I’m not the only one who’s asked this question out loud, but alas: Does Mitt Romney even want to be President?
If you weren’t watching the Emmys last night, perhaps you caught this light bright snappy answer from Candidate Romney on 60 Minutes in response to a question regarding access to health care for all Americans:
“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.
*raises eyebrow* Oh, word Willard?
Here’s my problem with this answer (and well, most of his answers on hard domestic & international policy questions) they’re all so thoughtless. At this point in the game, in the last stretch of campaigning, Romney hasn’t revealed that he has any depth or command of knowledge of anything. He hasn’t revealed an iota of intellectual curiosity or problem solving that is required to govern. I recall another billionaire and public servant noting the tremendous expense to taxpayers when the uninsured sole source of health care is reliant on overstretched clinics and emergency rooms. As Terkel and Stein point out, Romney statement last night is a departure from his position on health care in his book No Apology:
Under federal law, hospitals had to stabilize and treat people who arrived at their emergency rooms with acute conditions. And our state’s hospitals were offering even more assistance than the federal government required. That meant that someone was already paying for the cost of treating people who didn’t have health insurance. If we could get our hands on that money, and therefore redirect it to help the uninsured buy insurance instead and obtain treatment in the way that the vast majority of individuals did — before acute conditions developed — the cost of insuring everyone in the state might not be as expensive as I had feared.
It’s oddly un-conservative a position to say that emergency room care for the uninsured is the solution for states only, a countersolution to the affordable care act. I mean, fiscally irresponsibly oddly un-conservative a statement and disingenuous.
While we’re all still digesting the multiple layers of the not at all a gaffe, but deep philosophical belief of the 47% remarks, I’m still looping on his assessment of the two state solution:
On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state. I won’t mention which one it was, but this individual said to me, you know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections. I said, “Really?” And, you know, his answer was, “Yes, I think there’s some prospect.” And I didn’t delve into it.
“And I didn’t delve into that”?? Really? If the undecided voter still straddles the line on who they should vote for, let me add my modest proposal: would you want a candidate that is unwilling to explore complex issues that could lead to a peaceful world? That would limit our military engagement in ensuring a peaceful world? Romney’s ‘I didn’t delve into it’ answer tells me that I can’t trust him to listen to all sides and make sound decisions if he’s not the least bit curious as to why a formal state official believes that there is a middle ground towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It tells me that I can’t trust him to take an unpopular position in other scenarios that could ultimately lead to the greater good. It tells me that Romney doesn’t really care about the role of being leader in so much as it is a birthright and resume builder. He talks like CEO or figurehead who believes that the Office of the Presidency is his birthright. I find myself in total agreement with Roxane Gay’s observation, “What truly drives Romney’s campaign is not that he believes in America or that he wants to make the country a better place. Instead, he believes in himself to such an extent he also believes he is entitled to be the President of the United States simply because he is Mitt Romney, a captain of industry, a great white hope.”
Leslie Savon noted last week in the Nation a conclusion I’ve been slowly coming to:
Every time Romney gets an opportunity to reset the narrative of the election, he makes some psychologically revealing mistake. Giving Clint Eastwood his spotlight, rattling a rubber saber over a tweet from the US embassy in Cairo while it was under attack, writing off half of all American voters as moochers—you only have to tilt your head to see each of these “gaffes” as a cry for help. And Republicans themselves are grumbling about Romney’s skimpy schedule of public events, where real voters might take his measure and enthusiasm for a ground campaign could be generated.
“There’s not really a campaign here,” one Republican close to GOP fundraisers complained to Real Clear Politics. “He’s getting ready for the debates, and he’s out fundraising. You’ve got enough money!” Lindsey Graham and Peggy Noonan have also bemoaned his semi-AWOL schedule.
I’d submit that selecting Paul Ryan as your running mate is more than a cry for help, a departure from his moderate roots to most accept the most cynical outlook of winning votes from the fractured GOP base. Romney wants to win a campaign, but he doesn’t want govern. Beyond the ‘gaffes’, the unfunny jokes, the tone deaf spoken word singing of America, The Beautiful, Romney lacks the passion of someone who wants to change the world.