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Mitt Romney and the plague of Multiple Political Personality Disorder (MPPD)

From: Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director, Democratic National Committee
To: Interested Parties
Date: December 7, 2011
Re: Mitt Romney and the plague of Multiple Political Personality Disorder (MPPD)

Mitt Romney’s two decade political career has been characterized by one reboot after another of his campaign, political  strategy and even his beliefs.  If you combine the number of times Mitt Romney has “revamped” his approach to his various campaigns and his positions on the issues he could easily be diagnosed with multiple political personality disorder–or MPPD. 

If we were extremely generous and set aside Mitt Romney’s constant and politically calculated shape-shifting on issues, looking only at his multiple political personalities over the course of his nearly 20 year political career,  we still woke this morning to at least personality number five after the latest re-launch of his campaign. 

Here’s a look at the multiple political personalities of Mitt Romney:

The Unabashed Social Liberal: When he ran for the Senate in 1994, he was an unabashed social liberal–proclaiming to be more of a champion for gay rights and a woman’s right to choose than even Ted Kennedy.  He also held himself out as the ultimate independent Republican–famously rejecting the Reagan-Bush era by declaring in one debate with Kennedy: “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush.  I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.” 

The Competent Manager: By the time he ran for Governor in 2002, Mitt Romney was on to personality number two–the competent manager who was best suited to run the state–a moderate Republican who promoted the role of government in solving tough problems like health care and climate change–and who was still a social liberal on issues like abortion.

The Social Conservative: By 2007 when he started running for President, Mitt Romney, who once said he be a better advocate for gay rights than Ted Kennedy, ran as a social conservative–appearing before every right wing social gathering he could find to promote his brand new anti-choice, anti-gay rights social views.  He even tried to out-social conservative Mike Huckabee and ran hard to win over Iowa’s social conservative voters in an unsuccessful effort to win the state’s first in the nation caucus.

The Economic “Mr. Fix-It”: After personality number three failed to win Romney the Republican nomination in 2008, he was on to political personality number four in 2011.  An economic “Mr. Fix It” whose private sector experience was supposed to set him apart from the rest of the field.  Gone were his desperate appeals to social conservatives to accept him as one of their own and instead Romney, for the better part of year, focused almost exclusively on the economy and shied away from personal political attacks on his primary opponents.

But while Romney campaigned as the presumed nominee–training all his fire on President Obama and ignoring his rivals–an unexpected roadblock popped up in his path in the form of…Newt Gingrich.

PalainRich (Palin-Cain-Gingrich): Time for another reboot, and political personality number five.  Now Mitt Romney has morphed into some bizarre version of Sarah Palin, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.  In a speech today he stopped even pretending he cares about the middle class and instead echoed these tea party favorites in blaming the middle class for the struggles they face.  Instead of believing that Americans are greater together, Mitt Romney has, overnight, adopted the far right wing view that the middle class and people trying to enter it should simply be on their own to fend for themselves.

Mitt Romney woke up this morning channeling the inner tea party voices of the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich for one reason and one reason alone: to try to gin up interest for a campaign that has rarely found the support of more than 25 percent of the primary electorate.  After all, what’s a candidate to do when he’s been campaigning for president for half a decade but still has 75 to 80 percent of voters in HIS OWN party who prefer someone else – almost anyone else – to him?

The Romney campaign also signaled today that they are ready to get negative and personal – preparing to send out surrogates to attack Newt Gingrich’s private life in a desperate attempt to block his path to victory.

The problem for Mitt Romney is his latest reinvention is no more likely to be successful than the last, or the one before that, because it feeds the very problem his reinventions seem to be trying to solve: that with Mitt Romney, you never you know what you are going to get and you simply can’t trust him to lead.

IT’S JUST MATH: 75% > 25%

WITH ROMNEY VERSION 5.0, MITT HAS STARTED ANGLING FOR THE ANYONE-BUT-ROMNEY VOTE

ROMNEY IS REBOOTING HIS CAMPAIGN TO ATTACK NEWT GINGRICH

HEADLINE: “Newt Gingrich Poll Vault Prompts Mitt Romney Reboot” [Politico, 12/7/11]

The Romney Campaign Is “Making An Immediate Shift In Tactics.” “The Mitt Romney campaign is making an immediate shift in tactics, a move that is necessary because, as one Republican close to the campaign put it, “What they are doing now isn’t working.’” [ABC News Radio, 12/6/11]

Romney Campaign Strategy: Use Surrogates To Make References To Gingrich’s Past. “Integrity: When former Vice President Dan Quayle spoke about the importance of Romney’s integrity ‘when he’s in public life. When he’s in private life,’ that was no accident. Romney will not go after Gingrich on personal issues, but ABC News has learned that you can expect to see Romney surrogates making fairly direct references to Gingrich’s tumultuous past, in the vein of what Quayle did. You can also expect to see Ann Romney and the Romney family on the trail much more, especially in South Carolina, to create a visual contrast. Their presence on the trail ‘speaks for itself.’” [ABC News Radio, 12/6/11]

Romney Campaign Strategy: Attack Gingrich’s Temperament. “Temperament: The Romney team sees Gingrich’s temperament as a weakness. Romney himself will highlight the importance of temperament by discussing his record as a leader. Surrogates are likely to go after Newt directly. The question that will be posed is, ‘Who do you want to make decisions?’ One Romney adviser added, ‘Gingrich is everything people don’t like about Washington.’ Romney might not try to directly rough up Gingrich at the ABC News debate Saturday in Iowa, but he will try to establish that contrast in leadership and temperament and hope Gingrich digs a hole for himself. ‘Gingrich never does well when he’s doing well,’ a Romney aide said.” [ABC News Radio, 12/6/11]

ROMNEY RECENTLY HIRED SARAH PALIN’S SPEECHWRITER…

In Recent Weeks Romney Hired Former Palin Speechwriter Lindsay Hayes. “[Romney campaign’s chief strategist, Stuart] Stevens, who has made a second career out of writing dialogue for recurring TV characters, persuaded Romney to surrender the speechwriting responsibilities to him — and in recent weeks, Stevens in turn has deferred to the punchy prose of Lindsay Hayes, a former speechwriter for Sarah Palin.” [New York Times, 11/30/11]

…AND HIS SPEECH TODAY AT THE RJC CHANNELS THE RHETORIC OF TEA PARTY FAVORITES GINGRICH, CAIN, AND PALIN

Mitt Romney: “President Obama is replacing our merit-based, opportunity-based society with an entitlement society.” [Romney, Speech to Republican Jewish Coalition, 12/7/11]

·         Newt Gingrich: "Over the last 40 years, we have become an entitlement society. We have evolved into people who say 'Give it to me now.'" [Telegraph Herald, 5/4/06]

·         Herman Cain: ''We must go from an entitlement society to an empowerment society, which means we help people help themselves.” [New York Times, 11/6/11]

Mitt Romney: “That which is earned by some is redistributed to others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing – the government.” [Romney, Speech to Republican Jewish Coalition, 12/7/11]

·         Newt Gingrich: “Now you have a president who says openly, you know, some people make too much money, and maybe he should decide. Now, I mean, his idea of redistribution is that politicians decide how much you ought to get to keep of what you earn.” [Newt Gingrich, On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, 5/20/10]

·         Newt Gingrich: ‘He wants to redistribute wealth. I want to make sure everybody has a chance to create wealth. You know, if somebody hasn’t created it, you can’t redistribute it.’” [Newsmax, 3/5/11]

·         Sarah Palin: “Voters were not told what it was that he truly believed in until we saw some snippets here and there that were uncensored, unedited when he alluded to his desire to redistribute wealth and to fundamentally, transform America. Now, people are realizing what he meant by that. Fundamental transformation of America and they are saying no, that is not what we need. What we need is a great restoration of America.” [Fox News, 8/12/11]

Mitt Romney: “President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy.” [Romney, Speech to Republican Jewish Coalition, 12/7/11]

·         Newt Gingrich: “The Administration's commitment to "multilateralism" at the U.N. is nothing more than appeasement.” [Human Events, 8/9/11]

·         Herman Cain: “Appeasement is not a strategy. As Ronald Reagan proved, strength is the strategy.” [World Net Daily, 5/2/11]

Mitt Romney: “This election will come down to a president who wants to ‘fundamentally transform’ America, and a Republican candidate who can restore America and get back to the founding principles that made this nation great. “ [Romney, Speech to Republican Jewish Coalition, 12/7/11]

·         Newt Gingrich: “President Obama Wants To Change America Into A Different Country. I Want To Renew The American Dream.” “‘I think President Obama wants to change America into a different country. I want to renew the American dream, that all of us are endowed by our creator with certain alienable rights, that we have the right to pursue happiness.” [Newsmax, 3/5/11]

·         Sarah Palin:  "We must not fundamentally transform America as some would want; we must restore America and restore her honor." [National Journal, 10/2/10]