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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Romney’s Extremist Agenda Often Overlooked

This item by J.P. Green was originally published on January 11, 2012.
Watching video clips of Romney’s flip-flopping on just about every major issue is a tiring experience. But his lurid history of pandering to exploit the latest trends in political idiocy should not distract voters from the raw truth of what he stands for today, which is an all-out capitulation to the agenda of the vulture capitalists.
The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuval explains it well in her WaPo op-ed, “Extremist in Pinstripes.” Vanden Heuval reviews Romney’s extremist positions on social issues, immigration, increasing the military budget and notes his call to push the Supreme Court even further to the right with his appointments.
She provides a disturbing account of Romney’s blase certitude in support of draconian cuts in Pell grants, Medicaid and food stamps, children’s health programs and aid to people with disabilities to “give multinationals a tax holiday” and give millionaires a nearly $300K tax cut, and adds:

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Romney, as Mike Huckabee once famously noted, “looks like the guy who laid you off.” At Bain, he was the guy who fired you. In a review of 77 major deals that Bain capital did when Romney headed the firm, the Wall Street Journal found that “22% [of the businesses that Bain invested in] either filed for bankruptcy reorganization or closed their doors by the end of the eighth year after Bain first invested, sometimes with substantial job losses.” Of course, Bain produced remarkable returns for its investors, including Romney.

Romney’s flip-flopping proclivities are the easy target for commentators and pundits. But no one should be deluded by speculation that Romney will flip back toward moderate conservatism, if elected. As vanden Heuval argues,

…This isn’t the plan of a moderate. The conservative garb isn’t something Romney has donned for the primaries. These policies…are consistent with Romney’s background as a corporate raider. And as his fundraising shows, they play well in the plush offices of big finance where Romney made his fortune. He is a champion for the 1 percent, peddling a program that will ensure that working Americans bear the cost for the mess left by Wall Street’s extremes while the buccaneer bankers, corporate raiders and private equity gamblers are free to go back to preying on America.

Vanden Heuval’s article should provoke a sobering reassessment among those who have entertained the fantasy that Romney would govern as a moderate. As E. J. Dionne points out, chameleon Romney has proven highly adept as deluding his fellow Republicans across the party’s ideological spectrum that he reflects their views. Dems should not be so gullible, for there is every reason to believe his election would unleash the worst elements of vulture capitalism.

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