Let's assume for a minute that the new Mitt Romney, the one that debated Barack Obama last week, is the real Mitt Romney; or, at least, a version he'd stick with as president for long enough to be meaningful. You know, before his billionaire bankrollers call him on the carpet and tell him to stop all this reasonable regulatory stuff, this support for education and sudden willingness to hire teachers, this getting rid of (as yet unspecified but probably not Cayman-Island-related) tax loopholes. Let's assume, based on his sudden and complete metamorphosis, he'd be nearly as middle of the road as Barack Obama has been, will reach across the aisle as Obama tried, but would find Democrats reaching back as they always have and as today's Rs haven't and never will as long as it's the black guy in the white house.

Let's assume all that. We might as well assume that the earth will start rotating backwards, but let's anyway. I'd still never vote for the guy, and not just because of his lying about himself and his opponent and saying whatever he thought his audience of the moment wanted to hear, no matter how it contradicted his last utterances. It's because of today's Republican party, the party of teabaggerism, the party of denialism, of Christianism (amazing link!) and theocracy. The party that hates science (the speaker  in that link is on the House science committee, ferchissakes!, and to my shame is an MD), wants to convert public education into Sunday school. Elects people that like slavery, who believe Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Nazi America-hater. Louie Gohmert, Virginia Foxx, Allen West, Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and dozens of back benchers who probably believe even worse things but haven't figured out how to get the attention.

I don't care what Mitt Romney believes (which is convenient, because he obviously believes nothing.) His party elects idiots and zealots and crazy people. To vote for anyone who proudly calls him- or herself a Republican today, who hasn't in some way repudiated these nutjobs in Congress, is to enable them. It's to cede our future path to people like that, tacitly or otherwise; because if they were to get their way -- and Mitt Romney is nothing if not an amoral panderer to whomever he sees as momentarily useful -- we'll be on our way to becoming (we're already on our way: it's just a question of whether we get there) a perverted version of a Christian nation where expertise is rejected out of hand, science is considered the work of the devil, where money is sequestered in the hands of a powerful few whose only interest is in the maintenance of that wealth to the exclusion of all else; where education is ignored, health care is unaffordable by most, and college is reserved for the wealthy and the connected. Where women are forced to bring unwanted embryos to term but the babies are abandoned and ignored by society, sexual preference is a matter of law, and non-natives of any color are unwelcome under any circumstances.

There's no mystery about it, nor are the preceding claims unfounded: it's evident in everything those people say. I've actually voted for Republicans in the past; there's one running for governor of my state whose election I wouldn't consider a total disaster. (Partial. Not total.) But until the Republican party rids itself of those hate-filled and proudly ignorant troglodytes, there's no way I could vote for any member of that party at any level of government. I like living here too much, am too committed to seeing this country survive as a functioning entity, one that holds a future for my kid and, if it happens, his, too.

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