Obama and Romney are actually quite similar.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Politics!
I'm going to look past that obvious -- that at some point Mitt Romney has held every policy belief Barack Obama currently has -- and instead go for the not-as-obvious:
1. Neither man has a home. They've both moved around considerably their whole lives. Obama's dad was born in Kenya; Romney's dad was born in Mexico.
2. Both had absent fathers growing up. Obama's parents divorced when he was two; Romney's dad was busy running American Motors so quiet young Mitt was an often-overlooked fourth child.
3. Both are Christian and regularly go to church.
4. Both went to elite private universities -- Columbia for Obama, Stanford for Romney -- and both have a degree from Harvard Law School.
5. Both believe in Goldman Sachs and have bet their careers on people from GS.
6. Both are wealthy beyond the dreams of most Americans; neither ever has to work again. Both are incredibly good at fundraising and each has several billionaire friends.
7. Both want to fix the job creation engine of the economy.
8. Both stand over six feet tall; height is important to perception of "Presidential".
9. Each has half the country that wants to see him win the 2012 election.
They differ on a few issues like taxing the rich, pro-life vs pro-choice, gay marriage, individual health care mandate, and Supreme Court appointees, but the bulk of their policies are likely to be similar, and they're both constrained in ability to get anything done thanks to a ridiculous Congress composition.
The two people I really wish I could vote out are John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Congress desperately needs new leadership.
It is hard to look past the flip-flopping and the lack of tax releases.
Eh, what are we going to learn from the tax releases besides the fact that he's even richer than we thought, and he paid even less in taxes than we thought? Those really don't make a difference: He's rich and uses his wealth to pay as little taxes as possible. We already knew that.
As for the flip flopping, perhaps that makes him more able to see all points of view. That certainly worked well for Clinton.
If you can trust the words coming out of his mouth, perhaps. I don't trust him. I think his moves are more calculation toward a personal end goal. I prefer to believe I share the vision of my leaders.
Does seeing all points of view then choosing the wrong side make a good leader?
No. But nobody says Romney is a good leader. They say he's good enough.
They also say that he's faithful, dedicated, and always pushing the legal limits while staying within them.
He also cares a lot about money, and he doesn't smoke or drink, which makes him a lot like George W. Bush.
I do think you're right that his main agenda is to:
1. Make sure market conditions stay great for the wealthy and for big businesses. In that sense he is self serving.
2. Legitimize the Mormon faith with mainstream America.
3. Drill the hell out of every natural resource he can -- oil, coal, and gas -- to push down energy prices in the short term.