It took some doing but Mitt’s just the man for the job!
Mitt Romney has been accused of flip-flopping on pretty much every single major policy position and issue that has been discussed in the presidential election. Abortion. Taxing the rich. Budget policy. Health insurance reform. Raising taxes on the middle class. You name a major issue and Mitt Romney has taken both sides at some point in the past decade.
What’s lost in this discussion is the fact that, by doing so, Mitt Romney hasn’t just appeased everyone. He’s also pissed off everyone. For every issue that is important to any particular group, he hasn’t just sided WITH you; he’s sided AGAINST you.
This is why his “favorables” are so pathetically low.
This week, Romney continued his move to the center, the Etch-A-Sketching we were promised during the Republican primary. He dialed back his anti-Choice position, sounding almost indifferent about rolling back the gains made in women’s reproductive health options since the 70s. He told the Des Moines Register editorial board, “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”
That’s a sharp contrast to his past statements on this issue. Here he is just last February:
I’m in favor of a pro-life policy. The legislation that relates to abortion which is something that is going to have to be approved by the Supreme Court and the key decisions I’ll take as the president will be number one, stopping funding for Planned Parenthood, re-instituting the Mexico City policy which says our funds can’t be used for abortion around the world and appointing justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the Constitution, hopefully reverse Roe v. Wade, and return to the states, the authority for making law with regards to abortion.
In fact, in June 2011, Mitt Romney issued an anti-Choice pledge. Here’s part of it:
I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.
I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.
As has happened so much lately, Romney said one thing on the campaign trail only to have his staff completely reverse his position immediately afterward. That happened with his anti-Choice statement this week:
After the Register interview was posted on the Web, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president.”
Later, she seemed to soften Romney’s statement to the Register.
“Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,” she told the AP.
Asked by The Times whether Romney’s position on abortion legislation had changed, Saul did not answer directly. Instead, she repeated her initial comment to the Associated Press: “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president.”
One of his staunchest supporters, Tony Perkins of the odious Family Resource Council issued a statement saying that Mitt Romney is still as anti-Choice as ever:
“No alarm bells here,” Tony Perkins, president of the anti-abortion Family Research Council, told TPM on Wednesday.
Perkins said the Romney campaign called him soon after Romney’s remarks were published by the Des Moines Register and assured him it didn’t represent a shift by Romney from his support for pro-life issues.
“As they explained it to me, it was from the way the question was asked,” Perkins said of Romney’s quote. He said the campaign told him the interviewer was “talking about economic issues” when the quote came up.
He’s also pissed off his supporters in the 1%. After telling Americans for the past year that he’s going to reduce taxes on the very richest Americans, he declared during last week’s debate that he’s not going to do anything of the sort; he’ll close loopholes to make sure they keep paying the same rate. He didn’t say which loopholes but the take-home message is this: Rich people will get no tax breaks.
That must have come as quite a surprise to the one-percenters of America. One wonders if, like Tony Perkins, they got a phone call from the campaign telling them not to worry, that their tax breaks were safe.
During the same debate, Romney also said he would keep the requirement that insurance companies cover Americans with pre-existing conditions. That plays VERY well in Peoria, of course. That’s why he said it. Afterwards, his campaign issued a statement that made it clear that you will only be able to get insurance with a pre-existing condition if you already HAVE insurance. That little tidbit didn’t make it to the headlines so most Americans were left with a warm fuzzy feeling that Mitt Romney is protecting their interests. Those who hate Obamacare and all it stands for must be pretty upset that he has capitulated to supporters of Obamacare on this.
One wonders if the tea partiers are listening. After he threw them under the bus during the Republican National Convention and made complete fools of them in front of the entire nation, you would hope so.
We shouldn’t be talking so much about Mitt Romney’s flip flops. What we should be talking about is how he has lied to every single group of both his supporters and detractors. What Mitt is counting on is that we’ll only listen to the things he says that we agree with and completely ignore the things he’s said that are 180° opposite of them. We cannot let that happen.
On November 6th, 2012, we’ll find out just how closely Americans are paying attention.