Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

WASHINGTON — Poor Mitt Romney. I’m beginning to feel a bit sorry for the guy.

President Barack Obama steals his ideas and implements them, forcing Romney to denounce the very proposals he once supported. After all, you can’t seek the GOP nomination for the presidency unless you are prepared to bash the president with heaping doses of vitriol, right? You can’t be caught agreeing with a single idea that Obama — that radical socialist Kenyan Marxist — has ever had.

So Romney has once again had to distance himself from —well, from himself. On automobile industry bailouts, though, Romney’s contortions have been more convoluted and difficult than on health care reform because they required a triple-flip, a move that had to be hard on the joints of a middle-aged man. (Those moves should have been hard on his integrity, too, but he seems to have surrendered that for the duration of the campaign.)

Anyway, if you’re having trouble keeping up, here’s the story:  Once upon a time, Romney favored limited government support for an American automobile industry in crisis. Romney knows something about that business because his father, George, was a longtime automobile executive — and later a governor of Michigan.

So there was reason to listen to Romney the Younger when he wrote a Nov. 2008 newspaper essay proposing government help for Detroit but only through a tough-love approach; he insisted on labor concessions, a change in management and a bankruptcy that would cost the shareholders.

Obama, the rascal, thought that was a pretty good idea. Ever the pragmatist seeking plans that might actually work, the president picked up Romney’s basic outline. A man born in Detroit, as Romney was, might have claimed credit at the time.

He didn’t. Instead, he rushed to join GOP leaders who were denouncing Obama’s bailout of Detroit. “Government and union co-ownership: It would be as ineffective as it is un-American.,” Romney wrote in April 2009.

In fact, the approach has been a surprising success. The government-structured bankruptcies helped GM and Chrysler pave a road back to profitability for the first time in years. GM and Chrysler have repaid their loans, and the bailouts are now expected to cost taxpayers relatively little. (Ford didn’t require government assistance.)

So, what does the Romney campaign have to say now? “Romney had the idea first. You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted,” Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told The New York Times last week.

Geez. This is getting to be painful to watch.

It’s no wonder that so many big-name Republicans are worried about their putative front-runner. He is already saddled with Romneycare, his Massachusetts health care reform law which came complete with an individual mandate — the requirement that all citizens of the state buy insurance. The more desperately he tries to distinguish it from Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the more apparent his dissembling becomes.

Romney’s problem is a rather simple (if serious) one: He is a man of moderately conservative political instincts seeking office at a moment when his party has been taken over by hardright reactionaries. He cannot remake himself in their image.

That’s not just a problem for Romney but also for the entire Republican Party. If it abandons practical ideas simply because Obama has embraced them, the party will find itself pushed farther and farther to the margins of credibility. (Actually, it’s close to the fringes now.)

The auto industry bailouts, which started under President George W. Bush, were a risky move. Few expected GM and Chrysler to rebound as quickly as they have. Most experts thought the taxpayers would remain on the hook for countless billions.

But a deep recession, which threatened to decimate a linchpin of American manufacturing, called for creative measures to try to salvage jobs. They worked — saving not only GM and Chrysler but also countless ancillary businesses, from parts makers to restaurants that cater to workers.

Romney has not only surrendered the right to take credit for those measures but he has also fueled lingering questions about whether he has the essential quality necessary to make such bold moves: a backbone.

163 comments Add your comment

reebok

May 27th, 2011
10:16 am

Romney is a bright guy, but he clearly doesn’t stand for anything. It’s too bad…if he ran on his record as Governor of Mass I could easily vote for him. The best thing Prez Obama has going for him right now is the caliber of his political opponents.

Mike

May 27th, 2011
10:32 am

This is bull. The article is literally bull. Cynthia, you’re no journalist. You’re a propogandanista. Tell the truth. Other MSM sources are telling the truth. Even “Mother Jones” got this one right by saying that Romney is right on it.

Pres Obama eventually followed Romney’s plan. The government could have allocated those needed funds elsewhere and could have helped the economy in other ways. Now we have an auto industry that is “saved” but still isn’t as lean as it should be to compete.

You call it a success? Really? With millions of people still out of work? You’re jumped the gun… again.

Face it Cynthia, you’re guy is going down. President Obama will be a one-term president.

Gator Joe

May 27th, 2011
10:36 am

Cynthia,
The Republican presidential candidates, especially the extreme Right Wing among them, and those who support and would vote for them, are pathetic. I don’t feel sorry for them though, these hateful, bigoted, ignorant people deserve each other and the consequences of their actions, the rest of us do not.

stepper

May 27th, 2011
10:48 am

You need a career change and I would suggest a new occupation in the comedy field. You would have them rolling in the aisles with your routines. It’s obvious your wrinting is tainted with a vitriole against whites, republicans and the French now that you have a target. You constantly shill for Obama with blinkers on to his performance or stance on issues (which by the way is ever waffling). I would run out of space and short circuit the AJC website with the changes your own candidate has made since he declared as a candidate for President. Romney will probably be the GOP candidate based on his early run and ability to rally fundraisers and is entitled to change his opinion on issues as there is more clarity. My only remorse at this point in time is that Netanyahu can not come up with a US birth certificate so he can run against your waffler. There, is a real statesman and leader not afraid to take a stand.

resno2

May 27th, 2011
10:50 am

reebok… the ONLY thing obama has going for him is the caliber of his current political opponents. Well, that and his unlimited checkbook.

Susan

May 27th, 2011
10:54 am

Mitt Romney = the Trojan Horse candidate for insurance companies and invest banks.

What’s left of the middle class should be very afraid of this hollow suit.

mavsrcheap

May 27th, 2011
10:54 am

spin,spin,spin. She manages to get almost all the facts correct, but somehow comes to the conclusion that Romney is an unworthy flipper. I can’t imagine the teleprompter-in-chief coming up with good and original ideas on his own. The author is hoping against hope that the gun loving Republican primary voters will send Mitt into permanent retirement.

Rob

May 27th, 2011
10:58 am

What the author negates to mention is that Romney never wanted to bail out the auto-industry with the massive hand-outs they received. (Yeah, you can call them loans, but if you look at the math, they were more than that.) Romney called for a structured bankruptcy which would have allowed them to keep going. Obama only took up Romney’s plan after the BushObama give everyone money plan failed.

Shawny

May 27th, 2011
11:10 am

He was against the patriot act before he was for it. B.O. I mean.

Jack

May 27th, 2011
11:13 am

I’m one of those “pathetic, hateful, bigoted, ignorant” people who will vote for whoever is on the GOP ticket. I don’t care what color, religion, ethic background or gender… just as long as it helps defeat Obama or Clinton.

citizen

May 27th, 2011
11:13 am

If the Bilderberg Group, the shadow World Government, wants Mitt Romney as President, he’ll be elected. If they want Obama to stay in the White House, he’ll be re-elected. We live in a false self-governing republic. If we really are the power, then how come FEMA is running out of money to help United States citizens, but the IMF and G-8 just pledged $20 Billion to Egypt and other Arab countries? This is protection money for our friends in Israel.

joe

May 27th, 2011
11:17 am

Every dog has fleas at some point…but sounds like romney has finally found the Frontline Plus pills, (which kills fleas)…and correct political stand which kills the quazi-socialist positions he once minimally supported. If romney wins the GOP nod, will vote for him over our current marxist in chief…in fact, will vote for anyone over Obama.

More lies from CT

May 27th, 2011
11:21 am

Oh right CT, and the kooks on the left whispered sweet nothings about President Bush during his 8 years. Your double standards and hypocrisies have now reached crazytown, insane levels of madness.

Old White Lady

May 27th, 2011
11:24 am

“Obama — that radical socialist Kenyan Marxist” – can I quote you, Cynthia?

Miwees

May 27th, 2011
11:25 am

I dont understand why Romney will not just admit to having experimented with Socialism and knows first hand of its destructive nature? This would win him over many new supporters.

Who better to know about the failures of farleft insanity than someone who has tried it?

Alligator Bob

May 27th, 2011
11:25 am

Joe the Gator

The Democratic presidential candidate, especially the extreme Left Wing among them, and those who support and would vote for them, are pathetic. I don’t feel sorry for them though, these hateful, bigoted, ignorant people deserve each other and the consequences of their actions, the rest of us do not.

You see joe, we’ve already seen what your candidate can’t do …

Paul

May 27th, 2011
11:26 am

I love the smell of hopelessly smoldering wingnuts in the morning. Anyway, I always liked Romney before I really hated him. Here’s a concept – I’ll vote for the better person rather than the vapid moronic label on his/her sleeve. Speaking of health care, where was the outrage when Senator Chafee introduced a bill similar to Obamacare in 1993, and some fellow named Boehner did the same in 1999? Ohhhh – sorry, wrong party there.

wag

May 27th, 2011
11:29 am

will the real obama please stand up? I can not believe people still support that spineless, Israel hating socialist.

straitroad

May 27th, 2011
11:40 am

I doubt Romney will lose any sleep due to your sympathy. Cynthia, you need to study the U.S. Constitution. It really doesn’t matter if BarryCare and the health care law in Mass are exactly identical. One law is a state issue and the other is federal. You are either completely delusional and irrational or you write nonsense like this to generate mouse clicks. I hope it’s the latter because it’s hard to understand how someone can be that stupid and still function on a day to day basis.

John Daly

May 27th, 2011
11:50 am

Let’s see, Obama promised to support Israel, supporting secure borders and an undivided capital in Jerusalem. He was going to close Gitmo. He was against much of the Patriot Act (FISA). He promised to accept public campaign financing. He was going to try terrorists in civilian courts, we were going to be out of Afghanistan, we were going to be in Libya days, not weeks, we were going to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bush tax cuts were going to expire, he was going to have a “laser-like focus on jobs”, he said mental distress of teh mother was not grounds for an abortion…

Wow, who’s flip-flopping?

Tommy Maddox

May 27th, 2011
11:51 am

Will the real Pres. Obama grow a spine? How’s about tell the truth for once?

Oh well, the mean season is coming…

David

May 27th, 2011
11:52 am

Romney’s platform: “I was for it before Obama was for it (no matter what “it” is), but now that he’s for it, I’m not for it. Is that clear?”

[...] Posted by atlmalcontent The pro-choice, pro-civil union, pro-public option former governor of Massachusetts actually supported the auto bailout before he was against it. Now he’s once again claiming credit for coming up with the idea. [...]

Tommy Maddox

May 27th, 2011
11:57 am

Oh, and not that I wouldn’t prefer someone else, but he’ll probably be our next President so enjoy.

Laughing aloud

May 27th, 2011
11:59 am

I am enjoying watch Romney twist in the wind. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. But it doesn’t bode well for his party in 2012.

Tommy Maddox

May 27th, 2011
12:00 pm

Miwees @ 11:25 – He’d get a bazillion more votes if he’d do that.

Gm

May 27th, 2011
12:01 pm

Mike

There are not enough idiots like you to take him down: How about all the jobs Obama saved, auto workers , suppliers, law enforcers, teachers.
Put Obama record when he came in to office against any of the nut jobs on right and he is going to wipe the floor with them

Tommy Maddox

May 27th, 2011
12:02 pm

Gm – you mean all the union workers he saved?

Joe

May 27th, 2011
12:04 pm

In 2012 voters will make a choice. Do we want to continue down a far left path that has government in every aspect of our lives or do want to right the ship and have limited government. Tucker of course being the far left loon that she is will be bashing anyone who might become the front runner for the GOP from now until election time. Of course since Tucker is so far left she distorted Romney’s stance on helping car companies. He wanted them to go through bankruptcy just like you and I would if we couldn’t pay our bills. Obama showered them with billions and no! They haven’t even come close to paying all back as Ms. Tucker so dishonestly stated. The unions are still there and the pensions have become fatter. Nothing has changed. Sure tax payers kept these companies afloat for a few more years but as Romney advocated they need restructuring. That didn’t happen. After Obama’s failed Presidency is mercifully over they will certainly fail again and come with their hands out wanting more tax dollars…..

I guess your just a part timer now Tucker since you only spew your venom weekly now instead of daily. LOL… I miss those daily laughs.. You left wings nuts are funny….

James

May 27th, 2011
12:10 pm

As for Romney, he will probably win the nomination and he would be the best candidate against Obama. It would actually get a intelligent discussion underway that would involve the American populace. I do not think that any candidate on the extremes of either party would be good as president. A balance would be best and information and experience and circumstances should lead to changes in policy. Policy and government are not the same as eternal truths and it is dangerous when people treat them as if they were mandated directly from God. Bachmann types freak me out, but so does the Huffington Post. Extremes=bias, propaganda, and divisiveness. I see Obama and Romney as both being talented and intelligent and I would love to see them in debates.

Gm

May 27th, 2011
12:10 pm

Jack

Amazing that the world loves our President, with his grace and class, Americans should be proud of this guy, but no, no, we still have the bigots and idiots of the right who is still mad because this smart man of color beat out the old, white, good old boy establishment , bigots still living in the 20th Century.
People around the world expects this from the frustrated southerner, Obama changed the course they are not use to, who cares what the sotherner hicks thinks, he did not win in the south anyway except for Florida where people are a little open minded.
So the Georigia hicks please continue to vote your good old boys in office year after year, this is why you are a bootom feeder state.

Senior Citizen Kane

May 27th, 2011
12:11 pm

So, in other words, Romney is a politician doing what politicians do. I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

Chi Town

May 27th, 2011
12:13 pm

Down with the white man!

Ivan

May 27th, 2011
12:15 pm

“Romney’s problem is a rather simple (if serious) one: He is a man of moderately conservative political instincts..”

I don’t think forcing the citizens to purchase something or pay a fee is very conservative. Romney is not a conservative, he is a Republican lost in the woods following the policies that caused the country to hit its financial problems to begin with. If Romney is on the ticket, it doesn’t matter who wins in Obama Vs. Romney.

Chris Thompson

May 27th, 2011
12:16 pm

Ms. Tucker’s research, as most (besides the Mother Jones article) evidences itself as shallow, in that it bases its conclusions on only a shallow understanding of what really occurred. Romney was for a managed bankruptcy, which idea Obama evetually co-opted. But, as Rob, above, pointed out, this was only after the administration had wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in order to avoid bankruptcy (which eventually resulted). It was this waste of taxpayer dollars, not the bankruptcy, that Romney later railed against. Ms. Tucker loosely used Romney’s later words, but applied them, incorrectly, to the wrong context. I can’t recall if Romney also criticized, but I, personally, was vehemently against, Obama’s positioning of his union buddies ahead of the secured creditors (bondholders), which went against 200 years of established contract and bankruptcy law. This last element also was not a part of Romney’s initial bankruptcy plan.

L.E.

May 27th, 2011
12:19 pm

We have seen what Obama has done for this country, now let’s try Romney. Mr. Romney may be better suited to results and Obama may be better suited as a spokesperson as he is a terrific speaker. I hope that Romney wins the presidency. Limited government interference, low taxes, and freedom of religion are all important to myself. I do think that Obama did his best and we can only go so far with him.

Concerned

May 27th, 2011
12:21 pm

WOW, You crawled out from under your racist rock to post this…..Darn If you had posted this before your champion Ed @ MSNBC took a vacation , Maybe you could have filled in for him….Can you say One Term CT…..

Troglodyke

May 27th, 2011
12:23 pm

I’m one of those “pathetic, hateful, bigoted, ignorant” people who will vote for whoever is on the GOP ticket. I don’t care what color, religion, ethic background or gender… just as long as it helps defeat Obama or Clinton.

This is so sad. It’s NO BETTER than spineless Dems voting for Obama or their candidates just because of the ticket. But I’ll bet you think you are better than them, don’t you?

Party-line voters are wimps. Educate yourself about the issues, hold the politicians accountable, and be INVOLVED. DEFEND their positions if you are going to vote for them. Or stay home on election day.

Do we want to continue down a far left path that has government in every aspect of our lives or do want to right the ship and have limited government.

I do not want the former, but you seem to think voting Obama out will automatically “right the ship.” You are deluded. The Republicans are no more fiscally conservative than Democrats now. Admit it. They want power so they can overturn abortion, limit the rights of gays, defund Planned Parenthood, and do more “Xtian social engineering.”

The Tea Party clamored for wins in November, screaming “the economy” as the reason, and what have their lackeys done? Only social engineering, Xtian-style. It’s a front.

Show me a candidate who stands for individual freedoms and actual fiscal accountability, and who will not become a pawn of the un-American religious Reich, and I will vote for thet candidate, regardless of the ticket.

That candidate does not exist in EITHER party.

Lee

May 27th, 2011
12:27 pm

Cynthia:

You’ve misunderstood a couple things.

1. Mitt Romney urged the administration in his famous NY Times Op-Ed to allow the auto industry to go into Bankruptcy proceedings which would allow restructuring and a more favorable positioning with respect to labor unions. You may have missed the memo, but that’s actually what happened. True, POTUS also gave them bailout funds before the bankruptcy, but Chrysler and GM’s recovery both would not have occurred but for the restructuring. There’s no flip here: this only shows that reporters don’t really know much about corporate finance and free markets. But in your defense, is Romney guilty of assuming that people like you will not understand what actually happened? Absolutely.

2. Chrysler’s huge success in paying off it’s loans is exaggerated. A huge portion of those loans were forgiven or converted into yet other loans. $4 billion of the $13 billion in bailout funds was forgiven in 2009; $3.5 billion from the bailout has merely been converted into another loan. So, tell me, what is it that POTUS has done that should impress tax payers so much?

3. Your lack of understanding of financial issues is underscored by your childish, ad hominem attacks on the Fmr. Governor.

gator24

May 27th, 2011
12:28 pm

I don’t understand this fascination with Republican Lawmakers by the American Voters, its clear if they had their way, medicare would be history and the American people would be wondering what happen. Its also clear if it wasn’t for the tarp funds, the president would never have gotten support from the congress to save GM and Chrysler. All the Republicans and some Democrats were hell bent on these two Automaker failing, then going through liquidation to end there firms. There thought was they would be replaced by non-union foreign automakers who are located throughout the south now.

Emmanuel Hall

May 27th, 2011
12:29 pm

Yeah, Mr. Romney once did proposed a limited bailout for the auto industry; however, seconds after President Obama embraced a similar, more progressive plan to save countless auto manufactoring jobs, Romney denounced the idea as a waste of taxpayer money. Hey, he’s on tape and every network, except Fox has played the Romeny flip flop. Ms. Tucker, the sane among us know that because of greed and power, the Republicans have sold their souls to “big business” and their class character and dignity to the tea party nuts.
I keep saying this and it is still true; we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Republican party as we now know it.

jeffrey

May 27th, 2011
12:31 pm

Romney won’t own up to it and the sheep will eventually let him off. We are talking about the right, which have shown to be hypocritical many times before.

granny godzilla

May 27th, 2011
12:32 pm

Oh look!

New post from Ms. Tucker and the same one or two guys with 8 or 10 names want to make the blog a cesspool.

Y’all underwhelm me.

On topic, I’m sure Mitt is a fine man, good husband and father, but
as President I believe he’d run right smack into the Peter Principle.

John Daly

May 27th, 2011
12:45 pm

Gm @12:10 Yeah, the world loves Obama. The British give him a code name that means “smart-aleck”, the French, of all people, tell him to grow a spine, I’m sure the Israelis love him. Who exactly is it that loves him? Oh yeah, the Chinese for his treatment of Boeing because more companies will be moving operations overseas, Iraq because he was too spineless to support the uprising there and he refuses to take any position against their nuclear program, the Russians because we backed down on our promise to provide a missile defense system to Europe, Brazil because he sends them a couple of billion to explore for oil while placing a moratorium on drilling in the U.S.

John Daly

May 27th, 2011
12:47 pm

And as to his “grace and class”? He sends back the bust of Winston Churchill that was given to us by the British, gives the Queen an iPod as a gift, doesn’t have the faintest idea of how to do a proper toast to the Queen, bows to the Saudis…….

[...] Cynthia Tucker reports on the current flip, automotive division. A nugget: So Romney has once again had to distance himself from —well, from himself. On automobile industry … [...]

Arlo

May 27th, 2011
12:50 pm

I can’t bear another 4 years of Obama… he may be a great speaker, but he whistles his “S” words & it drives me crazy!!!

John Daly

May 27th, 2011
12:53 pm

Gm at 12:01 — the most recent studies show that Obama did increase jobs – in the government sector but actually caused the loss of a million jobs in the private sector.

Jeff

May 27th, 2011
12:53 pm

So if he supports all the things your god Obama/Dems support, the why do you not support him? You are the female Jesse and Al. You are a shrill hypocrit that should be on msnbc.

John Daly

May 27th, 2011
12:55 pm

And, no, I don’t want Romney to be the GOP candidate. Or Palin, or Bachman, or Ron Paul, or Herman Cain.