This criticism of David Hogberg appears to be part of the standard defense for Mitt Romney when anyone argues that the former Massachusetts governor has changed his position on an issue.
1. Declare the flip-flop issue dead. I don’t doubt that most Romney supporters have already resolved this controversy in their own minds and decided it is not as a big a deal as their candidate’s detractors make it out to be. Fair enough. But campaigns — especially those trailing in the early polls — are about winning new supporters. There’s no evidence that the flip-flop issue is dead to those who aren’t already converted, and pretending that it is doesn’t do Romney any favors.
2. Point out that other candidates change their minds too. This is an easy to defense to make, but it misreads the real nature of the Romney as flip-flopper flap. People aren’t saying Romney should have never changed his mind on anything. (I clearly wanted him to change his mind on abortion.) They are, as Phil noted yesterday, usually concerned about “the number of flip flops, the dramatic lengths he goes to alter his position, the timing of his conversions, and the [perceived] arrogance with which he has wielded his new found positions as a stick to beat up on his opponents.”
The fact that other candidates change their minds doesn’t help Romney address this issue. And if you are going to compare Hillary Clinton being a Republican when she was in high school to Romney being pro-choice at the beginning of 2005, you are just going to look silly.
3. Point to his record and argue that deeds count for more than words. This is the strongest and most promising line of argument of the three. But it does mean that you don’t get to cry foul when people make criticisms of Romney’s actual record.
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