It’s not Mitt Romney’s fault that he famously looks, in Mike Huckabee’s words, “like the guy who fired you,” a smarmy, shifty middle-to-upper manager. In fact, he’s a plutocrat, who made many of his millions helping to “streamline” companies to make them more profitable–in part, through massive layoffs.
But that’s in the past. For now–since, despite all the GOP flavors of the month, the Republican Party will almost surely (kickingly, screamingly) make him its 2012 Presidential nominee, the only candidate with a prayer against President Obama–it is instructive to focus on Romney’s seemingly pathological shape-shifting. While his GOP opponents have been overly charitable on this score, Mitt’s signature trait is that he owns more flip-flops than Jersey Shore’s Snooki and JWoww and Sammi Sweetheart combined. I happen to think an occasional change of political position is commendable–flexibility, instead of ideological rigidity, can be a sign of leadership. We’ve seen how George W. Bush’s simplistic certitudes worked out–and continue to see the consequences of an unyielding right-wing extremist Tea Party dogma.
But with Romney, the flip-flopping, the sheer lack of principle and moral spine,takes your breath away. Just in the course of the early primary season, we’ve seen him reverse course, sometimes within 24 hours, on the Ohio union-busting bill (for it, then, when it was doomed to spectacular failure, not so much), climate change, personhood for zygotes, privatizing the Veterans Administration and.. Romney likes to say his positions “evolve” (making him the one Republican who seems to believe in evolution of any kind), but the effect is that of a cowardly opportunist, who almost cartoonishly tailors his views to whatever room he’s speaking in.
As governor of a Blue State, Mitt feigned Left. When he needs to kiss up to the GOP base, he cuts Right, bending over backward to burnish his conservative street cred. His greatest sin, to be sure, was “Romneycare,” the sweeping health care reform legislation that served as the model for the Affordable Care Act. That’s box office poison to the GOP , naturally, and so Romney has taken pains to atone for it.
You can call it political savvy, I suppose, but to me, when I think of Mitt Romney, the only words that come to mind are “weak,” “dishonest,” “duplicitous…”
Here, then, are some of the greatest hits from Willard Mitt Romney‘s Flip-Floppy Disk, culled from various sources, including the nice summaries on The Washington Post, FactCheck.org and Log Cabin Republicans sites:
Ms. Magazine Mitt:
During a senate campaign debate with Ted Kennedy in 1994 Romney declared: “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 and support it.”
-(Boston Globe, March 2, 2006)
“I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
-2002 Questionnaire for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)
Boston Globe, July 3, 2005
Moral Majority Mitt
“I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view..”
- Boston Globe, Op-Ed, July 26, 2005
“Every decision I have made as Governor in a very liberal state has been on the side of favoring life.” – Robert Behre, “Romney Gets S.C. Support,” Charleston Post-Courier, January 30, 2007
2. STEM CELL RESEARCH
“At a campaign appearance at Brandeis University in June 2002, Romney strongly endorsed stem cell research.”
- Boston Globe, December 17, 2006 Read the article
“Governor Mitt Romney set off a storm of criticism yesterday after he declared in a published interview that he favored banning a specific type of stem cell research. Scientists and the leader of the state Senate accused him of trying to block a promising avenue of research, even as antiabortion groups assailed him for declaring that he did not object to stem cell research involving embryos from fertility clinics.”
- Boston Globe, February 11, 2005
Moral Majority Mitt II
” I became persuaded that the stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise, and that the way through it was around it: by the use of scientific techniques that could produce the equivalent of embryonic stem cells but without cloning, creating, harming, or destroying developing human lives.”
- Governor Mitt Romney, Op-Ed, “A Stem-Cell Solution,” National Review Online, June 15, 2007
3. GAY RIGHTS
“All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation. While he does not support gay marriage, Mitt Romney believes domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship.”
- Romney’s 2002 campaign website
“Mitt and Kerry Wish You a Great Pride Weekend! All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference”
- A flier handed out at “Gay Pride” by the Romney/Healey Campaign
” I believe that [the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell] compromise was a step in the right direction. I am also convinced that it is the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military. That goal will only be reached when preventing discrimination against gays and lesbians is a mainstream concern, which is a goal we share…”
- Governor Romney letter to Log Cabin Republicans, October 6, 1994 Read the letter here
Moral Majority Mitt III
Questioner: “What about the 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans where… you seemed open to changing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military? Are those your positions today?
Gov. Romney: ” As for military policy and the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same.”
- Interview with National Review, December 14, 2006 Read the interview
4. MARRIAGE AMENDMENT
In 2002 Romney denounced as “too extreme” the effort by pro-family groups to enact a preemptive state Marriage Protection Amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage, civil unions and same-sex public employee benefits.
- Boston Phoenix, May 14-20, 2004
Moral Majority Mitt IV
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Do you support a national constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage?”
Governor Romney: “Boy, I sure do..”
- MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” September 17, 2007
5. MINIMUM WAGE
“The minimum wage is important to our economy and Mitt Romney supports minimum wage increase, at least in line with inflation.”
- Romney 2002 campaign website
The Mitt Who Laid You Off
Governor Mitt Romney yesterday rejected the Legislature’s plan to raise the state minimum wage to $8 an hour over two years, angering Democratic lawmakers and advocates who accused him of abandoning a 2002 campaign pledge to significantly boost the pay of low-wage workers.
- Boston Globe, July 22, 2006
Romney also said in the interview that it was not “practical or economic for the country” to deport the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the US illegally. “These people contribute in many cases to our economy and to our society,” he said. – Boston Globe, March 16, 2007 Read the article
Round ‘Em Up Romney
Q: You said that for a lot of illegal immigrants who are here, under your plan, we could deport many of them within 90 days. How could we do it that quickly?
A: My plan is this, which is for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now, how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here. You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home. —Republican Presidential Debate, 1/30/08
BUSH TAX CUTS
Barney Frank’s BFF
Romney didn’t support President Bush’s tax cuts in 2003. That earned him praise from liberal Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA)
- Boston Globe, April 11, 2003.
The Guy Who Laid You Off II
ROMNEY: I have never opposed the Bush 2002 tax cuts. I supported them.
(2008 Presidential Debate, 1/6/08).
There’s more. But these are some of his gems.