Roger Ebert is depressed about Mitt Romney

In a blog post, the noted film critic wonders:

After reversing himself on the central issues of the campaign, Romney’s standing went up in the polls. How? Why? Were the members of the electorate paying absolutely no attention to the campaign? Were they responding only to the general opinion that Romney “won” the debate? Is winning, in the pro football truism, now the only thing?

Something that puzzled me is that there were no howls of protest from the Right. Romney now presented himself as the advocate of positions hated by the Right, and there wasn’t a squeak of protest from the conservatives who have been excoriating Obama on the same issues. Did they all reach a common consensus that if it was necessary for Romney to lie, then let him lie? The Right has been advising him for months to be true to conservative issues. That wasn’t working. Now he was being true to liberal issues.

The silence from the Right reminded me of another deafening quiet when there should have been a response recently. On the infamous tape of Romney addressing a room filled with his millionaire and billionaire backers, he essentially wrote off 47% of the American electorate. But not long after, in an interview on Fox News, Romney rolled that back, saying “I said something that’s just completely wrong.”

The rich men in that room presumably pledged a fortune to the Romney campaign chest. Were any of them offended that Romney no longer agreed with what he told them? We haven’t heard from them.

Obama continues in the Presidential campaign in possession of his own lifelong principles. Romney now seeks the luxury of running on both his principles–and Obama’s. What depresses me is that the polls suggest the electorate isn’t alert enough to realize that. What allows me hope is that, given a little time, I trust the American people will figure this one out.

I’m not so sure. Sometimes I wonder if, to be a pundit or a public figure in the United States, it is a prerequisite to express platitudes assuring the world of the inherent wisdom of the average American voter. I mean, hasn’t Ebert lived here long enough to know better?

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