The Ever Changing Mitt Romney

The Ever Changing Mitt Romney Mitt Romney has reinvented himself yet again, Michael Luo reports, this time as an anti-insider populist.

Mitt Romney is leading a citizen revolution, or at least that is what he has been telling people these last few days as he has tries to right his bid for the Republican nomination.

It may seem an unlikely role for a PowerPoint-loving, buttoned-down multimillionaire, but there Mr. Romney was, on stage Monday here in his starched white shirt and tie, raising his voice to be heard above the crowd and portraying himself as the anti-establishment insurgent.


That Mr. Romney, the one-time leveraged-buyout artist who has spent more than $35 million of his personal fortune on his campaign, is now running as a populist insurgent may come as a surprise to some. But he has been through a variety of iterations of his message over the last year, donning at various points the image of a pragmatic problem-solving businessman, conservative ideologue and change agent.

It was in New Hampshire that he settled on a theme about Washington’s being broken and his ability to bring change.

But with Mr. McCain now threatening to run away with the nomination, Mr. Romney has melded the old with the new, lobbing conservative grenades once again while talking about change. His latest script is calculated to sound the alarm over the prospect of Mr. McCain as the Republican nominee.

Not all that long ago, the Rush Limbaughs of the world thought it was funny when Al Gore kept changing personalities during a presidential run. Now, apparently, it’s the only way to save the Party of Reagan. At least Romney’s not wearing earth tones, I guess.

UPDATE: Whilst looking for images for this post, I stumbled across Daniel Larison‘s “Romney Is Al Gore” post (via Andrew Sullivan) from a couple weeks back. Apparently, the similarities have been noticed by others.

I also came across this classic cartoon at Steve Rabin‘s blog:

Mitt Romney Abortion Cartoon

And this one at Sameritech:

Mitt Romney Debates Himself Cartoon

Romney Photo: Third Avenue via Google.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Elmo says:

    My grasp of some issues can lean towards not expansive. On others …. I may occasionally have a smidge more heighth purview.

    I was stuck on Rudy, and have no fallback position. In a wide scan of the political landscape, authenticity is lacking in most the (left over) candidates. They don’t inspire. Are minus belief.

    Chanting hope/change on endless loop, won’t transform Barack into a fuzzy peach (voyginn). But superficially he does seem to have sold less of his soul to beelzebub. I don’t know if ‘Obamacan’ is or isn’t a real phenomena. But the tenor of the immediate Repub scrum is not very encouraging.

    Dub has been a remarkably hard working Prez, in my eyes. At minimum, I would want someone equally up to the task. Skilled political campaigners often make good Presidents. And Obama has shown some chops. But his ‘innocence’ effectively masks his cynicism. And to me leadership is more than mere belief by voters (even giving credit for its inspiration).

    If Barack somehow swings the nomination, I do believe he has a shot at the oval office. Mac vs. Hillary is already starting to put everyone to sleep.

    After that? I’ve got bupkis.

  2. Matt Dailey says:

    Romney as the anti-establishment, outsider candidate is not far from what he portrayed himself during the Massachusetts governor’s race in 2002. I lived in Massachusetts at the time. The difference was he was alot more moderate back then. His Democratic opponent,Shannon O’Brien wasn’t that good. She was just another party hack with a cushy state job. His winning strategy was promoting fiscal responsibility, which Massachusetts desperately needed at the time and still does.