Ahhhh....Mulitple Choice Mitt, you just flipped flopped your way out of a supporter.
In the 2012 presidential race, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is make-or-break for Mitt Romney, and to win it, Romney's campaign will need the savviest operatives it can find. But Team Romney will have to go without one key player: Bruce Keough. The New Hampshire Republican who oversaw Romney's 2008 campaign in the Granite State says he's no longer sure what Romney stands for.
In an interview with Mother Jones, Keough, a businessman, says he declined an offer join Romney's 2012 effort and instead is sizing up other potential candidates, including Indiana governor Mitch Daniels and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. A former gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire, Keough says Romney's wishy-washy political identity and inability to stake out firm, consistent positions as a candidate were the reasons for his decision to cut ties with Romney. "He struggled with that in the last campaign," Keough explains, "and to some extent I think he's still struggling with it."
Keough isn't the only one who thinks Romney has an identity problem. In early March, the former Massachusetts governor gave a major speech at a Lincoln Day dinner in New Hampshire. His performance was later dubbed "Romney 3.0." The first version, or Romney 1.0, was the candidate who successfully ran for governor in 2002 as a social moderate who touted his business acumen. Then, in the 2008 presidential race, Romney moved to the right, especially on hot-button social issues like abortion and stem cell research. That was Romney 2.0. And finally there's Romney 3.0, the latest iteration, a business-centric candidate willing to lose the necktie and hang out at NASCAR races. It's this ever-changing persona that soured Keough on Romney. "I don't think the voters are looking for somebody who's going to be recasting himself," he says. "They want somebody who's been true to a certain set of political ideals for a while."
Personally, I think this will be less of a problem with the tea party voters Mitt is trying to woo now. Their memories are short and their support appears dependent on simply playing to some fairly basic talking points. I bet they don't even realize that the "Obamacare" they despise is basically Romneycare federalized. However, you can't win on tea party support solely and therein is where Mitt runs into problems. He's been so all over the map (hence the name Multiple-choice Mitt) that I think he scares the party establishment because they don't think they can depend on him to stay reliably conservative.
Perhaps because of this hiccup to his "momentum" to his campaign, Romney has declined to participate in the upcoming Republican debate. Or maybe he'll changed his mind later...you never know with Mitt.