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Romney Morphs into Bush

January 27, 2008

Last week, I described the perils and pitfalls of Mitt Romney's sales pitch to replace George W. Bush as America's MBA President. Now, new developments from the campaign trail suggest that the morphing of Mitt Romney into George Bush is well underway.
The first hints of Romney's transformation came late last year. In the face of eventual Iowa winner Mike Huckabee's critique that "Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad," Romney rushed to President Bush's defense. Saying Huckabee sounded like a Democrat, Romney demanded an apology on behalf of his would-be predecessor. Romney told an Iowa crowd, "We ought to be saying thank you to the president for keeping us safe these last six years," adding on Meet the Press:

"That's an insult to the President and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the President."

As Huckabee found out, hell hath no fury like a Bushie scorned. In Iowa a few weeks later, Mitt Romney proclaimed his love for our troops - and for President Bush:

"We're a nation united that stands behind our fighting men and women. We honor them and respect them. We love what they've done for us, and we also love a president who has kept us safe these last six years."

Not afraid to speak of the love that dare not speak its name (at least, according to the polls), Mitt Romney has apparently taken to emulating George W. Bush on the campaign trail. During the 2004 campaign, there were whispers about the so-called "Bush Bulge." (Keep it clean, people.) Images taken of Bush during a debate with John Kerry seemed to show the rhetorically-challenged President wearing some kind of wire under his suit, purportedly allowing his handlers to supply him with answers.
Fast forward to 2008, and the whispers have started again, this time involving Mitt Romney and another apparent Quiz Show scam. During the Florida Republican debate last week, MSNBC microphones seemed to pick up a whispered answer ("He raised taxes, I'm not gonna.") to Mitt Romney just before he responded to a question about Reagan's social security fix. While the evidence is far from conclusive, as in Bush's 2004 situation, the case of Mitt Romney's mysterious earpiece is not closed.
According the Bill Kristol, Romney's fealty to Bush is paying dividends. While the former Massachusetts despite his full court press has been unable to secure the public endorsement of Jeb Bush in Florida, Kristol suggests other Bushies are backing Romney behind the scenes. Noting that vice presidential daughter Liz Cheney has joined the Romney campaign, Kristol told Chris Wallace on Fox News:

"I think some of the Bush family do support Romney, I think that's pretty clear."

Which probably shouldn't surprise anyone. With his love for the President's Iraq policy, misguided tax cuts and supposed culture of life, Mitt Romney is becoming one of the Bush clan.

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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