alien & sedition.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
  Mitt Romney at NRO: Vive la Difference!

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

This morning at the National Review, K-Lo puts Mitt Romney through his paces, as the Governor from the Great State of Dukakis/Kerry continues his effort to pander to conservatives. Given how the GOP spent 2004 redefining Massachusetts as "France, only worse," it can't be easy for the guy.

To the tune of "I Walk the Line":

Lopez asks Romney about comments he made in 1994, when he argued that gay marriage should be an issue decided by the states and denounced "extremist" Republicans ["People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have" - whoops! Don't let Dr. Dobson hear you talking like that!]:

GOV. ROMNEY: These old interviews and stories have frequently been circulated by my opponents ever since I took a stand against the Massachusetts supreme-court ruling on same-sex marriage. This being the political season, it is not surprising this old news has appeared again. But I have made clear since 2003, when the supreme court of Massachusetts redefined marriage by fiat, that my unwavering advocacy for traditional marriage stands side by side with a tolerance and respect for all Americans.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I’ve opposed same-sex marriage, but I’ve also opposed unjust discrimination against anyone, for racial or religious reasons, or for sexual preference. Americans are a tolerant, generous, and kind people. We all oppose bigotry and disparagement. But the debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage and it is a debate about activist judges who make up the law rather than interpret the law.

I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and I have been rock solid in my support of traditional marriage. Marriage is first and foremost about nurturing and developing children. It’s unfortunate that those who choose to defend the institution of marriage are often demonized.

Shorter version: "I supported civil rights until the courts started trying to enforce them."

You certainly get the sense that Romney has been carefully studying his conservative lexigraphy. One of the benefits of being a Republican is that if you want to appeal to conservative voters, there are certain pre-packaged words and concepts you simply need to cite in order to demonstrate your bona fides. It's a remarkably effective way for a political movement to exercise control: provide the specific language that politicians must use. Orwell understood this. In this case Romney sees the obvious out: this isn't about teh gays, it's about "activist judges who make up the law rather than interpret the law." A million conservative heads nod in unison: check.

On abortion:

LOPEZ: In a 1994 debate with Senator Kennedy, you said “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 U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” [...] What is your position on abortion today? On Roe? How do you account for what is obviously a change — certainly publicly — on the issue?

GOV. ROMNEY: My position has changed and I have acknowledged that. How that came about is that several years ago, in the course of the stem-cell-research debate I met with a pair of experts from Harvard. At one point the experts pointed out that embryonic-stem-cell research should not be a moral issue because the embryos were destroyed at 14 days. After the meeting I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction — it just hit us hard just how much the sanctity of life had been cheapened by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality. And from that point forward, I said to the people of Massachusetts, “I will continue to honor what I pledged to you, but I prefer to call myself pro-life.” The state of Massachusetts is a pro-choice state and when I campaigned for governor I said that I would not change the law on abortion. But I do believe that the one-size-fits-all, abortion-on-demand-for-all-nine-months decision in Roe v. Wade does not serve the country well and is another example of judges making the law instead of interpreting the Constitution.

What I would like to see is the Court return the issue to the people to decide. The Republican party is and should remain the pro-life party and work to change hearts and minds and create a culture of life where every child is welcomed and protected by law and the weakest among us are protected. I understand there are people of good faith on both sides of the issue. They should be able to make and advance their case in democratic forums with civility, mutual respect, and confidence that our democratic process is the best place to handle these issues.

This one is particularly neat: "It was the plight of the stem cells that made me see the light!" I hope some communications consultant got a bonus for that one. (He also includes another dig at those wacky activist judges and - what's that high-pitched whistling sound? - a jab at "experts from Harvard.")

The answer is actually a pretty half-assed attempt at sounding moderate while going after the anti-choice vote. He burps out some vacuous rhetoric about "civility, mutual respect," and the "democratic process" to at least make a show of covering his butt as he makes the only promise that matters here: a President Romney would appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Operation Rescue will take care of the rest. There are ways to approach the abortion issue from a consensus-building perspective. This ain't it.

And in case there's any confusion on the matter:

LOPEZ: Does that mean you were “faking it” — as one former adviser has suggested — as a pro-choicer in your previous political campaigns? Why should anyone believe you’re really pro-life now?

GOV. ROMNEY: I believe people will see that as governor, when I had to examine and grapple with this difficult issue, I came down on the side of life. I know in the four years I have served as governor I have learned and grown from the exposure to the thousands of good-hearted people who are working to change the culture in our country. I’m committed to promoting the culture of life. Like Ronald Reagan, and Henry Hyde, and others who became pro-life, I had this issue wrong in the past.

Lesson learned: Mitt Romney, unlike the majority of Americans, is anti-choice.

Of course, Romney was for civil rights and choice before he was against them. Is 2008 the year that the Republicans nominate a flip-flopper from Massachusetts?


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