There are four basic reasons I think Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should and will lose this year’s election.
First, Mitt Romney is a two-faced opportunist. He told Massachusetts’ voters they should elect him governor because he’s pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and “progressive.” Now he says we should elect him president because he’s anti-choice, anti-gay rights, and “severely conservative.”
Romney won’t even defend his one and only outstanding achievement as governor, a health insurance reform that has given Massachusetts the highest rate of citizens with health insurance coverage in the United States. That reform, with its individual mandate that citizens buy health insurance if they can afford it, was the model for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that Romney promises now to repeal.
Second, Romney panders to the most ignorant, obscurantist, and malicious elements of the Republican Party by fraternizing with birthers and climate change skeptics. Besides welcoming the support of birther-in-chief Donald Trump, Romney has signaled his support for those questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii by noting that no one has questioned his place of birth in Michigan.
In his convention speech Romney said that to deal with our greatest problems, “We need an American.” As if we didn’t already have an American in the White House? In the same speech, in a scene that will go down in history for cluelessness, Romney mocked Obama’s concern for rising sea levels caused by climate change.
Third, Romney is jingoistic and bellicose, unfit to be a world leader. He invokes the mantra of American exceptionalism as if simply repeating it could make it so. He seems ignorant of the fact that other nations have done what we have done, and some have done things better. In his convention speech he publicly insulted the leader of Russia, who was the soul mate of our last Republican president, and threatened a new war against Iran, while failing to acknowledge the thousands of American troops still fighting and dying in Afghanistan.
Fourth, Romney is unusually secretive. He demanded a decade of tax returns of Paul Ryan and all those he considered as nominees for vice president. He wouldn’t consider hiring any of them without reviewing a decade of their tax returns. But he expects the American people to hire him without being able to see more than (so far) a single year’s tax return for 2010? By the way, my tax returns for 2011 have been done for months now. What about yours? How come Romney still can’t release his 2011 tax return despite saying he will?
Mitt Romney’s father George Romney released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968, and said, “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.” Obama has also released a dozen years of tax returns. By stubbornly refusing to release the tax returns that he himself provided to John McCain in 2008 when McCain was considering him for vice president, Mitt Romney invites concern that he has something to hide. From the one tax return made available, we know Romney pays a lower rate of tax on much higher personal income than many middle-class families pay, and he clearly has invested significant portions of his fortune outside the United States in tax havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
Mitt Romney is unusually protective of the super-rich upper one percent of Americans. He is the first presidential candidate to withhold the names of his bundlers who help to fund his campaign. And if he succeeds in enacting the Paul Ryan budget plan he has endorsed, including converting Medicare to vouchers, and eliminating taxes on income from capital, the tax rate for Mitt Romney and his top 1 percent will drop to around 1 percent.
Jan Ting is a Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and a former assistant commissioner for Refugees, Asylum and Parole, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice. Ting can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.