‘Banking on the re-flip’

There is a school of thought, recently articulated by Nicholas Kristof among others, that says a vote for Mitt Romney may be a vote for the moderate agenda he’s forcefully rejected. As the argument goes, the former governor used to be a fairly sensible centrist, and if elected, he might abandon all the nonsense he’s pushed in the 2012 campaign.

I’ve struggled to understand why anyone would believe this, but reader F.B. flagged an interesting item this week out of New Hampshire that shed light on the subject.

Indeed, some voters seem to find that insincerity endearing. The New York Times’s Nick Confessore tweeted on primary day that he’d run into two voters in a row who “cited Mitt’s pro-choice views” and “said Romney had ‘flip-flopped’ on the issue but figured he would flip back.”

These were voters who supported Romney, Confessore wrote: They were “banking on the re-flip.”

Got that? Pro-choice voters supported an opponent of abortion rights, on purpose, working under the assumption that he doesn’t really believe his own rhetoric. Romney used to agree with those folks, then he flip-flopped, but they don’t much care — they’re “banking on the re-flip.”

At a certain level, the question voters have to ask is when they think Romney was lying — when he moved to the left to get elected in Massachusetts or when he moved to the right to get the Republican presidential nomination?

Obviously, it’d be a mistake to draw too many sweeping conclusions from a handful of New Hampshirites, but if these “banking on the re-flip” voters represent a large enough constituency, it would suggest the flip-flopper criticism isn’t the right strategy.

For the record, I think the “banking on the re-flip” voters are misguided. They’re counting on the Romney we see running for president now turning out to be a ridiculous phony, making irresponsible right-wing promises as part of an elaborate ruse. He’ll end the scam just as soon as the electorate has put the presidency in his hands.

Why anyone would want to support someone engaged in such deception is a mystery to me, but voting isn’t always rationale.