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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's the matter with Mitt?

What does it say about a presidential candidate who is losing his home state by more than 20 points?

The national campaign is roaming far and wide from Massachusetts, where Real Clear Politics is showing Barack Obama swamping Mitt Romney by an average of 22.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the man who ended Romney and the GOP's 16-year reign in the Corner Office has emerged as one of the leading surrogates carrying the message about Romney and his short tenure as Bay State governor.

Which raises the question of why isn't anyone paying more attention to the folks who know Romney best?

Massachusetts, of course, has been stereotyped on the national stage (and in certain local newspapers) as home of the "loony left," unfit to offer guidance to "normal" Americans.

Yet until Romney arrived on the scene, Massachusetts voters had an affinity for bipartisanship, electing three Republicans as governor to counterbalance the Democratic legislature.

And Bay State voters as recently last year fell for a siren call of "bipartisanship" in the selection of Scott Brown for "The Kennedy Seat."

So despite the national tag as leftist nirvana -- a tag hung on the state because it opted for George McGovern over the only man to resign the presidency in disgrace -- Massachusetts can entertain politics that many would describe as mainstream.

And it's falling in and out of love with Mitt Romney is Example No. 1.

Romney collected just shy of 50 percent in a five-person race, besting Shannon O'Brien by almost 5 percent. That despite what now feels like standard concerns about his veracity on issues like where he made his home.

He remained fairly popular -- in part by playing down what he now claims are "severely conservative" roots.  He balanced budgets, as required by law,  by closing loophole and raising fees while insisting he never raised taxes.

And of course, he was part of a bipartisan coalition that passed a health care law that bears a strong resemblance to the one he now opposes.

The love affair ended after 2004, when Democrats turned out in big numbers to vote for John Kerry over George Bush. In the process, Team Romney, assembled to bring balance to the Democratic Legislature, managed to lose seats and Romney lost interest in his job for the final two years of his term.

The absentee governor then went gallivanting around the nation, trashing the state that elected him, in an effort to win a presidential nomination. The rest is history -- as reflected by the overwhelming defeat Romney appears headed to in one of his many "home" states.

So here's a suggestion America: you may think we're loony, but we're not. We actually elected this guy and are still regretting it. Massachusetts is offering you a warning sign you should heed.

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