If Mitt Romney wants to become president, he will need the votes of independents and women. In other words, he needs to distance himself from the extreme wingnuttery of the Republican Party. Specifically:
He should shut down the birthers.
Just as John McCain told a woman in a 2008 town hall meeting that Barack Obama was not a Muslim, Romney must unequivocally assert that the President’s birth certificate, which has been a public record for some time, is genuine and that Obama was born in Hawaii.
He should recognize gender equality.
Romney’s refusal to answer whether or not he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Act that guarantees equal pay for equal work is surprising. If he’s to be a viable candidate and garner women’s votes, he should make his position clear and not leave people guessing. And he should denounce Ted Nugent’s anti-woman rhetoric.
He should stop pretending to be one of us.
Being part of the wealthy elite does not disqualify him from running. He should acknowledge his wealth and stop trying to be a NASCAR fan or pretend to be a blue collar Joe.
As is usually the case, this election will be determined on fundamental economic issues. That’s where the debate should concentrate. Ancillary issues like birtherism detract from the important discussions.
Now, I’m all for Barack Obama in 2012. Remember the last CEO president we had? He brought the nation and world to the brink of economic collapse. But Romney owes it to the nation and his party to put the distracting issues to bed and focus on what’s really important.