Poor Rob Portman.  It’s not  enough that Mitt Romney ignored his faithful traveling companion in Ohio in choosing Paul Ryan as a running mate;  it’s not enough that the GOP right-wing is flapping hysterically because of his seismic  shift to support gay marriage; it’s not enough that the liberals have targeted him because of his opposition to background checks (and a lot of other things).

PortmanHandPortman,  the junior senator from Ohio – more accurately, the right-leaning Cincinnati area – has now become a noun and a verb.  As in :  Portmanization.   And Portmanize.  These are not words that have been pattering around the Net  in the kindest sense.   Rather, they refer to a political salvage  act  that represents fealty to a gay son but upgraded by him  in the most noble language of doing what’s right for everybody else, too.

When Rob tried to explain his gymnastic feat, he put it this way:

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.” (This is from a longtime opponent of same-sex marriage,)

Well, now. That’s what a lot of other people without gay sons have been saying for a long time.

And now the senator is Portmanizing his earlier stiff opposition to background gun checks by saying he actually favors  them.  He says he had supported the failed Grassley amendment that “reauthorized and improved the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

That one, among other things,would have restored gun rights to the mentally  ill who were believed to have recovered, thereby expanding the base of gun ownership.   Talking Points Memo quoted Peter  Schulman, a  Case Western Reserve University assistant professor of history who had written to Portman expressing his disapproval.    “He’s absolutely obfuscating his position,  Shulman told TPM.  “I think it’s completely misleading and it seems designed to mislead.”

Portman has extended his presence on Capitol Hill in blurry terms. At this point in his career, I guess I would have to put him  somewhere between two former Ohio Republican senators:  the colorless Robert A. Taft and the intrusively hard right John Bricker.   But Bricker did manage to make it to the national ticket as Tom Dewey’s running mate in 1944.  That ticket lost. The same would have been true for Portman’s dream for higher office.

Romney-ized, do you suppose?