KAMPANJ | Newsweek slår ett slag för Barack Obama i senaste numret genom att definiera Mitt Romney som en “mes” på omslaget.
1987 publicerade Newsweek en artikel som kom att förfölja George H. W. Bush långt efter att blivit president. Titeln var ”Fighting the ’Wimp Factor’”.
Nu gör man det igen med Mitt Romney.
Michael Tomasky skriver:
In 1987, this magazine created a famous hubbub by labeling George H.W. Bush a “wimp” on its cover. “The Wimp Factor.” Huge stir. And not entirely fair—the guy had been an aviator in the war, the big war, the good war, and he was even shot down out over the Pacific, cockpit drenched in smoke and fumes, at an age (20) when in most states he couldn’t even legally drink a beer. In hindsight, Poppy looks like Dirty Harry Callahan compared with Romney, who spent his war (Vietnam) in—ready?—Paris. Where he learned … French.
Harvey Mansfield, the Harvard political philosopher, is a godhead to conservatives. He wrote a book while Bush was president called Manliness. It was a self-parodic volume, but conservatives loved it. In 2006 an interviewer asked Mansfield his definition of manliness, and he said: “confidence in a situation of risk.”
By this definition, the conservative definition, Romney is a total bust. He’s the most risk-averse major politician to come along in ages.
The catalog of Romney flip-flops is lengthy and by now famous: abortion rights; support for Planned Parenthood, to which he and his wife once wrote checks, now in his gun sights; Grover Norquist’s “no tax increases” pledge, which he admirably refused to sign as a gubernatorial candidate but since 2007 has taken up with gusto; on immigration, where he once supported a path to citizenship; on guns (he supported the Brady Bill in the 1990s); on “don’t ask, don’t tell”; and, most famously of all, on health care.
All politicians undergo a tuck here and a trim there. Comparatively few turn outright somersaults on big issues, let alone half a dozen or more of them. What gives? Most pols in Romney’s position would think: OK, I’ve got to change some stances, but I’d better keep one or two, just to show I stand for something, and accept the consequences. But not Romney.
Politicians change positions for three main reasons: financial ambition, political ruthlessness, and political cowardice. Romney already has the big money, so that’s out. Ruthless? Not really—a ruthless change of position is one designed to please one group of people but equally to piss off another group. Romney’s flip-flops are solely about making a group of highly suspicious voters like him. That, folks, is door No. 3.
Att det inte lät likadant bakom kulisserna kan man förstå när man läser hur George W. Bush reagerade när han fick beskedet att Newsweek hade stämplat hans far som ”mes”.
Barbara Bush placed a furious call to her son, future president George W., who had vetted journalist Margaret Garrard Warner. “Have you seen Newsweek?” Barbara Bush growled, according to her son’s recent memoir, Decision Points. “I quickly tracked down a copy and was greeted by the screaming headline: ‘Fighting the Wimp Factor,’ ” Bush 43 wrote. “I was red hot. I got Margaret on the phone. I. . . told her I thought it was part of a political ambush. She muttered something about her editors being responsible for the cover. I did not mutter. I railed about editors and hung up. From then on, I was suspicious of political journalists and their unseen editors.”
Läs mer: “Michael Tomasky on Wimpy Mitt Romney’s Missing Backbone” samt ”Answering Tomasky” av David Frum. (Bild: Tidskriftomslagen är från den 6 augusti 2012 respektive den 19 oktober 1987.)