Mitt Romney loves to talk about “leadership,” but to borrow a line, though he keeps using that word, I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.
This morning, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, which Romney heralded as a “model” for the nation during the Republican primaries. Romney is in Arizona today, and a lot of folks – including his own supporters – would like to know what he thinks of the ruling.
Here’s the Romney campaign’s official statement in response to the high court ruling.
“Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty – and the right – to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”
This one paragraph helps highlight so much of that’s wrong with Romney’s approach to campaigning for the presidency. He managed to say 104 words about a Supreme Court ruling, without actually taking a side – I know no more about Romney’s beliefs on this after reading his statement than I did before reading it.
The irony is almost jaw-dropping. Romney is certain we need a president “who will lead” on immigration policy, while at the exact same time, Romney refuses to lead on immigration policy. Put it this way: refusing to take a stand because one constituency or another might get angry isn’t leadership; it’s cowardice (and for the Republican presidential hopeful, it’s far too common).
This as an opportunity for Romney to step up and prove he’s ready to lead, but he lacks the intestinal fortitude to do so.
Apparently, voters are supposed to believe Romney will will lead on immigration, right after they vote for him. And where, exactly, will he lead the nation to? Presumably he’ll let us know once he’s in office.
As for the notion that President Obama has “failed to provide any leadership on immigration,” Romney have missed the news from two weeks ago, when Obama led on immigration. The Republican added that we’ve been waiting for years for Obama to “present an immigration plan,” but that’s demonstrably false – the comprehensive plan was released more than a year ago.
Update: A campaign press aide told reporters that Romney will have “no further comment” on today’s court ruling, and will not address the issue in person.