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Mitt Romney's Identity Crisis

Guest Columnist | , Wilmer J. Leon Iii | 6/7/2012, 2:18 p.m.

It has been 11 months since Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for president. By winning the Texas Republican primary Romney has finally become the unofficial Republican Party presidential nominee. It will become official at the Republican convention in August.

After conservatives such as Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich pounded Romney from the right and ultra-conservatives Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain bludgeoned Romney from the extreme right, THE question became: Who has Romney become in order to secure the nomination? He has aligned himself with ideologies and individuals that play well at tea parties but should prove to be unacceptable to mainstream America going forward. Desperation makes for strange bedfellows.

The day after he hosted a fundraiser for Romney, Donald Trump went right back to the racist and disproven "birther" questions about President Obama. According to Trump, "In his own words, @BarackObama 'was born in Kenya, and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.' This statement was made, in writing, in the 1990`s. Why does the press protect him? Is this another Watergate?"

On the one hand, Romney has stated that President Obama is a native born American. On the other, he refuses to repudiate and denounce the "birthers" and the Donald Trumps who speak for them. This is a weak attempt to curry favour and maintain an alliance with bigots in the Republican Party. He will play to the extremes in his party and risk losing mainstream America.

While running for governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was not pro-life he was pro-choice. He said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose. While running for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he told moderate Log Cabin Republicans that he supported Don't Ask Don't Tell," saying "...if we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern," and that the don't ask policy would be a step toward "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in the nation's military."

As the Tea Party has risen to prominence within the Republican Party and holds sway over the Republican narrative, Romney has allowed himself to be compromised to gain their support. He now claims that he is "firmly pro-life" and in Iowa in 2007 said he was against the repeal of don't ask.

These inconsistencies are proving to be a problem with the very conservative leaders that Romney is trying to court. Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council told CNN, "...there is such a lack of enthusiasm for Romney that social conservative grass roots operations will likely turn away from the presidential race and towards efforts to put the Senate in GOP hands."

Michael Farris, a grass roots conservative organizer told CNN, "...I don't know what he could say to me that would make me feel better...," Romney's "propensity to change his story" on issues important to social conservatives, like abortion, is a problem."

This presidential election will be much closer than it was in 2008. The Real Clear Politics national average shows Obama with a slight edge, 46 percent to Romney's 44 percent. Both Rasmussen and Gallup have the race as a tie. The latest Mason-Dixon poll has Romney 47 percent Obama 44 percent.