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Many people (such as independents and moderates) seem to think Mitt Romney was putting on an act during the primaries to court the severely conservative bloc and will etch-a-sketch his way to moderation once the general election rolls around. I have heard a voter interviewed saying she's waiting for Romney to say he's a centrist so she can vote for him this time, after having voted for Obama in 2008.

In his article 'Real Romney, Real Scary'Steve Benen warns us that this is indeed the 'real' Romney (as real as this fabrication can be) and that the moderate Romney of Massachussetts was the one play-acting for political gain. A Romney presidency would not inch the country to the right but rather take a severe lurch in that direction.

The likelier scenario is that the presumptive GOP nominee didn’t just adopt a few conservative positions during the primaries to satisfy assorted party constituencies.

Romney has actually become the most far-right major party nominee in generations, eager to make the Reagan and Bush presidencies look almost liberal by comparison.

This goes beyond just individual issues; there’s an underlying philosophy here. Americans have become accustomed to gradual, almost imperceptible, shifts in the nation’s larger ideological trajectory. Politics, the pundits say, is played “between the 40 yard lines.” Democratic eras inch the country slowly to the left, while Republican eras nudge the country to the right, but in nearly all cases, the basic framework of American society and the relationship between the populace and their government doesn’t change too dramatically, at least not quickly.

The presumptive Republican nominee aims to set the nation on a very different course early next year.  The general consensus about the social contract has been fairly reliable since the days of the New Deal, but Romney intends to rewrite it. A press secretary for the Republican National Committee recently said Romney and his party would pursue the policies of the Bush administration, “just updated.” Democrats rejoiced — it meant they could tell voters Romney would simply represent Bush’s third term. But in important ways, they’re both wrong. Romney is more extreme. Those quietly hoping that he doesn’t mean what he says are making a sucker’s bet.
 

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston called Romney's agenda 'George Bush on steroids', aiming as it does to rewrite the New Deal.

He goes on to say

To be sure, in the coming months, Romney and his team will frequently feign moderation. And he knows how not to seize on cultural and social wedge issues like, say, Rick Santorum. But a coat of centrist paint can only partially cover up genuinely right-wing substance.
And lists example after example proving his point:
Romney has promised to [make the Bush tax cuts permanent and add a 20% tax cut on top of that] even as he plans to dramatically increase military spending — one of the biggest chunks of the budget, aside from Medicare and Social Security. How the math adds up is anyone’s guess. But to appreciate just how much further to the right Romney is than all modern GOP presidents, taxes are just the beginning.

On health care, the presumptive Republican nominee intends to begin his first day by eliminating the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.  Independent experts have analyzed similar plans [to Romney's] and concluded the nation could expect to see the number of uninsured soar.

On Medicare, Romney has vowed to end the program’s guaranteed benefit altogether and replace the existing structure with a voucher system

Romney isn’t even sure whether to accept the basics of climate science

On immigration, Romney has completely abandoned the moderation of recent Republican leaders. Romney has also vowed to reject the DREAM Act for young immigrantsa policy that had been co-written by once-moderate Republicans,

because a Romney administration would cut Pell Grants and dramatically scale back the federal role in helping young Americans afford higher education. Such measures would have been considered ridiculous under Reagan and the Bushes.

Modern Republican Presidents supported Planned Parenthood funding; Romney has vowed to “get rid of” the women’s health and abortion rights organization

Recent GOP administrations at least paid lip service to aiding the poor and left of the modern welfare state largely intact;

The man has spent a year showing the American electorate a road map, pointing at a distant, radical destination. Only the deliberately blind could miss the signals, and only a fool would assume he’ll change direction once he’s in power.
Mitt Romney, while trying to paint Obama as the extremist, fringe figure, is out of the mainstream.  The Obama campaign seems to be targeting their focus on this aspect of the campaign and intends to keep portraying him as a severe conservative.
After months of casting Republican Mitt Romney as someone who often changes positions for political convenience, President Barack Obama's campaign is calling Romney a far-right conservative - a contradictory set of messages that essentially invites voters to decide what they don't like about Romney.
I would say this is the right direction to take. Mitt Romney wants to be 'severely conservative'? Go for it.

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