A new day, a new position for Mitt Romney on an extension of the payroll tax cut. Previously, Romney dismissed the cut as a “temporary little Band-Aid," saying he desired a fundamental economic restructuring. But that was October. In November he was noncommittal and it's currently December, when Mitt Romney supports a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut that President Obama is furiously pushing in an effort to boost consumer spending.
“I would like to see the payroll tax cut extended just because I know that working families are really feeling the pinch right now — middle-class Americans are having a hard time,” Romney said Monday on Michael Medved’s conservative radio talk show.
The Democratic National Committee wrote in a press release that, “Now that public support has increased for an extension of the payroll tax cut, Mitt Romney is jumping on the bandwagon once again to support a plan he previously opposed." Basically, Romney changes his jacket to meet the current climate.
Enter spokeswoman Andrea Saul of the Mitt spin machine, who said that "Mitt has never met a tax cut he doesn’t like but we’re going to need more permanent job creating incentives in order to turn around the economy." For those keeping score, that's support coupled with a jab. On the other side, Ben LaBolt of the Obama reelection campaign seized at the flip-flop, stating, “Mitt Romney’s position on the payroll tax cut makes a tilt-a-whirl look steady.”
This ungraceful shifting is a manifestation of the Democrats' wise, but delayed, decision to push for the extension, as Jonathan Chait has written. The push leaves Romney and the GOP in a precarious position: oppose Obama and popular sentiment or accede to Obama's demand to get it done before year's end.
But for Romney, the right position is easy: Find the jacket that best fits the moment.