Romnesia [Rom-nee-zhuh] Noun—a condition affecting Mitt Romney, who has shifted his positions from “severely conservative” to “severely kidding”—conveniently forgetting the conservative promises he has made over the past six years that he has been running for president (Source: Obama campaign press release).
This past Friday at a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., President Obama used the term “Romnesia” to refer to Mitt Romney’s apparent selective memory and constantly changing positions on the issues. A catchy play on the word “amnesia” (a medical condition in which memory is lost), “Romnesia” has quickly become one of the top buzzwords of the campaign, and is the centerpiece of Obama’s latest offensive.
However, Obama did not actually coin the term. Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn (famous for uncovering the infamous 47% video), is the first documented person to do so when he wrote an article called “The Case of Romnesia” last June. In September, George Monbiot of the British newspaper The Guardian began an article with the sentence, “We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money.”
“Romnesia” is indeed Romney's condition. As the former governor of Massachusetts, Romney has a fairly moderate record, signing a statewide universal healthcare program (“Romneycare”) into law and upholding abortion rights. However, during the Republican primaries, Romney made a radical shift to the right to appeal to the Tea Party and social conservatives. Now, with the Republican nomination firmly in hand, Romney has attempted to move to the center to appeal to independents and undecided voters.
If done properly, this strategy could bode well for Romney. Appealing to independents and to the center, which comprises a vast majority of the American electorate, is a common technique that presidential candidates have used since the advent of mass media. Especially during last Monday’s debate on foreign policy, Romney actually agreed with Obama on occasion, signaling a retreat from his previously hawkish stances on the Middle East.
However, Romney is not making the full transition over to the middle, as evidenced by his constant flip-flopping that provides an easy target for Obama to attack. On October 10, in an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney promised not to introduce legislation that would restrict abortion rights. Later that day, however, a campaign spokeswoman retracted Romney’s earlier remark, stating “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.” This speaks to Romney’s extensive history of conflicted remarks regarding abortion, not to mention equal pay for equal work, stem cell research, and the minimum wage.
Maybe there is a method to his madness, but I doubt it. As I have stated before, I believe that Mitt Romney is an empty suit that has no principles, saying whatever he thinks is necessary to win the election, even if that means agreeing with Obama sometimes. After a subpar performance in the first debate, Obama is capitalizing on “Romnesia” on the campaign trail, which has corresponded with victories in the last two debates and a subsequent rise in the polls.
We only have one final question to ask ourselves: Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?