BE BRUTAL, BUT WITH BREEDING
So I read Bill Keller's op-ed about how wonderful centrism is, and it occurred to me that Keller is much more put off by Mitt Romney sounding like a right-wing nut than he is by the possibility that Romney would actually govern as a right-winger:
My hunch is that Romney will manage to shake off most of his extremist accouterments, because they never seemed to fit him. It is true that if elected, as I have written before, Romney would be obliged to tithe generously to the right, by choosing Supreme Court nominees of the Scalia/Thomas persuasion, for example, and by populating regulatory agencies with polluters and plunderers. But those concerns tend not to alter election outcomes. Even with pro-Obama super PACs painting him as a mean-spirited zealot, Romney should be able to recapture the old campaign aura of a moderate Mr. Fixit. He will certainly try.
Oh -- so he really ought to start seeming moderate any minute now, so pay no attention to the fact that he might appoint the justices who'll give us the next several decades' worth of Citizens United decisions, or oversee the aof the fox-guarding-the-henhouse regulators who'll look the other way while the next global economic crash happens. At least he'll talk moderate!
Later, Keller tells us that "Romney was unconvincing as a right-wing scourge" -- he's just assuming that Romney won't talk that way ever again, and he's blithely uninterested in the fact that Romney will pursue a right-wing-scourge agenda as president. Keller's not going to warn us that centrist rhetoric from Romney in the next few months will be extremely deceitful -- he's much more interesting in nudging Romney toward that false rhetorical centrism, because talking right-wing frightens the horses, even if it's would just be truth in advertising.