Who is Mitt Romney? Throughout the Republican presidential race, critics and supporters – as well as Romney’s own campaign – have been struggling to answer this question. Still trying to figure out the best way to appeal to Republican voters, Romney has taken on a variety of personas during the election cycle. Let’s take a look at some of the most common:
Although still far from the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Romney has still won more than double the delegates of his nearest competition, Rick Santorum. Romney has managed to acquire a name for himself as the strongest Republican candidate, although this election’s notoriously weak Republican field and fickle voting body have both certainly helped push Romney to the top.
Romney’s background in business is one of his main selling points as a presidential candidate. His career began in management consulting, serving as the CEO and co-founder of Bain Capital, one of the nation’s largest private investing firms. Romney is a smart businessman too, earning an MBA (and a JD!) from Harvard. This experience came in handy during his term as Massachusetts governor, where he cut government spending to eliminate much of the state’s $1.5 billion deficit. Supporters of Romney hope he may be able to do the same thing for the US.
Romney recently came under fire for his tax returns, which demonstrated that he is clearly among the wealthiest of the wealthy in America. Given the extreme tension between the 99 and the one percent, Romney may have a difficult time reaching the majority of Americans – especially since he already comes off as awkward and uncomfortable when talking to voters. This may not be as big of an issue during the primaries, but will definitely be a challenge if he ends up facing Obama in the main election.
Many Republicans are skeptical of Romney, because his political stances have changed so much over the years that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where he stands. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, which provided near-universal health care for Massachusetts citizens – the precursor to ObamaCare, which financially conservative Republicans (including, now, Romney) are strongly opposed to. Romney has also changed his stance on issues such as abortion and stem-cell research.
To appease Republican voters who are concerned about the liberal skeletons in his closet, Romney is making an effort now to appeal to voters as a decidedly conservative candidate. This means taking up stances that will probably make him unpopular with socially liberal Republicans, like Wednesday’s comment about how he wanted to get rid of Planned Parenthood (which will probably alienate a lot of female voters as well).
Will the authentic Mitt Romney ever appear? And if he doesn’t, will any of his personalities be enough to convince America to vote for him? Only time – and the rest of the election – will tell.