Mitt Romney: The Magically Malleable Man of Mystery

Mitt Romney is probably thanking his lucky stars the Politico decided to drop a Sunday night hit piece on Herman Cain alleging Cain sexually harassed at least two women. Had it not happened last night, this morning the political world would be talking about George Will’s stinging take down of Mitt Romney and conservatives who support him coupled with Chris Wallace’s observation that Mitt Romney won’t come on the Sunday shows to be asked tough questions.I’ll address the Cain issue later today, but I don’t want to ignore the Mitt Romney issue just yet.Back after the 2008 campaign ended and John McCain was winding down his campaign, a McCain staffer sent me the 200 pages of opposition research the campaign had compiled on Mitt Romney. The staffer told me I might find it useful by 2012. Between computer changes, email changes, etc. I lost it.Late this spring, another former McCain campaign affiliated person sent me the same document. Ten pages in that document sum up why conservatives should think long and hard before embracing MItt Romney. And once they’ve thought long and hard about it, they should think some more.These are ten pages that explain completely why so many conservatives do not and cannot trust Mitt Romney.

Let me say that if Mitt Romney were the Republican nominee, every Republican would be wise to support him. Beating Barack Obama is the paramount goal of 2012. But for almost eight years, a number of prominent conservatives and conservative groups became all encompassing cheerleaders for Team Bush, even after Team Bush clearly showed it wasn’t all that conservative. Before hopping in bed with another candidate, conservatives should be sure he is the real deal.Beating Obama is grand. But doing so without selling out key principles or putting conservatism in the hands of someone else who would kill the free market to save it should not be done if it can be helped.Very few conservatives dislike Mitt Romney. The problem, as George Will alludes to, is that few actually trust him. The McCain opposition book, written by a guy who’d go on to be Mitt Romney’s head of research, shows why.”After studying Presidential nominations for 30 years, I’ve never seen somebody who has so completely renounced his past record when he decided to run for President, said Northeaster University Professor William Mayer to the Chicago Tribune’s Jill Zuckman on May 22, 2007. That’s how page 168 in the McCain opposition book began. The heading on that page is “Flip-Flops”. The next ten pages contain every reason why conservatives are suspicious of Romney.”Romney Was Pro-Choice, Then Not Pro-Choice, Then Pro-Choice Again, Then Pro-Life,” blares the first subheading in this section. There are ample newspaper quotes citing Mitt Romney’s conversions back and forth.

  • “Romney supports a federal health care plan option that includes abortion services, would vote for a law codifying the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and backs federal funding for abortions as long as states can decide if they want the money, [a spokesman] said.” (Ed Hayward, “Anti-Abortion Group Endorses Romney Bid,” Boston Herald, 9/8/94)
  • “Romney supports a federal health care plan option that includes abortion services, would vote for a law codifying the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and backs federal funding for abortions as long as states can decide if they want the money, [a spokesman] said.” (Ed Hayward, “Anti-Abortion Group Endorses Romney Bid,” Boston Herald, 9/8/94)
  • “[Massachusetts Citizens for Life] considers Romney to be an abortion-rights supporter, as do national antiabortion groups such as the Family Research Council. … [Romney aide Eric] Fehrnstrom said the governor’s position has not changed on either sex education or abortion.” (Scott S. Greenberger, “Roe V. Wade Omitted From Proclamation,” The Boston Globe, 3/25/05)
  • “I am firmly pro-life … I was always for life.” (Jim Davenport, “Romney Affirms Abortion Opposition During Stop In SC,” The Associated Press, 2/8/07)

But it was not just abortion. In 2006, Mitt Romney said illegal immigrants should have a path to citizen. In a Lowell Sun article on March 30, 2006, Evan Lehmann quoted Mitt Romney saying “I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country … With these 11 million people, let’s have them registered, know who they are. Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”Romney went on to support John McCain’s immigration plan, denying it was amnesty. In March of 2007, Mitt Romney spoke “approvingly of efforts by McCain and Bush to solve the nation’s immigration crisis,” according to Scott Helman’s Boston Globe article. By May of that same year, Romney had begun attacking McCain’s plan as amnesty and told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that he opposed a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.He refused to support George Bush’s tax cuts in 2004, but in 2007 claimed he had always supported them. In 2002, Romney refused to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, but in 2007, Romney signed it.In 2002, Mitt Romney wanted heaving federal regulations on campaign finances. Back in 1994, Romney even wanted a cap on congressional election spending and wanted to ban political action committees. By 2007, Romney was attacking McCain-Feingold, which did much of what he previously had wanted.In the 1992 Presidential Primary in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney voted for Paul Tsongas. He contributed to numerous Democrats and, in 1994 while running as a Republican, praised Bill Clinton as doing “a lot of things that make sense.” More troubling, in 1994 Mitt Romney campaigned against the Contract With America calling it “too partisan.” He also insisted he was an independent during Ronald Reagan’s years in office, balking at Ted Kennedy’s attempts to connect Romney to Ronald Reagan. By 2005, Mitt Romney claimed Ronald Reagan was his political hero.On the second amendment, Mitt Romney supported the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban in 1994, but by 2007, Mitt Romney opposed gun control measures. At one point in 2007, Mitt Romney claimed he owned a gun and then admitted he did not.The list goes on and on from gays in the military to gay marriage to stem cell research to global warming. Romney has shown himself to be not a principled conservative, but, as Jon Huntsman described him, a well lubricated weather vane.Conservatives do not dislike Mitt Romney. They just don’t trust him. His record is the very reason why. On every significant issue of the past decade, Mitt Romney has managed to be on every side of each issue except one — he has consistently been in favor of government dictated and government managed healthcare.Before conservatives decide to go down the aisle with Romney, they better be damned sure no other candidate is worth it.

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