Some of the people pumping serious money into the Romney campaign believe, fundamentally, that Mitt Romney is lying (or, to be polite, misrepresenting himself) to Republican Party primary voters.
Simply put, there is no other reasonable conclusion to take from today's Politico article entitled "Green donors bet on Mitt Romney flip-flop" than that Mitt Romney, in the eyes of key contributors, is a Super Gumby of flexibility when it comes to core policy arenas.
Julian Robertson, founder of the Tiger Management hedge fund, has given $1.25 million to Romney's Restore our Future Super PAC. In recent years, he has given $60 million to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) which certainly could help explain his position on the EDF Board. When asked about the contradiction between Robertson's serious funding of efforts to support cap & trade as a path to tackle climate change, Robertson spokesman Fraser Seitel had this to say:
"The reasons he's supporting Romney are very simple. In his view, Romney is smart enough, moral enough and fit enough to run the country ... In terms of the environment and climate change controls, which he does believe is one of the most important issues the country and the world faces, he has confidence that Romney, once he's in there, will do the right thing."
Yes, according to Seitel, Romney's demeaning of climate science and dismissal of the need to take serious action to mitigate against catastrophic climate chaos is to be ignored as pandering to the Republican primary voter because, once in the Oval Office, "Romney ... will do the right thing."
Rob Sisson, president of Republicans for Environmental Protection, put it this way:
"I really get the sense from him and the folks around him with whom I've spoken that as president he'd really look at each situation, gather the data and really make a decision that's best for the country ... If that goes against the grain of how he's campaigning now, so be it. He's going to be driven by data and facts and not emotions and getting pushed into one corner by one faction of the party."
Putting aside the research work that has shown that such 'pandering' typically flows into positions when in office, there are those who articulate that Mitt Romney will do and say anything to win the primary -- and Mitt Romney will then flow into a different policy and political mode when the primary is done -- and Mitt Romney will then shift into yet a different way of looking and dealing with things if he moves from debate podium to behind the desk in the Oval Office. While rigid inflexibility in the face of evidence is foolhardiness and the ability to deal with evidence and evolve one's thinking is flexibility and adaptability, projecting this sort of shifting onto Mitt Romney is more appropriate to Gumby than what should be expected from serious political candidates for the most important political office on earth.
- Environmentalists (including EDF members): Climate Change is far from the only issue where Mitt Romney is at odds with science and at odds with 'environmentalists.' Mitt Romney, the candidate, is bashing the Environmental Protection Agency and is a promoter of the false thematic putting environment against the economy. Do Robertson and other "green donors" believe that Mitt Romney, if elected President, will strengthen the Federal Government's ability to foster energy efficiency (through, for example standard setting), protect America's fetuses from fossil fuel pollution, improve food safety, protect National Parks, and... Or, would President Mitt Romney provide an open door to the Republican House members who have established perhaps the worst energy and environmental record of any Congress in the history of the Republic?
- The Romney Campaign: Already besieged by challenges that Mitt Romney is a 'say anything, do anything' candidate pandering to the Republican right wing for the primary with an intent to govern differently, that key supporters (dastardly environmentalists, nonetheless) fundamentally believe this will reinforce this belief among many. Does candidate Mitt Romney gain from Republican primary voters believing that he will flip on core ideological issues if he wins the Republican nomination?
- Fossil Foolish Romney Backers: The Romney campaign and associated PAC have received significant funds from oil, natural gas, and coal interests. Do these people believe their man is bought or do they need to worry that people Robertson have the inside track and that Mitt Romney will listen to scientists rather than lobbyists on core issues?
- Tea-Hadists: Will this message that those who pay attention to scientists and are interested in a reality based development of policy options when it comes to climate change double-down their backing of anti-science syndrome suffering Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich? Already distressed by the prospects of Mitt Romney as 'their' nominee, will this help keep Tea-Hadists at home if Romney is the eventual Republican nominee?