[Author's Note: Most of this was part of an earlier blog but the accusations of flip flopping are coming back with a vengeance so I decided to republish this piece and this piece alone.]
Everyone knows Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper. A fish out of water does less flip flopping than Romney…or so the talking point goes.
Most of his flip-flopping was on the abortion issue. As any regular reader of this blog knows there are about a trillion and one issues that I find more important than abortion—some of them involve discussion of the lint I find in my belly button. I couldn’t care less what his position on abortion is or if it changes regularly with the tides. But let’s deal with them. He admits that his position has changed over the years. At first he thought he could separate this part of his personal beliefs from his duties as a public official and has found that he can’t. In other words, his actual stance has not changed, he’s always been against abortion, it is simply that he finds he cannot sit idly by. So really all it is a change in where it stands with his priority list. And he says he knows it will take a Constitutional Amendment to change Roe. A Constitutional Amendment we know will never get 2/3rds of both houses of Congress. So that’s never going to happen. And we know he’ll obey the law even if he has moral qualms…after all he oversaw and enforced the gay marriage laws in Massachusetts even though he disagreed with them. So much for the central flip flop (and most liberal attacks dealing with social issues when you think about it.)
And then there is the fact that I like attack ads, not because they work all that well against the attacked, but they show you how desperate the opposition is and what their values are. But they can also show you what a candidate does stand for
So let’s take this video apart quote by quote…
- For instance they have a clip of Romney saying “I think we do need economic stimulus”
His actual statement was:
“Well, I frankly wish that the last Congress would have dealt with the stimulus issue and that the president could assign that before leaving office. I think there is need for economic stimulus. Americans have lost about $11 trillion in net worth. That translates into about $400 billion a year less spending that they’ll be doing, and that’s net of additional government programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance. And government can help make that up in a very difficult time. And that’s one of the reasons why I think a stimulus program is needed.
I’d move quickly. These are unusual times. But it has to be something which relieves pressure on middle-income families. I think a tax cut is necessary for them as well as for businesses that are growing. We’ll be investing in infrastructure and in energy technologies. But let’s not make this a Christmas tree of all of the favors for various politicians who have helped out the Obama campaign, giving them special projects.” [italics added]
Wow, so his stimulus is across the board tax cutting! Exactly why are we opposed to that? And while we have become rather jaded when Obama says infrastructure repair, because I’ve yet to see a single pot hole fixed, let alone real work done…it’s not a bad idea in theory. Also notice in this January 2009 interview he predicted that we would have BS like Solyndra.
- Then there’s all that stuff on abortion. As I said, I couldn’t care if I tried.
- The Reagan thing.
I’m not thrilled with that line about Reagan. Never have been. But then I looked at the context and it struck me as interesting.
Let me set the scene. 1994. Massachusetts. Democrats might not be beloved but memories of Bush and his idiot policies are still rightfully loathed. Senate race between Sen. Ted Kennedy (1 confirmed kill) vs. Mitt Romney.
Sen. Ted Kennedy: “Under the Reagan-Bush economic programs, under the economic programs you want to return to, the total number of children that are living in poverty, the total number of children out of wedlock — this has happened, you know we’ve had Republican presidents during this period of time and the cutting back of support systems for children and most of all for families to get jobs. If you’re not going to provide a climate and an atmosphere for men and women to be able to work and provide for their children, you’re going to see the breakdown of the family as well.”
Mitt Romney: “I mentioned nothing about politics or your position at all. I talked about what I’d do to help strengthen families, and you talked about Reagan-Bush. Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
Would I want to distance myself from Bush? Yeah. Still do. And to his credit he wasn’t dumb enough to fall into Kennedy’s trap of changing the phrase Kennedy used “Reagan-Bush.” If he had changed it to “Bush” or “the last administration” Kennedy would have used that in front of a Massachusetts audience not to just demand he be placed into the Senate for the entirety of his existence but that, in a Massachusetts tradition dating back to 1692, the non-conformist must be hung for his heresy. Should he have phrased it better? Yes. However, as I would point out Polifact states “In our fact-check of the DNC ad, we couldn’t find any other references to Romney distancing himself from Reagan beyond the 1994 debate comment.” 18 years and that’s the only anti-Reagan quote you can find…hell the fact that he made it through the Reagan diaries wipes that out (I love Reagan and his writing style and I love thick books, but every time I look at that thing on my shelf I still can’t seem to bring myself to wade through it).
- Then they want to hit him for being a good capitalist…and the most legitimate source they can find, nut job extraordinaire Rachel Maddow of MSNBC (or Pravda as I call it). The rest is bizarre innuendo, followed by him saying he doesn’t want Congress to control the Fed…I don’t trust the Fed, but I have to agree I wouldn’t want Congress in control either, it would be even worse than now.
- Okay the health care thing. He endorses an exchange. Okay I’m not thrilled with the insurance exchanges…but it’s not the national health care mandate….you know the part we hate, the unconstitutional part. You couldn’t find video of Romney endorsing that? Not even tied to his statement of “you try and do better with the legislature I had”? And I also love that the state is “is putting together an exchange” future tense as if this was still in the planning stages (I love how they don’t include dates on this video) so probably before we had an idea of how horrible it was going to be. Also notice the tone of “I’m glad he’s doing that…everything else sucks.”
- The immigration thing. Really? That’s the best you can do, that he hired someone who hired someone else and when he found out about it he told them to stop. Oh yeah, this man is weak on immigration. And such a flip flop.
- The global warming things. Ummm. I don’t believe in global warming as a man caused problem is real (Also notice his word “contribute” not “cause”) but I live in Phoenix which gets to 120 every summer not because I live in the Arizona desert but because the concrete keeps the Sun’s heat in during the night creating a heat bubble that doesn’t end until October. So it is possible for humans to contribute to it getting hotter without “climate change” in the chicken-little doom and gloom way Al Gore means it to be true. And yes this is probably my weakest defense in this whole article, I admit that. But I don’t see clips of him endorsing cap and trade. And I don’t see him sitting next to Nancy Pelosi endorsing the Al Gore version of global warming.
- Oh, the union thing. “I’m not speaking about” to “I endorse.” How is that a flip-flop? I oppose then I endorse is a flip-flop? “I’m not speaking about” is I believe political talk for, “look I haven’t done any research into this yet and I know how you guys ask me a loaded question and I’m not going to fall into that trap.”
- The tax pledge thing that first picture has to be from his Senate race against Teddy, which means “I’m not going to sign a new tax pledge and give that damn Kennedy something to use against me” to 2 decades later.
- The guns. How is signing a law and then saying we don’t need any more after that a flip flop? Should all laws only be in extremes. Should we change it to every crime you either walk free or you die?
- Again not thrilled with his endorsement of TARP, but it’s hard to find anyone who didn’t support it. But notice he says he supports it because the funds were paid back…you know as if the program is over, it did its thing for its time and that it is no more. And then Obama kept using it as a slush fund for whatever bullshit he wanted to do. Are you surprised that someone who even supported the initial TARP program might have a problem with it being used past its usefulness?
- The Auto industry thing. I can’t find the whole text of the statement…but let me take a guess here. He was probably talking about loosening regulation and lowering taxes that would have let it come back on its own which is actually in line with saying don’t get the government involved, and if the only way to save it is to let it die, then let it die, (and again I’m speculating here) but if you had a business environment conducive to growth it wouldn’t
This ad was done with some money and decent access to media clips. And this is the best they could find. And this was the best ad I could find after 2 hours of searching. Cherry picked statements taken out of context. Mixed with comedians and pundits. Yeah they keep saying the Romney has a reputation as a flip flopper, except for that abortion thing I’m not exactly seeing proof so much as hype to back up that assertion. You know kind of like Obama having a reputation as an intelligent human being, when all evidence suggests he’s really rather dumb. And Ron Paul having a reputation for believing in small government when in reality he is a major porker for useless spending his district. George Bush has a reputation as a Neo-Con…trust me that man knows nothing about spreading democracy nor has he ever believed in it…he just didn’t have anything else to latch onto for dear life on September 12th.
There is reputation and there is fact. Show me the anti-business laws he proposed to the Massachusetts legislature. Show me the socialist executive orders he signed. Show me bills he authored calling for a removal of constitutional rights. Or is all you have to justify your position of him flip-flopping cherry picked statements taken out of context? As someone of Newt Gingrich’s currently high reputation once observed “”Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”
Has he changed his beliefs over time? Yeah. He’s said so himself. It’s called learning from experience and growing. But in everything Romney has had the attitude of looking at everything from a business perspective of solving the problem. He has admitted he’s wrong on things, but he has never shown the constant second-guessing himself that Obama touts as a virtue (when a major vice is trumpeted as a virtue you know there are problems… , he has acted with determination and followed through and when things didn’t work he tried something new. You know, he was a leader.
Please submit any further supposed flip-flops with specific citations…I will prove them all bogus.