Re: Romney Meets Russert - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Re: Romney Meets Russert

I just got finished watching Mitt Romney’s performance on “Meet the Press.” There wasn’t much of major news value, which is good news for Romney, but those who watched who haven’t been following the election that closely thus far got a crash course in the staggering number of issues Romney has altered or reversed his prior positions on. Romney may be helped by the fact that Tim Russert spent the first chunk of the interview discussing religion, which will probably grab all of the headlines and overshadow some of the other noteworthy things.

Here are some points I found interesting:

–On abortion, Romney said before he faced a decision on embryo destruction as governor, the issue was purely “theoretical.” But that’s clearly contradicted by the fact that in 1994 and 2002 Romney’s explanation for why he was pro-choice was that a family friend died of an illegal abortion. The death of a family friend is “theoretical”? Also, I thought it was odd that he said he believes from a “political perspective” that life believes at conception. I can understand believing that life begins at conception from a moral, religious, or scientific standpoint. But for him to say “political perspective” is almost an unintended acknowledgement on his part that his views on abortion are driven by political calculations.

–On guns, he may have gotten himself in trouble, in an attempt to diffuse the flip-flop label, by standing by his support for the Brady Bill and the 1994 assault weapons ban. He even said he would have signed an extension of the assault weapons ban when it expired in 2004. He also employed the odd phrase “weapons of unusual lethality” to describe the type of guns he would ban.

–On immigration, Romney was utterly Clintonian. He said that when in November 2005 he described the Bush/McCain approach to immigration as “reasonable” and “quite different” from amnesty, he wasn’t endorsing the proposal, but just describing it. He hadn’t formulated his own position on immigration at the time. That’s right up there with Hillary Clinton saying in the debate that she didn’t say she supported driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, but she just said that a proposal to do so “makes sense.” Even if we were to get into the Christmas spirit and be extraordinarily generous by granting Romney that an elected official saying pending legislation is “reasonable” doesn’t constitute support for the legislation, it still doesn’t get him off the hook. His description of the proposal was that it was “quite different” from amnesty, and yet during this year he has ceaselessly leveled attacks on McCain by accusing him of supporting “amnesty.” So even being generous to Romney, this constitutes a major change in position, not just from some long ago Senate race in 1994, but from late 2005.

–On health care, I thought it was noteworthy that Romney hopes other states will follow the Massachusetts model so that insurance will be mandated nationwide (even if it isn’t by the federal government). So philosophically, he still holds out hope that every American will be forced to purchase health insurance, but he just thinks that personal liberty should be violated on a state-by-state basis.

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