Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see Mitt Romney morph from a self-described “severe conservative” into the reasonable, if somewhat aggressive, pro-business moderate who showed up to debate President Obama on Wednesday night. Unswerving fealty to principle has never been Romney’s thing. Still, the effect was striking. The New Romney, unlike the old, looked like someone who could plausibly threaten Obama’s hold on the White House.
His strongest issue was the one that matters most in this election: jobs and the economy. The Old Romney contemptuously dismissed 47 percent of the country as lazy freeloaders who would never amount to anything. His prescription for growth was built upon tax cuts and lots of them, maintaining the Bush marginal rates, and slashing an additional 20 percent on top of that. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center determined that his plan would cost $5 trillion in forgone revenue over 10 years.