He’s like Reagan, if Reagan were about to lose California by 20%.
If you’re wondering what kind of governor Mitt Romney was, just look at the polls in Massachusetts, the only place he has ever held elected office. The President leads Romney by an average of 18.5%. These are the voters who know Mitt best.
Steve Benen examined Mitt’s unpopular tenure as governor yesterday and offered this gem:
Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political science professor, put it this way: “To know Mitt Romney is to dislike him. That is the moral of the story.”
Why does Mitt Romney become less popular as people get to know him?
The answer in Massachusetts is simple: Voters realized they’d been fooled. Mitt ran as a progressive, a moderate who was going to teach Republicans how to love gays. Instead, he governed as a Republican candidate for president. He drastically raised the cost higher of education and fees in general. The state fell to 47th in job creation as the rest of the country swelled on the fat of Bush tax breaks and massive government spending.
Massachusetts was left with one solid Mitt accomplishment: health care reform.
First, Mitt was proud of it. He offered it as a model for the nation three times. Then, when that didn’t work, he pretended that it was unconstitutional, which he probably should have mentioned when he was suggesting it was a national solution—except that talking point didn’t exist yet. Now RomneyCare is like a child from his first marriage who doesn’t get any songs written about him. Mitt wouldn’t even acknowledge its birthday.
All and all, the voters of Massachusetts see Mitt as what Mitt is: a man who is only concerned about Mitt and Mitt’s friends and family, a man whose convictions are limited to the firm belief that he should be in power.
Mitt already has more “Pants on Fire” rulings from Politifact than Michele Bachmann or me. And he’s already shifted his positions on every issue that matters so many times that the only solid predictor of what he’ll believe next is whatever Karl Rove tells him to believe.
Instead of believing that lying or betraying his own positions is a liability, Mitt has made it an asset by teaching the press to expect it and ignore it. As Greg Sargent points out, the media already has Flip-Flop Fatigue.
Being willing to say anything is a powerful political tool—just as being willing to do anything to make money can make you very rich.
But it makes you a terrible leader. If you don’t believe me, ask the people of Massachusetts.
[Image is Mitt's official portrait as Governor. Notice the bill on the table? It's RomneyCare.]