Monday morning Fox News and New York Post blogger Michael Goodwin put out a suspect piece titled Why I am Voting for Mitt Romney. Goodwin begins by letting readers in on a dirty little secret; in 2008, he became entranced by Barack Obama’s rhetoric of true change in America and abroad and, gasp, he actually ended up voting for him.
But now Goodwin calls that vote for Obama a “confession of error,” and goes on to detail how he has been transformed into a 2012 Mitt Romney supporter.
Goodwin’s piece is suspect in part due to its timing. With only a week left until the general election, both Romney and Obama are vying for the now coveted last-minute swing voters; the ones who haven’t yet made up their mind even after a year of exposure to both candidates.
Goodwin’s piece is also suspicious because it pushes the same selling point that the Romney campaign and Republican mouthpieces are trying to sell those undecided voters – anecdotal evidence of Obama-turned-Romney voters.
In Monday’s piece, Goodwin weaves a confusing narrative of his own political psyche by noting that he is a Democrat who votes independent and now backs a Romney presidency. It seems more than a little strange that such a complex and independent-minded voter would now throw his support (and the weight of his readership) behind Mitt Romney – until one goes back to the fact Goodwin is writing for Fox News.
And while voters have gotten somewhat used to news outlets and political writers/commentators selling partisan worldviews, those who put out the material usually still try to avoid tipping up red flags of bias. However, Goodwin’s tale of why he threw off the Obama blinders and now sees the light and promise of a Romney campaign is a little too far-fetched to be believable.
Goodwin states: “A year ago, I thought he (Romney) might be acceptable, maybe the only one in the GOP field. Now I see him as much more than acceptable.
During the long slog, Romney revealed qualities that could make him a very good president. There is not a hint of scandal in his life or career, and his economic policies could spark real growth in jobs, not in food stamps,
There are two problems with the above statements by Goodwin. First of all, there are hints of scandal in Mitt Romney’s life and career at many turns – he has just been adept at stonewalling inquiries. Earlier this month, journalists from the Huffington Post reported on the millions of dollars Romney made from supplying American cigarettes to Russia through Bain & Company in the early 90s. A follow-up story at Veterans Today went on to suggest that while Bain made millions serving in a consulting capacity in these cigarette deals, the ultimate benefactors were Russian organized crime figures and powerful GOP members who cemented relationships with each other for future operations involving heroin trucking in Kosovo and Albania. Either way, these cigarette deals, combined with the cut-throat gutting tactics used on companies acquired by Romney’s second business, Bain Capital, paint Romney as more of a greedy hustler and less as a friendly job creator who promises a brighter future for American workers.
The second problem with Goodwin’s Obama-to-Romney epiphany story is that he immediately outs himself as a GOP hack by slipping in a job growth vs. food stamp comparison. By throwing the “food stamp president” label into the reasoning behind his sudden excitement for a Romney presidency, Goodwin joins the ranks of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other blind party loyalists rather than presenting himself as a pragmatic thinker who came to the carefully reasoned conclusion that Romney is simply the best candidate for president.
Goodwin goes on to assert that Romney “keenly recognizes the danger of the growing debt” and in regards to foreign policy “his instincts about American power are right.”
Again, both of these assertions sound much more like the words of an eyes-closed political propagandist rather than the conclusions of a soul-searching independent. Mitt Romney clearly does not recognize any dangers of the national debt, because if he did, he would be stumping on the language inserted into the GOP party platform this year that recognizes the need to audit the source of this debt, the Federal Reserve.
Campaigning on that intent would present a real, stark contrast to President Obama. Instead, after paying lip service to this audit notion when it was made popular by Ron Paul during the Republican debates, Romney has not mentioned the Federal Reserve at all since receiving the party nomination.
And if Mitt Romney’s instincts about American power are right, then Goodwin is longing for the interventionist foreign policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, because since the inception of his campaign, Romney has showed a penchant for viewing the world through an imperialistic lens where America has the onus of policing the world and snuffing out every Muslim extremist in existence.
Lastly, Goodwin makes Romney’s religion out-of-bounds by writing, “As for being a Mormon, to hold that against Romney is pure bigotry. His election would knock down one more barrier to equality of opportunity.”
Who Goodwin assumes is holding Romney’s religion against him is unknown, but to suggest that American voters should not examine the connection between a candidate and his religion and reject him on such grounds if they choose is absurd. Only about two percent of the American population is Mormon, it has always been a controversial religion in America because of its ties to polygamy and the hierarchy of the church is known to be extremely secretive – voters are bound to have questions.
In fact, most voters have more questions than facts about Mitt Romney because he has carefully managed to simultaneously be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He hides financial and political connections behind talk of blind trusts, political action committee independence and separation of his church and his campaign.
Certainly a discerning voter and political writer like Goodwin should want more out of a candidate. Then again, with only a week left until the election, his job at Fox is to get Mitt those undecided voters.