In March of 2012, the Romney campaign had a serious misstep when the candidate’s senior campaign adviser said that the general election is like an Etch A Sketch.
"I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes," Eric Fehrnstrom said. "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum jumped on the comment as very revealing of the leading problem with the prospect of a Romney nomination.
Santorum tweeted a photo of himself with an Etch A Sketch showing him "studying up on [Romney's] policy positions." Gingrich brought out an Etch A Sketch at a campaign appearance and said, according to CNN, "You have to stand for something that lasts longer than this.” He went on to say that the comment shows the real reason more voters distrust Romney.
Romney, like Donald Trump, got a lot of heat from conservatives for being insufficiently principled—compounded by videos of his former positions.
Being crudely divisive isn’t political incorrectness
How similarly the Etch A Sketch incident compares to what Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview with Greta Van Susteren: “I will be changing very rapidly, I’m very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.”
Trump’s comment was in response to a question about his temperament and language on the campaign trail, seemingly promising to “rapidly” change course as the field winnows. He’ll supposedly change his divisive tactics as he gets “closer to the goal.” But he has said that in the past.
In October, he told George Stephanopoulos, “I’m being divisive right now because I want to win.”
Then in December, Trump sounded conciliatory, telling Jimmy Kimmel, "I would like to see the Republican Party come together, and I've been a little bit divisive in the sense of hitting people hard."
Of course that is again not the honest truth. Hitting people hard on the substance of their policies and ideas wouldn’t be divisive; it would be drawing attention to political differences, not making personal smears. Calling them losers, maniacs, dumb, morons and other vulgarities is smearing their reputation and belittling them, which is quite simply schoolyard bullying that should earn the bully a fat lip. Being crudely divisive for the sake of winning does not a uniter make. Being crudely divisive isn’t political incorrectness; it’s conduct unbecoming a candidate seeking the most powerful solemn office in the world.
Trump’s ability to change rapidly to suit his needs is pretty much why he earned the endorsement of the worst president pre-Obama. Since Trump has been changing his positions and showing his general disregard for principle, Jimmy Carter endorsed him because, “Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable.” Carter said he doesn’t think Trump has “any fixed [positions] he’d go the White House and fight for.”
How else can you interpret his eagerness to get along with the worst leftist Democrats and make deals? How else can you explain his support to repeal Obamacare, but put in its place a universal system of socialized medicine paid for by taxpayers? How else do you explain his demand to put up a wall, while his immigration policy is pro-amnesty? That he’s beholden to no one but has given money to the worst politicians who then were there for him? That he doesn’t have a problem with politicians because he makes a lot of money off of them? That he’s running against the establishment, but has said, “We have to go a little establishment,” or that he’s against gun control, but for banning “assault weapons” and lengthening waiting periods? Especially since every time he speaks, he tells you to believe him.
The rapid change from partial birth abortion to pro-life happened, but hey, that’s the thing about Etch A Sketch candidates, you can always shake them up and redraw.
The fact is, Donald Trump doesn’t have the decency to tell his voters how he is going to sell them down the river, but at least now they were told he’s going to ahead of time.
Trump’s Etch A Sketch is shaken all the time in this campaign, and conservatives who faulted Romney for being for something and then, a short time later, against it, ought to wake up and see that the way Trump is running his campaign is a slap in the face to not just decency but memory.
To Trump apologists everywhere: It has been said that the American people have a long memory, and Donald Trump just told you that not only are you dumb and crude, but you’ll forget what he said two seconds ago. In short, he’s calling you all a bunch of nitwits.
Trump is admitting he’s a candidate that tells you what he’s going to do, then tells you he is capable of changing into anything that suits his needs.
Jen Kuznicki is a contributor to Conservative Review, blue collar, wife, mom, political writer, humorist, conservative activist, a seamstress by trade, and compelled to write. Follow her on Twitter @JenKuznicki.