In a Washington Post story concerning the conservative blowback to Mitt Romney’s climate change stance (that it’s real and caused by humans), an unnamed Romney unleashes one of the most dubious comments you’ll ever hear about the former Massachusetts governor:
“The fact that he doesn’t change his position…that’s the upside for us… He’s not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party.”
Come again? We’re talking about flip-flop king Mitt Romney, right? This statement is so off the mark and, frankly, wrong that it doesn’t even qualify as spin, which at least has the thinnest tether to reality.
Let’s put it this way: Romney has flip-flopped so many times that there’s an entire website—mittromneyflipflops.com—devoted to rehashing his ever-shifting positions. For example, on abortion:
In 2002: “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
In 2007: “Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position. And I get tired of people that are holier-than-thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.”
Romney himself admits he changed his position on abortion, the most heated of social issues. But wait, there’s more.
On the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision:
In 1994, running for US Senate: “We should sustain and support” the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
As Massachusetts governor: “Roe v. Wade has gone too far.”
On his father, former Michigan governor George Romney:
In a December 2007: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.”
Days later: “I did not see it with my own eyes but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort.”
On immigration reform and amnesty for illegal immigrants:
In 2006: “Those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process toward application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”
In 2007: “I do not believe amnesty is the right course for the 11 or 12 million illegal immigrants who are living here. It didn’t work in the 1980s; it’s not going to work in the 2000s either.
On the Vietnam War:
In 1994: “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.”
In 2008: “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”
Even Romney’s former top aides and advisors have raised the issue of his mushy positions. As I reported in May, Bruce Keough, Romney’s former New Hampshire campaign guru, pointed to the candidate’s wishy-washy political stands as a reason for not joining Romney’s 2012 effort. “I don’t think the voters are looking for somebody who’s going to be recasting himself,” Keough said. referring to Romney. “They want somebody who’s been true to a certain set of political ideals for a while.”
And the list of flip-flops goes on and on. Now, this isn’t to say a candidate’s beliefs don’t evolve over time, with experience and new information. That’s human nature. But it is undeniable that Romney in particular has morphed his political positions since the 1990s to sway voters and win elections. Claiming, then, that Mitt “doesn’t change his position” is beyond ludicrous. You have to wonder: What kind of advisers is Romney surrounding himself with?