Just in case you know anyone who bought the pro-Republican spin on the debates, Ed Kilgore sets the record straight in his Washington Monthly Post, “No, Romney Did Not ‘Move to the Center’ in Debate.” As Kilgore explains in this excerpt:
Before it becomes a kind of Fact-Made-Fact-By-Repetition, I’d like to challenge the much-assumed idea that in the first presidential debate Mitt Romney “moved to the center” in a real, substantive way. This seems to be the conclusion of many Democrats, many in the MSM, and of those few Republicans who occasionally object to the endless rightward drift of the GOP.
Sure, his rhetoric sounded more moderate. But when you look at the details, nothing changed.
Was it heresy to say healthy markets require regulation? Not unless you are the sort of person who wonders if we ought to privatize sidewalks…Did he back off on his tax-cut proposal? No, he’s always claimed his tax plan would not reduce the tax burden on the wealthy or boost the deficit. And he’s never accepted the $5 trillion price tag placed on his proposed rate cuts by the Tax Policy Center.
Was his solicitude for Medicare anything new? No, he’s been ranting about Obama’s “Medicare cuts” for ages, which is far less startling than hearing his running-mate do the same thing. Did Romney back down at all from his determination to dump Medicaid on the states with ratcheted-down funding (and yes, that’s what current-spending-plus-one-percent means unless you think medical inflation is suddenly vanishing), giving Republican governors eager to cut eligibility all the encouragement they need?
Kilgore continues the checklist covered in the debate and touches on a range of issues that were not mentioned in the debate, all of which add up to zero change. He concludes:
What we are seeing is the illusion created by a context-change wherein Mitt no longer has to pretend to be even more conservative than he’s been forced to be by his constant promises to the conservative movement…He hasn’t made a single substantive change in his policy proposals that should discomfit Tea Folk. So let’s all calm down a bit in hailing “Moderate Mitt.”
The ‘new’ Mitt is every inch as mendacious and evasive as the old Mitt, still wedded to the reactionary vision of a disempowered public sector and free reign for the ‘greed is good’ gospel of the worst one-percenters.