At the 2006 RNC State Chairmen’s meeting, I had a conversation with a political editor for a leading conservative publication. We talked about the candidates and President Bush. This guy’s problem with President Bush and most of our candidates for President was that none of them have a vision and they all have fairly limited worldviews. When we came to Romney, he asked me what I thought. I responded, "I think Mitt Romney is a management consultant." And my friend started laughing. Once he calmed down he said, "That’s exactly right."
A Boston Globe article today drills down on precisely that point. Does Mitt Romney really believe anything, or is he just acting like a good management consultant or venture capitalist:
These moves may get him closer to the Republican nomination, but whether they reflect deep principles or merely a venture capitalist’s professional sense of what’s required to achieve his goal is already the defining question of the Romney campaign.
On a certain level, the point that this is making is that, for Mitt Romney, flip-flopping isn’t a strategy. It is his business model. It is his worldview. More from the Globe piece:
The venture capitalist may touch on these niceties from a distance, but his strength is having the detachment to spot obstacles to profitability that the CEO missed. This often includes cutting off less profitable arms of the company, and chopping pay and benefits. It also can lead to a healthier company, which, in turn, can provide more opportunities for both investors and employees.
What if Mitt Romney is the product? He "spots obstacles" to his advancement. What are these obstacles? His moderate views. So his response? "Cutting off less" conservative "arms of" the Mitt Romney brand and start acting like a conservative.
One of Romney’s strengths is his business background. But business isn’t politics. Could being the "Turnaround Artist" serve to emphasize his problem that he has "turned around" on nearly every issue from guns, to abortion, to gay rights, to taxes, to English langauge schooling, and likely more? As one Boston paper put it:
It’s all so confusing that it appears almost impossible to pick out the real Romney, which is bad news for the candidate. Voters like things, if not simple, then at least clear. The only clear thing in the Romney record is that he is a very successful businessman with aspirations to lead. But voters can be forgiven if they get the impression that issues are just minor details that get in the way of Romney’s ambition.