Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Ever Changing Mitt Romney

Posted by Adam Graham on March 5, 2007

Most people get up in the morning and change their clothes. Mitt Romney does the same thing with his political viewpoints, which brings me with a sense of trepidation to Clayton Cramer’s recent post on the presidential campaign:

Yeah, yeah, I know, a lot of people say that he’s a liberal. You wouldn’t know it from this speech. I look forward to seeing a bit more of what Romney has to say. Maybe he really is a closet liberal, and is just talking conservative now–I don’t know.

There are a lot of people who aren’t comfortable with having a Mormon in the White House. All things being equal, yes, I would be more comfortable with someone who is a bit closer to my religious beliefs. But the First Amendment provides sufficient protection against establishment of religion or violations of my freedom of worship.

What I do know is that those who insist that no Christian should vote for a Mormon for high public office had better come up with a Christian alternative that conservatives can vote for, and very quickly. Above all, if someone argues that Christians should not vote for a Mormon because of their rather…unique religious beliefs, then they better supply us a viable candidate who actually manages to live his Christianity.

I have the utmost respect for Clayton Cramer, but on this issue, he’s wrong and a lot of conservatives with him. Mitt Romney is a rare breed of politician. Some politicians will change their views on abortion or gun control to win. Mitt can adopt an entire new set of core values in record time. 

The issue with Mitt is certainly not his religion. Indeed, had his politics lined up with conservative values we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But we are.

The Real Romney

In 2004 Romney signed a permenent assault weapons ban. Mitt Romney then decided to join the NRA in August, 2006 before the primaries got under the way to court the pro-gun vote.

Romney in 1994 when running for US Senate in Massachusetts on abortion:

"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain it and support it." Boston Globe, Oct. 26, 1994. (Original article for sale at boston.com)

Romney, today claims to be pro-life, but Rich Lowry suggests that Romney is better not talking about how he came to that view. And Romney’s story of his change is disputed by people involved: 

Romney says he changed his mind in November 2004, when he met with a scientist from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Romney claimed in a June 2006 interview that the researcher had told him: "’Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days.’" Romney went on to say that both he and his chief of staff had an epiphany, recognizing that embryonic stem cell research cheapened respect for human life. However, the scientist with whom Romney had met, Dr. Douglas Melton, disputed Romney’s story. A spokesman for the institute confirmed Dr. Melton’s account, saying, "The words ‘kill’ and ‘killing’ are not in Dr. Melton’s professional vocabulary, a vocabulary used to discuss finding cures for diseases in order to save lives."

So, what about gay rights? Boston Globe reports:

Bay Windows, the Boston-based gay and lesbian newspaper, republished excerpts from an August 1994 interview the paper did with Romney during his campaign against Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In the interview, Romney said it should be up to states to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage and he criticized Republican "extremists" who imposed their positions on the party.

"People of integrity don’t force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have," Romney is quoted as saying.

He promised to be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy. In 2002, he ran for Governor with the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans. Now he’s the defender of traditional values.

Now he’s declaring himself the champion of the Bush Tax Cuts when he opposed them while weighing a gas tax increase. 

He was for campaign finance reform, now against it.

He was a man who was an Independent from the Reagan-Bush years, now his hero is Ronald Reagan

In 1994, Romney stated that he voted for Paul Tsongas because he was closer to Tsongas than Clinton on the issues, in 2006 it all became a tactical method for him to hurt Clinton so that Tsongas would win in the Fall.

That covers most of the flip flops. But there’s another thing to consider: history as laid out by Mr. Oatney:

His family has a history of waging war against conservative ideas. George Romney (Governor of Michigan) joined with New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to wage war against conservatives at the 1964 Republican National Convention-fortunately, they lost.

There are two possible conclusion to reach from this:

1)  Mitt Romney has undergone one of the most remarkable sincere  transformations in the history of mankind, flipping on all the issues to match up with conservative primary voters entirely by accident.

2) Mitt has chosen to transform himself into "the Conservative" and has adopted all of his brand-spanking new positions as a matter of convenience.

The latter seems more believable, but eiven if the former were true, it would not leave me uncomfortable, as Mitt Romney’s "sincere changes" don’t appear to be over. The most we could ever say is, "He means what he says and says what he means (at the moment.)" but what you elect and what you get can be two different things.

Certainly, I understand the concern about a good solid candidate, but there are far better, far more stable folks in this race than Mitt Romney. Any candidate whose name isn’t McCain or Giuliani has a leg or two up on Mitt Romney.

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4 Responses to “The Ever Changing Mitt Romney”

  1. Jay [Visitor] said

    Couldn’t care less about those flip flops. I’m personally ambiguous about those issues myself. But the place where he really shines is the fiscal conservatism. I trust the federal budget in Mitt’s hands more than I trust it with any other candidate.

    I hope the GOP nominates him. I’ll be voting for him in the primary.

    I hope the hard core conservatives vote for him too though. If he changed his mind, you can still look at his record, and I don’t think the hard core pro life people have anything to complain about when they look at his record. He lines up pretty well for conservatives in terms of the actions he took when he actually governed.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Speaking of which he flip flopped on his own big government health care plan which is already costing more than $150 million. He’s flip flopped on taxes. Those are fiscal issues.

    How can you know anything this guy is saying is sincere or real?

  3. I think that his Mormon faith will be an obstacle to him getting any widepread support, regardless of his politics. Personally, I don’t care about it, but a lot of Evangelical Protestants would probably make an issue out of it.

  4. Adam Graham [Member] said

    I think there may be people who vote against him for Mormonism, but you certainly don’t have to be anti-Mormon to find a problem with his record.

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