Mitt Romney has been looking steady and solid in recent weeks, especially compared to the rest of the field, which has stumbled (Perry’s debate performances) or bumbled (Bachman’s overkill of the vaccine issue). This is, as I mentioned a few weeks back, to be expected of a first tier candidate on his second run for the office. He’s seen big league pitching before, and is now comfortable at the plate, able to hit the hard sliders and spitballs that come with a modern presidential campaign.
Still. . . A friend reminded me the other day of a detail I had forgotten from the last time around. When asked about his favorite book in 2008, Romney answered with the Bible, and then added . . . L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth. Great. It’s not enough just to be a Mormon, which presents its own set of cultural challenges for a candidate. It really takes a special kind of cluelessness to embrace the ur-text of what is, at best, a religious cult, and more likely a borderline racketeering enterprise. Does Romney really have no one around him who can talk sense to him?
This morning’s Wall Street Journal brings a fresh dose of heartburn for those of us willfully trying to warm up to Romney, with a front-page story on Romney’s environmental record during his governorship of Massachusetts. Now, I’ve argued for a long time that Republicans ought to be able to handle environmental issues with more finesse, but from the looks of this story Romney hasn’t got it. There’s this quote from Romney, outside a coal-fired power plant that he wanted to rein in somehow:
“I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant—that plant—kills people.”
Where to begin with this kind of idiocy? And if we’re going to have that kind of idiocy, why not just elect Al Gore?
He wasn’t finished. When helping to design the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“Reggie” for short), the northeastern state’s attempt to start their own cap-and-trade system that is now slowly collapsing (having barely got off the ground in the first place), Romney said: “These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to protect the environment.” No, they wouldn’t, even if catastrophic global warming were true. If you wiped Massachusetts off the face of the earth entirely (come to think of it, this is a nice thought experiment isn’t it?), it would make no difference in the climate models. It wouldn’t even make a rounding error in the climate models. This man is fundamentally unserious about thinking for himself, or offering anything outside a narrow range of conventional opinion.
Where can I get a Herman Cain bumper sticker?