It was never a matter of ‘if’…only of ‘when‘.
Two constituencies that President Obama is holding onto about as strongly now as he did four years ago are voters under 30 and Latinos. In what is probably not a coincidence, these two constituencies are the targets for the first two major Mitt Romney Etch A Sketch pivots of the general election. After having repeatedly denounced any need for the federal government to subsidize tuition costs during the primary, Romney has now endorsed Obama’s call for extending lower rates for federally-subsidized loans. Romney says he supports the measures “in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.” Apparently, he has been informed of the poor job market since wrapping up the nomination, when he was still advising graduates concerned about debt to acquire a high-paying job.
On immigration, Romney is making the turn a little more slowly, as you’d expect, given the sensitivities involved in holding together his base. Romney has deputized Marco Rubio to craft “his” own version of the Dream Act, a somewhat more restrictive version of the reform that Republicans in Congress killed and Romney opposed in the primary, when he positioned himself on the party’s right on immigration. Romney is “studying” Rubio’s bill.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Tea Party crowd handles Romney’s position reversals and move toward the center over the next six months. If it’s anything similar to the way Republican newbies in the House have driven Boehner and the GOP crazy with their irrational, unworkable demands, then Romney’s got his hands full. Between teabaggers screaming for conservative purity on every issue and Democrats reminding voters of every policy position Romney currently holds or once held (it’s all on tape, Mitt…sorry), it’s should be fun to watch.
The GOP is going to have to rely on FOX and others in the conservative media to do their ‘lie and distort the truth’ routine and explain to people out there how it is that Romney never actually said what it is he said. It’ll come down to Sean Hannity saying something along the lines of, “Who you gonna believe, me or those lying YouTube videos of Mitt?”
( The Romney source photograph is a Creative Commons licensed image from photographer Gage Skidmore. )