Has Mitt Romney closed the deal?

John Parisella explains why a Republican victory on Tuesday night is a real possibility

(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

When a presidential campaign comes down to talk about voter turnout, and the concentration on fewer than nine states in the Electoral College, you know it is a cliffhanger.

Barack Obama has all the advantages of incumbency, which history shows has its assets, but Mitt Romney is making his own victory a real possibility. A sluggish economy and a sense that little will improve under existing policies may lead America to choose a different path, just four years after making that very consideration.

Mitt Romney has had a good month of October.  His debate performance on Oct. 3 against a lackluster President Obama will ultimately have the effect of a knockout win in history, should he triumph Nov. 6.  Was it that he was so good in the exchange, or was Obama so bad? Obama has rebounded since and Hurricane Sandy seems to show his steady hand and experience, but Romney has stayed the course.  He is a serious challenger and the national polls attest to that.

When one looks at the Romney of the primary season and the “moderate Mitt” of October, we see two different candidates.  It is, as one of his close advisers said, an “etch a sketch” transformation.  He veered to the center without much challenge from Obama in the first debate, and nearly parroted Obama’s positions in national security during the third debate on Oct. 22.  The effect has been to place the strident Republican Party voice of recent years in the background, and present an image of a competent, successful, and strong family man able to take on the most important challenges of the leader of the free world.  It may actually work.

It is somewhat ironic that the Romney of moderate Massachusetts governor days had to hide during primary season and be replaced by the Romney of Bain Capital days, and the Romney of flip- flopping fame over such core issues as abortion rights, healthcare, and gun laws only to see a semblance of the former Massachusetts governor resurface in the closing days of the campaign.  There is now talk of his record in job creation in Massachusetts.  There is also repeated mention of his positive relations with a Democratic controlled Assembly in Massachusetts.  The only thing missing is saying that Romneycare would become his national healthcare program.  Oh! That would be Obamacare!

When one takes a closer look at his policies, however, we see greater consistency with the Romney of the primary season.  On cultural issues such as abortion rights, he has indicated his intent to appoint judges that would likely overturn Roe v. Wade.  He remains adamantly opposed to gay marriage, and remained ambiguous about Obama’s policy about DADT and gays in the military. The tone and style has changed, but the essence of where he wishes to take America has not.

On deficit, debt and tax matters, he may refer to the Simpson-Bowles Commission and how Obama failed to endorse it, but his running mate Paul Ryan also voted against it.  He endorsed the pledge against any new taxes as did his GOP opponents in the primaries. To be fair, he promises to change the tax code, which could produce more revenue, but fails to be specific about which tax deductions he would eliminate. The Bush tax cuts set to expire this year would remain in place. There is not much change from Bush era economic policies.

As he repeated in the last debate, he intends to increase military spending which should  appease neo-conservative supporters and advisers such as noted neocon and former UN Ambassador John Bolton.  When Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush left office, however, the very policies of tax cuts and higher defence spending had led to the greatest deficits in U.S. history. In fact, the majority portion of the current U.S. deficit can be attributed to the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unfinanced universal drug prescription program.

The strongest argument for a Romney presidency may well be the fact he may be in a better position to deal with a Republican Congress. With the so-called fiscal cliff on the horizon, this may represent a distinct advantage for Romney and independent voters.

Romney may well win this election, but there is no doubt his victory would represent an important change in direction for the nation in economics, cultural, and national security areas. He may even break the partisan gridlock in Congress. A victory by Romney, however, will clearly lead many to ask:  which is the real Romney, and which one will America get after Nov. 6?  That has been the consistent question that has dogged him since day one  of his candidacy, and makes one wonder whether he has successfully closed the deal.




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Has Mitt Romney closed the deal?

  1. A question mark following a headline is usually a prime indicator of a BS opinion article posing as a “news” article. Just like “some people say” as a BS defense for a controversial statement or “If anyone was offended” as a BS pseudo apology.

    As to the argument that Romney would be best placed to deal with the Teabagger congress, why induge them in their idiocy? The US electorate should reward them for their intransigence, lack of respect, ignorance and anti-social policies and attitudes. That is tantamount to acquiescing to extortion.

    • “teabaggers”
      “intransigence, lack of respect, ignorance and anti-social policies and attitudes”

      You have an unhealthy attitude towards democracy. The tea party has none of those qualities, but it appears that you do.

      • Let’s hope more Canadian Tea Baggers come out of the closet…

        • Nobody’s stopping you from sucking on your partner’s scrotum. I’m sure he likes it.

    • “Induge,” lol

  2. MITT ROMNEY EXPOSED! Romney’s secrecy in business is detailed, and revealed; as well as his role as a drug money launderer for GHW Bush; his connection, through Bush, to CIA death squads in Central America; his role in 9-11; in the murder of US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens; and the significance of his endorsement of and by Cheney. Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9QA5B6U86s

  3. I hope Romney wins. He is certain destroy the economy and double the deficit with reckless austerity measures and tax cuts for the rich. Just what America needs: let the free-market ideologues have their shot and completely blow it.

    Last time this happened in the early 1930s. Free-market “liquidationists” caused the Great Depression with a number of boneheaded moves and their ideology was relegated to the lunatic fringe for 50 years. (Until the 1980s when Reagan revived it…)

    So here’s to a Romney/Ryan White House and a Ron Paul Federal Reserve! Microwave some popcorn, pull up a chair and watch the colossal disaster unfold…

  4. Question to John Parisella…

    Anyone who reads this site regularly knows you are voting for Obama (actually, your twitter feed is an even more clear indication), if you are in fact eligible to vote.

    My question is:

    Are you voting for Obama for revenge?

    Or because you are afraid that the scary black people will find you if you vote for Romney?

    • Those who support Obama should spend some time in Greece or Spain to get an early taste of what’s coming. And also spend time in China to have a taste of a regime that will control USA.

      • Other European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and France would also be good places to visit for that early taste.

      • Amzingly enough, Obama polls way ahead of Romeny in all those countries. It’s almost as if Americans are absurd.

        • An American observer/commentator being interviewed on CBC within the last few days – might have been Howard Dean, so take that FWIW – mentioned that Romney is favoured in Pakistan.

    • Geez John. I always appreciate your sensible-cranky-conservative take on things. But you’ve jumped the shark here, my friend. You’d be all over any such liberal BS spin on innocuous or out of context, cherry picked ‘bon mots’. And rightly so. Spit out that FOX kool aid, keep ranting, but don’t surrender your skepticism.

      • I’m on board with the general thought behind your reply, but still, revenge was an odd choice of word, no?

        • An awkward rendering of the “living well (or success) is the best revenge” saying, to be sure. But the sentiment – in context – was wholly about shelving the boos and antipathy, and voting for one’s preferred candidate instead. Anyone listening to the clip would realize that. Only desperate FOX loons would attempt to escalate it beyond the level of poor wording. It reminds me a bit of the commenters around here who tried to imply Scott Reid was being literal in his argument that folks should ‘kill’ their opponents in the political arena when the opportunity presents itself. To take umbrage at hyperbole is one thing. To disingenuously decontextualize it and use it to to suggest sinister motives on the part of the speaker is either astoundingly stupid or crassly dishonest.

          • Awkward for sure, and a saying that I’d say is used somewhat uncommonly.

            I’m in favour of taking umbrage at hyperbole, regardless of where it comes from – it adds nothing and distracts from the issues at hand.

            I’m convinced that most politicians and all spin doctors are crassly dishonest when they suggest the sinister motives, while the populace in general has large measures of both ‘reasons’ – the existance of spin doctors is the main reason I support significant cuts to the amount of money that political parties have at their disposal.

            And what about Maher – has he lost it? (Maybe he never had it…also possible.)

            [Edit] And btw, isn’t ‘astoundingly stupid’ a bit hyperbolic? ;-)

          • “was wholly about shelving the boos and antipathy, and voting for one’s
            preferred candidate instead. Anyone listening to the clip would realize
            that”

            ha ha ha ha. You must be joking. There is absolutely nothing, nothing whatsoever, to suggest that.
            And to be defending a hack like Scott Reid? You call that hyperbole when he’s being honest? The guy is the worst hack in journalism, with the possible exception of Heather Mallick. It’s not just his “kill him dead” comment, the guy has a long history of derisive garbage. He does exactly what you appear to decry, he demonizes his opponents, and he does it on a regular basis. Puhleaze. You are such a hypocrite.

      • Fox cool aid?

        First, let’s deal with the Maher comment. I’m sure you’ll agree that kind of disgustingness speaks for itself. Remember that one next time you bring up Ann Coulter’s next stupid remark (which probably isn’t far away).

        Now the revenge comments. Obama has taken heat for the revenge comment at USA Today, Politico, RealClearPolitics, CBS news, and Reuters among others, none of which are friendly to Romney. I won’t link to them, you can easily google Obama vote revenge and find this all over the place, so don’t think this is just a Fox thing.

        Now…you want to talk about Fox cool aid? Let’s look at the sweetness (or bitterness) of the drink being served up at Fox’s competitors.

        Andrea Mitchell at NBC tried to slam Romney for collecting donations for Sandy relief. Seriously. Watch the clip. It’s astonishing. She doesn’t even seem comfortable doing it. But she launches ahead with it anyways.

        Go ahead Sean. You can poke fun about FOX all you want. But if this is the kind of source you think is more mainstream and credible…fill your boots man. You will never in 100 years see something like that on Fox.

        What you will see there is Benghazi coverage. Check out Jennifer Griffin, Catherine Herridge, and Bret Baier’s special on the timeline. Fantastic work being done there. Try to find that anywhere else. The last post tagged Benghazi at Macleans is 2 weeks old. Lot’s happened since then. If you’re one of those who just writes off Fox as the home of the loons on the right, I’m betting you won’t know a damn thing about it. Somewhat shocking that no one here thinks you need to know about it.

        So thanks, but I’m quite happy to stick with Fox. If you’re happier at NBC and the like…enjoy your own particular brand of cool aid I guess. But don’t try to pretend it’s not cool aid.

      • Wow, for a cranky whiner like you to be accusing others of the same… just wow. I’ve never come across someone so proud to declare himself a victim as you. It’s like you live and breathe to declare yourself aggrieved of whatever petty excuse for a grievance you can find.

  5. I find it rather amusing, the asinine comments from the obama supporters. If another calamity does occur and obama wins a second term, he and they will spend 4 years telling us what a terrible situation he inherited in 2012.

    • At least they’re not a creepy as they were the last election when they proclaimed him Christ. It’s startling to dawn on them that he’s a mere mortal and an average one at that.

      They still suckle at the teats of demagoguery, race-baiting and vilification though, provided of course by the party of Tammany Hall, Jim Crow, the Miscegenation Laws and the Chicago Machine; so they will vote for “the One” again.
      However this time they’ll vote out of misplaced hatred and fear, rather than “hope”.

    • Yeah right. Bush Jr. unleashed a WMD on the American economy causing dual housing and financial market meltdowns. It hasn’t suffered that much damage since the stock market crash of 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression.

      Thankfully there was Keynesian intervention that staved off the worst effects, preventing outright depression. But it’s absurd to think everything could be turned around in 4 years. (The Japanese economy suffered a similar housing market meltdown from which its economy has yet to recover. Interest rates have been at 1% or lower going on 17 years…)

      Ultimately the problem is a lack of aggregate demand. Without more government intervention the economy will continue to struggle. But there will be no calamity unless the neo-cons get their sleazy hands on the economy again and cause another meltdown with self-defeating austerity measures and reckless tax cuts for the rich.

      One just has to look at a country like Greece where the rich don’t pay taxes and the economy is undergoing deep austerity measures. It’s economy is in depression (25% unemployment, 6% GDP contraction.) The same will happen to America.

  6. It is remarkable that so many Americans would vote for President Obama again when his inability with getting the American economy going again is so poor. He is good at creating the same economic situation as Spain. Also, why is Jarrett not discussed more?

    • Bush Jr. is the one destroyed the economy. He caused so much damage (housing and financial market collapses) it’s absurd to suggest a full recovery could be brought about in 4 short years. Obama prevented the Great Depression 2. For that he should be given credit.

      What’s really remarkable is that the neo-cons who caused all the mess now claim more of their free-market poison — that caused all the destruction in the first place — will suddenly turn to a cure. Yeah right.

      If the Americans double down on “trickle-down” economics (actually trickle-up, because the money flows from the people into the hands of the rich) they will face economic disaster like Greece and Spain are facing. Fact is steep austerity measures are causing depression in those countries. Throw in reckless tax cuts that never “pay for themselves” and the deficit will double.

      It’s time for the world to ditch flaky free-market ideology. It caused two global economic meltdowns so far (1929, 2008.) Nothing in the history of the universe has failed as miserably as that nonsense.

    • Well, the alternative is/was Romney.

  7. He created no jobs, he isn’t a “small business a”‘ he is a venture capitalist so he buys and sells them, he couldn’t work in a bipartisan way because his Democratic colleagues presented him nothing that he liked so he issued 800+ vetoes to anything that came to his desk. He now says he agrees with President Obama on so much policy I have to assume he will be voting blue this year! Candidate Romney has now demonstrated that he lacks leadership, character and integrity.

  8. This is one of the silliest opinion articles written today about the US election. The polls are indicating that Romney’s had a downward trajectory for the past few weeks and Obama’s has ascended. When Governor Chris Christie is posing with Obama and praising him on Twitter only days before the election, then why would anyone suggest that Romney has the edge?

    A silly article all around.

  9. To answer the original question, no. No he didn’t.

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