Favorite son? Not any more. Mitt Romney’s home-state newspaper has published a smack-down editorial endorsing President Obama for re-election and calling Romney a “shameless” “shape-shifter” unworthy of a first term. In its editorial, entitled “Too Many Mitts,” the Salt Lake Tribune ruefully remembers the good old days when Romney was viewed as the savior of the Salt Lake City Olympics and as a moderate, bi-partisan governor of Massachusetts [images that may or may not ever have been true]. Since those glory days, says the Tribune, Mitt Romney has morphed into someone–or someones– unrecognizable and undefinable. The editorial offers withering criticisms of Romney, describing him and his ideas as “radical,” “bellicose, “inflammatory,” “bereft of detail,” and “worthy of mistrust.”
From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”
…If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found.
As to the candidate that the Tribune is endorsing–President Obama–the editorial credits his decisive efforts to stimulate the economy, particularly through the badly needed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition, “The president also acted wisely to bail out the auto industry, which has since come roaring back. Romney, in so many words, said the carmakers should sink if they can’t swim.”
On foreign policy, President Obama is the clear choice, says the Tribune:
Obama’s foreign policy record is perhaps his strongest suit, especially compared to Romney’s bellicose posture toward Russia and China and his inflammatory rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama’s measured reliance on tough economic embargoes to bring Iran to heel, and his equally measured disengagement from the war in Afghanistan, are examples of a nuanced approach to international affairs.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.