This is a response to the conversation I am having with a friend and conservative Romney supporter, Alienated Wannabe. He makes some good points and as always, I like to engage with people I disagree with not shout them down/out.
"Like it or not, the reality is that all electable politicians somehow find a way to tell to enough people 'what they want to hear.' " This is true, every candidate panders to their base to some extent in the primaries. The ones that anti-pander (Joe Lieberman) don't do well. However, the extent and extremes to which Romney has changed his beliefs on core issues for Republican faithful leaves many suspecting him, not just liberal Democrats.
Gov. Mike Huckabee, his rival in the primaries points out that even though, (like you AW) he believes that Romney's changes in position on things like Abortion are genuine, he will be vulnerable to attacks from Democrats saying he is a liberal (so vote Huckabee).
An issue like Abortion and its related fields (stem cells) are one of the few issues that is truly black and white. Either you think it is murder, or you don't. We can all agree there should be less abortions over all, and less destruction of blastocysts for research but we may have different means to those goals. I say teach age appropriate sex education starting early (like telling 6 year olds it is not OK for people to touch you "there" and whom to tell if someone is) and giving people access to contraceptives. AW, you may prefer abstinence-only education, even though empirical evidence shows it doesn't work and is such a waste of money that states are declining federal funding for it. As for stem cells, I say start with all those frozen blastocycsts that are sitting in lockers since the couple has either given up on IVF or succeeded. Also develop IVF so less blastocycsts are wasted...
Anyway, my point is John Kerry pretended to be both pro- and anti-war in 2004 but never said his vote for the war was a mistake. While Romney has explained why he has changed his mind on abortion and stem cell research there are important issues where he has flip flopped and pretended nothing has happened. Like immigration or gun control. Folks like Kerry and Romney (what is it with Massachusetts?) would have a lot more power over their positions if they said here's why my position changed and I was wrong before.
Please go to Romney's issues sections of his website and then compare that to the many YouTube videos from 1994, 2002-2004 and 2006-07. He is all over the place more than any candidate I have ever seen (except maybe Bill Richardson's "I'm a Red Sox AND Yankees fan" routine). And frankly, I just don't think he is trustworthy to hold the highest office in the land.
Romney is not a moderate or a centrist, he was a Conservative in sheep's clothing at least on some issues in Massachusetts. So we know where he stands on the poor (cut their programs), gays (don't let them marry), unions (blame them for everything), taxes (hide them as "fees" so that poor people pay, not my rich friends). I worked in the Massachusetts State House 2003-04, so I know what he is really like as a governor.
We don't know what he will do on foreign policy or immigration or gun control in DC (there is a big supreme court case on this in the fall). We know he says he will "double Guantanamo" and really crack down on immigration, but reality may be very different. If we take him at his word, I think both are horrible ideas.
Amnesty alone, I agree with you, won't work. Reagan tought us that. However, cracking down alone won't solve the problem either. The Senate bill had major flaws but the basic premise of tougher enforcement plus a earned path to citizenship was good. More importantly, we need to help Mexico and other Meso- and South American countries build up their economies such that people won't come need to across our boarder.
Today the Mittster bought a hallow victory at the Ames straw poll. He got 31%, but spent maybe millions to do it (and his poor sons risked their lives driving an RV across Iowa) and two Christian conservatives running against him as a flip flopper and as a Mormon (Huckabee and Brownback) with no money got more than him combined. Rudy and Fred and John McCain didn't even try (McCain got 2nd to last place against a pretend candidate). Most importantly, turnout was extremely low compared to 1999.
"I support Mitt Romney because I sincerely believe that he is the best candidate in the race, not just because his family has history with my Church. I know this is true, because there have been other well-connected Mormons whom I have not supported in their run for office. Please give me the benefit of the doubt"
I am sorry if you thought that I was insinuating that your support for him was solely religiously based. That was not my intent. What I meant to convey is that many in Utah and LDS folks elsewhere feel compelled to support Romney because of not only his religion but also how powerful his family was/is within the Church heirarchy. My message was to those faithful Mormons who felt they should support him, it was that they don't have to, because he poorly represents your faith due to his flop floppery.
I know liberal and conservative Mormons, each of whom are steadfaith in their belief in the Book of Mormon etc. I don't think, that President Faust or Wayne Owens were any less of a Mormon than say your Bishop is.
All I am saying is the first Mormon president should not be person whose only conviction is to get elected.