Throughout the Republican debate season, former front-runner Mitt Romney has been long on platitudes, but less specific on his positions within the Republican weltanschauung. Romney has tended to verbalize adopted positions with near universal acceptance within the G.O.P. and then contrast himself with President Obama.
Now with Newt Gingrich surging in multiple G.O.P. primary polls, the Mitt Romney campaign is being forced to take concrete stances—offer some ideological nuance—in order to differentiate himself from Newt. Will Mitt tack to the left? Will he cut back to the right?
Apparently, it is that latter. Today, during the daily Romney for President press conference call, Mitt went right-wing extreme. Sen. Jim Talent and Gov. John Sununu took up the case for Mitt, spinning his previously wishy-washy stance on the Ryan plan for Medicare into something concrete.
The Ryan plan would eliminate Medicare as it exists now and replace it with a voucher system. The plan would, more or less, privatize Medicare.
Gov. Sununu starts out criticizing Newt:
For Newt Gingrich, in an effort of self-aggrandizement, to come out and throw a clever phrase that has no other purpose than to make him sound a little smarter than the conservative Republican leadership, to undercut Paul Ryan, is the most self-serving, anti-conservative thing one can imagine happening. He gave the liberals and the Democrats the ammunition they needed to moot, if you will, at least for the time being, Paul Ryan’s presentation.
He then asserts Mitt’s support for the plan:
Mitt Romney supports what Paul Ryan did. He endorsed what Paul Ryan did. Mitt Romney had his own package of entitlement reform, which Paul Ryan has praised. They both meshed together. They are both based on really understanding entitlement reform.
and later on:
Paul Ryan’s plan which Mitt Romney supported is the solid basis for moving forward on entitlement reform. And Newt Gingrich not only rejected it then, but he rejected repeatedly by saying I was right what I said that it was wrong and the fact is that Newt Gingrich to this day still continues to undermine Paul Ryan.
Okay…Mitt Romney, 8 Dec 2011, is pro-Ryan plan. That is, Mitt supports eliminating Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system.
Remember this, folks, because if Mitt wins the nomination, he’s got some major Mitt-flopping to do. The public overwhelmingly rejects this radical plan. Mitt owns it now.
I believe you can envision the simple modifications needed for this ad: