There are a lot of articles and websites about Romney's legendary flip-flop tedencies, but they don't do him justice. This guy has done a 180 on a number of issues that many folks consider to be very important. It's not just liberals and Democrats who should think ten times before voting for this guy. How do you right wingers know what you're getting?
Here are some of his most spectacular changes of position. I can't believe anyone can look at this evidence and then happily vote for this guy. He's bad news.
Issue: gay rights and marriage equality.
Willard Romney was actually relatively liberal on gay rights until he started running for president. To be fair, he was always against same-sex marriage, but it was more of a philosophical problem that many people share. Even President Obama shared it until recently. But otherwise, Romney was very pro-gay rights.
Here's a letter Romney wrote to the Log Cabin Club in 1994. In this letter, he declares himself in favor of "equal civil rights" for gays. He also expressed hope that "gays and lesbians could someday serve openly in our nation's military." Yes, folks you read that correctly. While most Republicans saw "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as a way to kick gay people out of the military, Romney saw it as a logical step to a day when gays could serve openly. In the letter, Romney also promised to "provide more effective leadership" on gay rights than Ted Kennedy.
And this wasn't even the infamous interview in a New England LGBT publication, in which Romney proclaimed "I'll be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy." That can be found here.
In 2002, Romney was vocally opposed to a Massachusetts constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships, because the bill would have prohibited domestic partnership benefits for gays and lesbians, including health benefits and rights of survivorship. Yes, folks; as little as ten years ago, Willard was willing to compromise is stance on gay marriage, in order to protect full domestic partnership rights for gay couples. Romney's campaign platorm even stated the following:
"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." (Source)
A year later, in 2003, when a Massachusetts court ruled that same sex couples deserved the same marriage rights as other couples, suddenly Romney was in favor of a marriage amendment, although he couldn't get anything through the Democratic legislature, despite his claimed mastery of "bipartisanship."
As late as July 2011, Romney refused to sign a pledge opposing gay marriage that was proffered by an Iowa group, "The Family Leader." But he took so much heat for it from right wing groups that, just a few weeks later, he signed the National Organization for Marriage's unctuous "2012 Presidential Pledge."
So, is Romney in favor of full rights for gay citizens, or is he against them? Depends on his audience, it seems. Don't you wonder which Romney will show up in the White House next January?
Issue: Gun Control
Apparently, the NRA gives a politician a "B" grade just for being Republican, because nothing about Romney indicates he agrees with them on gun control at all.
During his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy, Romney openly supported the Brady Bill, and an assault weapons ban, both of which were strongly opposed by the NRA.
In a July 1994 question-and-answer session with voters arranged by the Boston Herald, Romney "reaffirmed" his support for both measures. "I don't think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime, but I think it will have a positive effect," Romney said.
In a subsequent interview published on Sept. 23, 1994, Romney said, "I don't want special-interest groups making this their campaign. I don't want their money. I don't want their help. This is my race." In the interview, Romney specifically mentioned gun-rights advocates, acknowledging that his stands on the two gun-control measures would put him at odds with such groups.
In 2002, his campaign's platform read,
"Mitt Romney supports the strict enforcement of gun laws. He is a supporter of the federal assault weapons ban. Mitt also believes in the rights of those who hunt to responsibly own and use firearms." (Source)
And in a gubernatorial debate that year, Romney praised Massachusetts gun laws. He said they were tough, and that he wouldn't change them. Watch:
That wasn't the end of his gun control period, by any stretch. In 2004, just eight yeas ago, Romney signed what was described at the time as the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.
At the signing ceremony, Romney commented:
"Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people." (Source)
Less than a month after signing the assault weapons bill, Romney appeared on Hannity and Colmes, where he was asked about the bill. Guest co-host Pat Halpin asked Romney if he was in favor of extending the federal assault weapons ban, to which Romney responded,
"I believe the people should have the right to bear arms, but I don't believe that we have to have assault weapons as part of our personal arsenal. … In my state I just signed a piece of legislation extending the ban on certain assault weapons in our state." (Source)
Essentially, among the laws Romney supported in his single term in government included restrictions on magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and a strict storage law mandating conditions for keeping a gun inside the home. Massachusetts doesn't honor concealed carry permita from other states, and Masachusetts is the only state besides California that requires a firearm from another state be inspected. I don't have a problem with any of these laws, but given how Republicans feel about guns, you ave to wonder how so many can support him.
It also puts into question the veracity of his later statements and positions.
Just two years later, in 2006, he attempted to transition, a little. While he was in New Hampshire campaigning for president after less than a full term as governor, a man wearing an NRA cap asked him about his stance on gun control. Romney replied, saying,
“I've been a hunter pretty much all my life.”
The man was asking for an honest answer and Romney lied to him. (Source) His campaign quickly corrected the lie, noting that Romney had been hunting exactly twice in his life; a rabbit hunting trip to Idaho when he was 15, and a Republican Governor's Association quail-hunting trip in 2006, nearly 40 years later. (Source) Two hunting trips doesn't make anyone a life-long hunter.
In an appearance on Meet the Press on December 16, 2007, Romney engaged in the following exchange with Tim Russert:
Romney: "I would have supported the original assault weapon ban," Romney said. "I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus."
Russert: "So the assault ban that expired here because Congress didn’t act on it, you would support?"
Romney: "Just as the president (Bush) said, he would have, he would have signed that bill if it came to his desk, and so would have I."
But then, just two months later, in apparent presidential campaign mode, Romney contradicted himself in an interview with Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith
Smith: "I know that a lot of the gun rights folks aren’t sure about your position on gun rights. Would you pledge to veto any new gun control bills that come across your desk as President?"
Romney: "Yeah, I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose. There’s no new legislation that I’m aware of or have heard of that I would support. In regards to guns, I think we have enough legislation and should enforce the laws as they exist. I was pleased that when I ran for Governor that I received the endorsement of the NRA and I hope to receive their support now." (Source)
Issue: Health Care
One of the most important issues to the Republican "base" this year is the repeal of Obamacare. They apparently don't like having access to quality health insurance, because they'd rather have it taken away from them than let President Obama have credit for getting it to them. But given Romney's history on health care, you have to wonder if he'll actually do that. He even wavers now, claiming he'll only repeal "most of" the Affordable Care Act. Look at his history, and Romney voters will realize they're getting the proverbial "pig in a poke."
We all know about Romneycare, which is the Massachusetts model on which Obamacare was based. That's easy. Obviously, the Obamacare he supposedly wants to repeal really badly right now is identical to the system he happily signed back in his only term in government. But in the years since, he's actually been quite proud of it.
For instance, he recently told us he's in favor of states each deciding on their own health insurance system, and that the federal government should stay out. But he used to think of Romneycare as a model for the rest of the country, and said so. On Feb. 2, 2007, Romney outlined his ambitions for the Massachusetts plan at a speech in Baltimore:
"I'm proud of what we've done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation." (Source)
But after Obamacare was actually passed, and Romney figured out Republican voters didn't like it, Romney suddenly changed his tune. He removed a line from his book, "No Apology" that had said about Romneycare, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country," and when confronted about it during the debates, he denied the line had ever been in the book. (Source)
He also denied it during a tense inteview with Bret Baire, which Mediaite covered thusly:
“Do you still support the idea of a mandate? Do you believe that that was the right thing for Massachusetts? Do you think a mandate, mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool?” Baier asked.
A clearly frustrated Romney replied, with a strained laugh, “Bret, I don’t know how many hundred times I’ve said this, too — this is an unusual interview. All right, let’s do it again.”
Romney reminded Baier of all the times he has said that his plan was only a good idea at the state level, at which point Baier, to his credit, reminded the candidate of what that other Romney guy has been saying. “Governor, you did say, on camera and other places, that at times you thought it would be a model for the nation.”
“You’re wrong, Bret,” Romney shot back.
“No, there’s tape,” Baier replied.
Perhaps a bit rattled, Romney urged Baier to continue to “read the tape,” insisting that his position on the individual mandate has always been “for each state to be able to look at it.”
And here's some video of him saying that he wanted Romneycare to be a model for the nation, but then later denying he ever said that:
How can anyone vote for this man, and be confident which Romney will show up in the White House? Will it be the Romney who thinks Romneycare/Obamacare should be a model for the nation, or the guy who's now trying to convince everyone he's really, really far right wing?
Will the real Willard Shady please stand up?
All of the above issues should be concerning to any voter, but the one issue that should give pause to everyone on all sides of the political spectrum is,
Issue: Reproductive Choice
This is the single issue on which Romney has changed the most. If you're anti-choice (you call yourselves "pro-life"), you should know; this guy does not see this issue the way you do.
Romney was strongly pro-choice pretty much his entire adult life, and as you'll see from this progression/regression, his reasons for changing don't make sense. For years, he claimed his pro-choice stance came from watching a woman suffer through a botched abortion when he was young. Keep that in mind as you read this.
In a 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy, Romney declared that he thought we should separate personal beliefs from government law, that abortion should be "safe and legal in this country" and that we should "sustain and support" Roe v. Wade. Furthermore, when Kennedy challenged him and suggested that he was "multiple choice" on abortion, Romney strongly defended himself with a passion you simply see from him these days at all. Watch here:
Just ten years ago, in 2002, while he was running for governor, Romney's campaign platform read:
"As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government’s." (Source)
That's pretty strong, and very clear. It's the strongly-held belief that all of us on the pro-choce side of the aisle share; we should not allow the government to have the power to force a woman to stay pregnant against her will.
That same year, Romney filled out a questionnaire submitted by Planned Parenthood, in which he makes no bones about his support for full abortion rights:
In 2004, Romney was already considering a run for president, and he realized he had to change his stance, so he met with a Harvard stem cell researcher, Douglas Melton; a meeting which Romney and Melton remember differently. Romney says Melton told him they kill embryos after 14 days, while Melton says they never even discussed that. (Source)
Then, in 2005, Romney penned a Boston Globe op-ed, in which he proclaimed:
"I am prolife. 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. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate." (Source)
There was no explanation for the sudden change. There was a cryptic discussion of killing embryos, and suddenly, Romney's transformed? The concept doesn't make sense.
The explanation didn't come until 2007. Where he had once defended Roe v Wade vociferously, and proclaimed that he was pro-choice since his mother had taken that position back in 1970, during a South Carolina Presidential debate that year, he suddenly proclaimed:
"And when we came to debating cloning and embryo farming and we saw human life, human life rack after rack that's going to be experimented upon and then disposed, I said Roe v. Wade has gone to such an extent that we've cheapened the value of human life. And I believe that a civilized society has to respect the sanctity of human life." (Source)
Really. That's what he said. The image of a woman suffering the horrible health effects of a botched abortion was suddenly wiped away by the abstract concepts of "cloning and embryo farming," which, in reality, have nothing to do with the issue of abortion.
Oh, but it gets better. During that same debate, he bald-faced lied, saying:
"I've always been personally pro-life. I've taught that to others, it's been part of my faith. The question for me was: What should government do in this kind of setting? And the Supreme Court stepped in and took a decision, and I said I'd support that decision. And then I watched the impact of that decision as I was governor of Massachusetts. And when we came to debating cloning and embryo farming and we saw human life, human life rack after rack that's going to be experimented upon and then disposed, I said Roe v. Wade has gone to such an extent that we've cheapened the value of human life. And I believe that a civilized society has to respect the sanctity of human life. And what I'm saying is that, in my view, the people should make this decision, not the court." (Source)
So, he was not only strongly pro-choice for his entire life, until he suddenly found himself needing to be anti-choice, but he saw fit to lie to everyone about it, as well. What's wrong with, "I used to be pro-choice, but I changed my mind/heart."?
Look at all of these issues that his based considers to be very important, and look at the extent to which he has changed his position on them. How can anyone vote for this guy, and be confident as to which Romney will show up on Inauguration Day?