from the early 1960s.
Speaking of the early 1960s, they called, and told Mitt they want their stiffness back.