Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mitt Romney as George Costanza

This will get my rating to PG at least.
George: Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.
Boy, does that ever remind me of someone...
Some think he was feigning his moderation then and is revealing his true self now. But it's a safe bet that Romney would have passed a lie detector test in both incarnations. And that speaks to his consummate skills as a salesman, the best of whom believe so deeply in their product that they internalize its merits -- which is why they never sound like they're selling.

(Photo Credit: Associated Press/Deseret News) "If the world ended tomorrow, would you give $1,000?...Great, I'll put you down for a thousand."

You really should read rest of the lengthy article about Mitt Romney's recent "change of heart" on cultural issues great and small in today's Washington Post...that quote was just the closer. But here's some more choice bits. On abortion:
Including NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. In September 2002, at a face-to-face meeting at Romney's headquarters in Cambridge, Romney assured a delegation from the group that, no, he would not impinge on abortion rights. And yes, he would like to see easier access to emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B. He closed the meeting by taking on a just-between-us tone and saying, essentially, You need Republicans like me. And the party needs candidates like me, because this issue is killing the party, according to Melissa Kogut, who was then executive director of the organization. He didn't expect an endorsement, he told her, but he hoped the organization would refrain from attacking him during the campaign.

Which the group did, stressing instead its support for Democrat Shannon O'Brien. Kogut said at a news conference before the election that it would be "dangerous" not to elect a leader on this issue, but that's a long way from the war she and her colleagues would have declared against an antiabortion candidate.
But two years into his term, Moderate Romney started to vanish. NARAL's detente lasted until July 2005, when the governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to provide emergency contraceptives to women without a prescription -- a total 180 from his avowal during the NARAL meeting. Kogut, the group's former executive director, phoned the governor's office but, she says, he never called back.

"We felt completely played," she recalls. "We just couldn't believe it, given what he'd said to our faces."
On gay rights:
Romney also awed the state's Log Cabin chapter, meeting with the gay Republican group in October 2002 and wowing attendees with opinions on domestic-partnership benefits in the workplace (he was for them) and discrimination based on sexual orientation (strongly against).

He spoke against gay marriage, one attendee recalls, but it sounded as if he could countenance civil unions when he said, "Just don't use the M-word." He emphasized themes of tolerance and respect, and by the end of the meeting Log Cabin members were pretty dazzled. After Romney left, the group unanimously voted to endorse him.
By then, some Log Cabin Republicans were saying they'd been snookered.

"He shakes your hand, looks you in the eye," says Richard Babson, a Log Cabin member who attended the Romney meeting. "It's hard for me to know what Mitt Romney's first principles are on a given day."
The environmentalists:
Environmentalists, meantime, were amazed to discover that this uber-capitalist seemed pretty much a Greenpeace fantasy. Once elected, he brought environmental activists into the fold, among them Douglas Foy, the formidable president of the Conservation Law Foundation, who was given a newly created Cabinet-level job. And not long after he was sworn in, Romney went to the oil- and coal-fired Salem Harbor Station power plant and threatened to shut it down if its owners didn't meet a deadline to slash nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.

"If the choice is between dirty power plants or protecting the health of the people of Massachusetts, there is no choice in my mind," he said at an impromptu news conference, in February 2003, while hard-hat-wearing workers at the plant jeered.
If the gay-rights crowd sounds bitterly disappointed, the state's environmentalists sound like they'd gotten punk'd. By the end of his term, Romney had announced his support for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He'd supported an easing of regulations on power-plant cleanup, including Salem Harbor, the site of that confrontation. And he'd pulled out of a historic seven-state agreement designed to reduce greenhouse gases, an effort he'd initially championed.

"Hearts were broken," says Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation. "That's the best way I can put it. And when someone is an unexpected advocate, like Romney was, it builds up your hopes and breaks your heart even more."
The Republican party:
[Mitt's change occurred during] the elections of 2004, when Romney backed a slate of Republican candidates, hoping to loosen the Democratic hold on the state legislature. When the GOP gained not a single seat, he seemed to abandon interest in a second term and set his sights on a run for the presidency.

That's not to say he gave up on the governor's job; in 2006, for example, he signed into law an ambitious health insurance bill that mandated coverage for all Massachusetts residents by July of this year. But he began traveling regularly outside the state for campaign-like, get-to-know-me appearances, more than 100 trips in 2005 and 2006, the Boston Globe reported. He stopped selling Massachusetts and started to make it the butt of jokes, telling out-of-state audiences that his job made him feel like "a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."
The business community:
"Everyone knew that rebuilding the economy here would be 40 miles of hard road, and Mitt bailed out after five miles," says Howard Anderson, a professor of business at MIT and a longtime investor in Bain Capital who has known Romney for years. "At some point, we in the venture capital community became skeptics, and that eventually turned into rampant cynicism."
"It's as though he's let the market dictate his ideology, which is something no one who knew him in the private sector ever saw coming. Not a hint."
So let's look at the political ideological market and Mitt, by election:

In 1994, it was a banner year for Republicans, with large sweeps in the US House, US Senate, state legislatures, and governor's offices. President Bill Clinton was at his lowest popularity. Mitt was voicing liberal positions against Ted Kennedy running for the US Senate.

In 2002, Democrats listened to Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt, offering up the disastrous Department of Homeland Security, losing the fight over unionizing its employees, and trying to bribe Seniors with prescription drug coverage...and they got trounced. Only one new Democrat was elected to the US Senate, and that was because the sitting senator had an affair with his wife. Mitt Romney espoused the liberal-to-moderate beliefs quoted above and won his Governor's race.

In 2004, with Kerry on the ticket in Massachusetts and gay marriage on the ballot in most states, Romney ran against gay marriage and pushed GOP local candidates and lost every single race.

After that, he moved to New Hampshire and Iowa, even though he still had a job as a Governor of Massachusetts. But to those of you who think Willard Mitt Romney lied to Bay Staters to win an election, it's not a lie if you believe it.


A Christian Prophet said...

He who has never changed his mind, throw the first stone. You might enjoy the speech on religion:

Oldenburg said...

There is a big difference between changing your mind and changing your position to fit with what the public thinks.

Romney seems to be in line with the opinion of whatever group of people he is trying to convince to support him, in 1994, 2002, and 2007. The only difference is what those views are.