Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Mitt Romney’s dead heat with Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses bolstered the media narrative that Mitt Romney may not be conservative enough for Republican primary voters. This characterization serves Romney well. His rivals carve up each other, hoping to emerge as the conservative “alternative” to Romney. And vast swaths of the media discount his reactionary views, anticipating his “pivot” to more moderate positions once the nomination is secured. In reality, Romney is a remarkably reactionary candidate, camouflaged in corporate pinstripes.
On social issues, Romney embraces all of the right’s litmus tests. He pledges to repeal President Obama’s health-care reform, even though it was modeled on the plan Romney signed as Massachusetts governor. He favors repealing Roe v. Wade, outlawing women’s right to choose. He supports an amendment to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional. He’s for building a fence on the US-Mexican border, opposes any path to legal status for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country and rails against the Texas policy to offer in-state college tuition for the children of undocumented workers. Advised on legal matters by the reactionary crank Robert Bork, he repeatedly calls for more judges in the activist right-wing tradition of the gang of four—Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito.
On national security, he is far more bellicose than former ambassador Jon Huntsman and somewhat to the right of Newt Gingrich. He says he’d add 100,000 troops and hundreds of billions of dollars to the military budget. He promises war with Iran if it proceeds toward a nuclear weapon. He joins George W. Bush in claiming that waterboarding is not torture.
But it is on economic policy where Romney’s extremism is most apparent—the extremism of the 1 percent, reflecting the zealotry of a former corporate raider at Bain Capital who made his fortune preying on US companies.
Editor’s Note: Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.