Which Mitt Romney is the real Mitt Romney?

We ask that question because the Republican presidential nominee has apparently drawn even with incumbent Democrat Barack Obama in the race for the White House. And off his 4-year record, we know that what we hear from Obama – even if we don’t always like it – is what we get. Not so with his challenger.

There’s the Mitt Romney of the presidential debate stage with Obama, who projected a “moderate” image. There’s the Mitt Romney of his tenure as Massachusetts governor, when he worked across the aisle with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and the Democratic legislature to enact a statewide health insurance reform plan that looks suspiciously like the “Obamacare” Romney now denounces on the campaign trail.

And there’s the Mitt Romney of behind closed doors, who also tried to kill collective bargaining rights for Massachusetts public safety workers, six years before Wisconsin’s Right Wing GOP Gov. Scott Walker carried out the same scheme. Romney failed; Walker didn’t.

There’s the Mitt Romney of the infamous fundraiser in ritzy Boca Raton, Fla. That Romney told his rich pals and donors that 47% of the country views itself as “victims,” who depend on government and that he doesn’t care about them.

And there’s the Mitt Romney of yet another closed-door speech to his corporate cronies, in this case the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). His speech, which the Utility Workers posted on their website, is so full of anti-worker anti-union promises that it makes clear that Romney lives in a different world from the rest of us.

Among his schemes, Romney would cut workers’ wages by dumping project labor agreements and repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, which prevents shady contractors from undercutting honest builders when both seek government-paid work. The corporate crooks would win by paying rock-bottom wages, not Davis-Bacon’s prevailing area wages, with no benefits.

No wonder the ABC, a right wing front group, applauded Romney, endorsed him and is dumping tens of thousands of dollars into his campaign.

Sure, Obama has had his closed-door “real” moments too, particularly the one in 2008 where he said bitter rural voters cling to guns and God rather than voting their pocketbooks. Indeed, it’s Obama’s statement, and what he learned from it after it was revealed, that lead us to conclude the closed-door Romney is the real Romney.

After all, like Obama, Romney was speaking to his big givers – and big givers matter more to Mitt. They’re his class and his backers. They’re the corrupt financiers of Wall Street and Boca Raton who plunged the nation and the world into the Great Recession, smashing the rest of us while they walked, and still walk, away with millions.

They’re the ABC and the rest of the radical right who scheme to impose their anti-worker ideology on the U.S. and the world, reducing us all to their serfs and slaves.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” says the fake wizard when Dorothy pulls back the drapery in The Wizard Of Oz. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” say apologists for Romney. Dorothy didn’t. Neither should we.

Photo: In this video framegrab from a May 17, Mitt Romney speaks at a $50,000-a-plate Florida fundraiser.  Romney told donors that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes and believe they are entitled to extensive government support. “My job is not to worry about those people,” he said.  Mother Jones Video/AP


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.