Fri04182014

Opinion

Right-wingers hate Romney, but hate Obama more

What is interesting about the relationship of the extreme political Right to Mitt Romney is that they actually hate him. This is not speculation. If you review the language of the Republican primary season, it is clear that they actually despise him. They do not believe that he is a real conservative. They do not believe that he even has a belief system. Some of the so-called Christian elements do not trust his Mormonism. So, one could say that there is an alignment that should result in the extreme Right sitting out the election.

Except for one thing: They hate (Barack) Obama even more.

So, November 2012 is shaping up to be something similar to November 1968. The Goldwater Republicans at that time had no love for Richard Nixon. They saw him as much too soft. But Nixon was the candidate at the moment and the Right saw in Nixon cover in order to give them more time to move their agenda. They turned out to be quite successful, all things considered. Though the Watergate scandal got in their way, it did not block their road to power; it just delayed it.

Obama's re-election would be difficult under the best of circumstances, but he is not facing the best of circumstances. Though he prevented total economic collapse, his overall program of responding to the economic crisis has been weak. His healthcare reform, while truly historic, was a vast compromise and even with that faces the possibility of being blown up by the Supreme Court.

And internationally, though the U.S. has largely withdrawn from Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues, to name only two locations. This has demoralized much of Obama's base. What is worse is that that very same base was not mobilized by its leaders in the first two years of the Obama presidency to pressure the administration.

Karl Rove was quite correct in pointing out that the Romney road to victory, should it happen, is brought about through a demoralization of the Obama base. It is also the case that it comes through playing the race card and voter suppression tactics.

Yet it is the strategy of the political Right that is quite noteworthy. Their aim is to destroy the Obama presidency, but more importantly, to destroy the possibility of a two-party system. While it is absolutely the case that Obama has done all that he can do to save capitalism, and in that sense is nothing approaching a socialist, the political Right wants to remove obstacles to the extension and possible completion of their political agenda. Their attitude towards Romney, therefore, is an alliance of convenience rather than an alliance of trust and respect. He serves as their battering ram.

Therefore, do not rest any significant hope in a split on the Right because Romney is not the candidate that enthralls the Right (the way that the Right was taken with Ronald Reagan). All that the Right is concerned with at the moment is electing Romney, not re-electing Obama.

(NNPA columnist Bill Fletcher Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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