The undecided candidate

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So far, my personal strategy for surviving the campaign seems to be working. I have not yet seen a televised campaign advertisement, though thousands have been aired, costing somebody hundreds of millions of dollars. They missed me, though, because I turned off my television back when the Republicans started racing each other to the bottom in their debates.

No, I haven’t watched the recent debates, either, since they seemed to be staged campaign advertisements, and I really need more substance in my diet. Comparing each candidate’s written policy proposals, though, I’m getting a clearer idea of where I should target my vote.

Commentators have been focusing upon the undecided voter as somehow the key to this election, but I think this attention misses a very important point. I’m suspecting that the undecided candidate might have more influence. His shifting positions interest me.

Seems it was necessary to race the other Republicans to somewhere near the bottom just to win that party’s nomination. This was a particularly tough time for historically moderate Mr. Romney, who looked like he’d switched shorts with a porcupine through most of it.

Once Mr. Prickly’d secured the nomination, though, he didn’t immediately moderate, still promising stuff no president’s actually authorized to do, like cancel duly legislated laws, but these positions jazzed up his base.

Except, then it began to appear that this jazzable base wasn’t quite broad enough, and Mr. Romney found it convenient to expand and moderate and entirely shift his earlier positions until in the last week or so, he’s standing firmly on the Me Too Ticket, mere principle being, apparently, way over-rated.

This seems a cynical bet, though who could disapprove of a chief executive who, as long as I don’t check more than once a week or so, seems to hold exactly the positions I told that pollster I held ... that Tuesday.

It’s been a while since this great nation was led by a windsock matching Gov. Romney’s skill, so I’m feeling disoriented at the prospect. I can rest assured that the CEO of the USA will publicly agree with me on Tuesdays, anyway.

n the other hand, I’ve always felt it healthy to sometimes agree to disagree. By the time Mr. Romney decides what he stands for, I suspect he will have already lost the race to the top.

David A. Schmaltz

former Walla Walla resident

Takoma Park, Md.

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