Hot off the digital press, Piers Morgan has penned – or rather, typed – a new article for the "Daily Mail," and in this post, he plays prognosticator, saying, in part:
With the general election now less than four weeks away, the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host noted that the man often classified as merely the strongest amongst a week group of GOP candidates, had suddenly powered his way ahead of incumbent Barack Obama, largely on the strength of his performance in Kentucky:
"It was his brilliant performance on Oct. 3 at the first of three presidential debates, where he scored the biggest win ever over an oddly downcast Obama, that propelled him into the favourite’s chair," Morgan explained.
Having interviewed the former Massachusetts Governor on multiple occasions, the British television presenter feels he has a handle of the candidate's character:
"He is a devout Mormon and takes his faith so seriously that he donates at least ten per cent of his income to the church every year – totalling tens of millions of dollars over the past two decades. The reason he can give away so much money is that he was a fantastically successful businessman, estimated to have made a $250 million fortune from his time running Bain, a venture-capital firm. In person, he’s charming, polite, friendly and solicitous. He’s also a great father and grandfather, according to his devoted sons, and a great husband, according to Ann, the woman who was his teenage sweetheart and who he’s helped nurse with deep compassion through her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis."
But amongst all the positives to Romney's personality, Morgan feels he's also identified one glaring political flaw:
"He’s also one of the least principled politicians I’ve ever encountered. There’s barely a big issue that Romney hasn’t switched his position on for apparent political expediency, earning him the nickname ‘Mr Flip Flop’. In fact, it’s hard to even recognise the new Mitt from the one who was a successful and popular Governor of Massachusetts. On abortion, he was once firmly pro-choice, now he’s equally firmly pro-life. On guns, he outlawed lethal assault weapons. Now he says they’re fine, despite a rash of horrific recent mass gun killings. On healthcare, he was the first governor to bring in a compulsory ‘mandate’ health insurance scheme. But when Obama did the same thing, he lambasted it as a terrible idea. He was also a huge fan of stem-cell research, but now he says he’s been ‘persuaded that the stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise."
Concluding that the 65-year-old politician has been forced to fluctuate over the years so as to become more electable – first within his own party, and now, in the race for the "White House" – Morgan points out that he's not the only one who's noticed:
"To widespread mockery, he said this week he wouldn’t seek any anti-abortion legislation if he became President, a direct contradiction of what he said at the start of the year. ‘Here’s old moderate Mitt!’ chortled former President Bill Clinton. ‘Where you been boy? . . . Just show up with a sunny face and say, "I didn’t say all that stuff I said for the last few years.”’"
Flip-flopper, or principled, it may not actually matter. Still mired in the midst of one of the worst financial crises in American history, voters figure to go to the polls more concerned with the stability of their bank account, than of their president:
"They just want to know which man, Romney or Obama, is going to revive the economy faster. Obama is not a hated figure among most Americans by any means, which is why he may still scrape home. But there’s definitely a distinct disillusionment about his performance, even among many of his diehard supporters," Morgan said. "The great messianic tidal wave of optimism Obama swept in on has been replaced by harsh reality. He promised Americans tremendous ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and, frankly, they don’t feel he’s given them much hope, or changed very much."
Crediting Obama with his achieved successes, i.e. "...ending the war in Iraq...saving the US car industry...killing Osama Bin Laden...supporting gay marriage," Morgan points out that both unemployment and the national debt have reached undesirably high levels. And this, he say, is why Romney may be able to keep Obama from securing a second term on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
"His track record as a businessman is better than almost any presidential candidate ever. He also almost single-handedly turned round the fortunes of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, after the organising committee turned to him desperate for help."
Less social than other politicians, but perhaps more driven, Morgan picked up a select slice of inside information in Tampa this summer:
"One senior Republican figure, a man widely tipped to run for President at a later date, told me during the party’s convention in August: ‘Mitt’s not the kind of guy you’d go for a beer with, mainly because he doesn’t drink beer. But he’s the kind of guy who gets stuff done.’"
With two more debates to come, there is plenty of political game still to be played. However, if the candidate continues to perform at a high level, he may soon have a new address, while Obama would be sent packing:
"There was great excitement around the world when America elected its first black President in 2008. The possible election of America’s first Mormon President will bring with it far lower expectations. But that may not be such a bad thing, for him, for America, or for the world. Especially if he actually gets stuff done."