The panel on The Chris Matthews Show this weekend engaged in a debate that we've been hearing all over by the media, which is whether the Obama campaign would be better off portraying Mitt Romney as a flip flopper who has been on every side of the issues, or as a "severe conservative" which is the angle it appears they have chosen to take now.
Most of them agreed that the flip flopper angle could actually help Mitt Romney because it allows voters to believe that if elected, Romney might actually govern as some sort of "moderate." Sadly what is ignored during this debate is just what the media defines as "moderate" these days, which has moved so far to the right it's absolutely ridiculous. Just because Romney once professed to be pro-choice, or because he supported a center-right health care plan in his state, that doesn't mean he did not govern as a conservative in Massachusetts.
And other than Chris Matthews who hinted at it when talking about how John Boehner has been reined in by his base as Speaker of the House and forced to move to the extreme right, the panel mainly ignored the fact that if we're unfortunate enough to have Romney elected, his base and the Congress are going to keep a tight rein on him and he's going to govern from the far right no matter how much he tries to soften some of his rhetoric on the campaign trail.
The Republican Party has purged anyone that could remotely be considered an actual moderate from their ranks a long time ago. Romney has been running as an extremist in order to placate his base and get through the primary race. I cannot picture him pushing back at that base or at the extremists in his party in the Congress if he's elected and has any desire to be reelected.
The arguments about the flip flopper benefiting him only work if you ignore what's happened to the Republican Party and the constraints that would be put on him as president by his party were he elected.