Matinee Mitt


The editors of National Review, who in about a year will probably suck it up and endorse Giuliani, semi-quasi-defend flip-flopping prez candidate Mitt Romney today in a classic of political back-scratching.

[T]he gleeful pounding away at Romney's changes from some on the right is counterproductive. Do any of these critics really wish that Romney had remained pro-choice? Pro-choicers didn't object when Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, and Jesse Jackson moved their way on abortion — they welcomed the converts.

Yes, this is a real problem with the modern GOP: its refusal to act more like 1980s Democrats.

A conservative Republican would be unelectable in liberal Massachusetts, so it is understandable that such a badly outnumbered politician would emphasize some issues and soft-pedal others. It is natural that he might say he is personally pro-life, but would not try to change laws in Massachusetts;

This is not what he said. He said: "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time my mother took that position in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate."

that he would oppose same-sex marriage, but otherwise promote gay rights; even that he would duck the Reaganite label.

Reagan won Massachusetts twice. Romney only won it once.

There's theoretically nothing wrong with political conversions: If Joe Lieberman made an America for Lieberman presidential bid and decided to become anti-war, anti-censorship, and pro-privatization, he might become worth voting for. But there's a difference between a road to Damascus experience and a cowardly flip-flop. Romney doesn't take many trips to Damascus.

NEXT: Reading Minds

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  1. Has anybody been keeping stats on Weigel? I lost track of who he’s shilling for.

  2. I could maybe buy the assertion that he had a conversion on one issue, or even a whole set of related issues, but Mitt is making the same “road to Damascus” claim about abortion, gay rights, gun control…every issue that is important to Republican culture war voters.

    It’s just not credible.

  3. Hmmm Mitt Romney (the Republican Kerry), Guliani, and McCain?

    You know, maybe Ron Paul will have more of a shot than many give him credit for.

  4. One can only hope! In any event, it’s hard to take a lot of those guys at NR seriously anymore. Other than Derb, I mean. And (I suppose) WFB himself, whenever he descends from Olympus.

  5. “…the Republican Kerry..”

    Not quite. Mitt has reversed himself on numerous issues, repudiating long-held positions in order to advocate for their polar opposite. He actually has flip-flopped. Can you name, kwais, a single issue that Kerry did this?

    Kerry’s problem was that he took wishy-washy, nuanced positions on issues, rather than committing himself to one side or the other. That’s a rather different model than what Mitt is doing.

  6. This is an extraordinarily weak GOP field, and the National Reviewniks know it. Seriously, a socially liberal Italian New Yorker? A late-in-life pro-life convert cum Massachusetts Mormon? An authoritarian “maverick” whose moves toward heterodoxy create more enemies than friends?

    If Obama or Edwards are the Democratic nominees, the Democrats will almost certainly take back the White House in 2008 when the Republicans fail to offer a candidate the base can love. (If Clinton is the nominee, it will be a lot tougher, but I’d still put money on her.)

  7. America does elect people to the presidency who wear shirts with logos.

  8. I don’t care for Romney much, but to accuse a politician of “flip-flopping” is like accusing a dog of barking.

    That’s what they do, so you need to use other criteria when deciding which one you like.

  9. oh my God Becky, I just agreed with Danny boy.

  10. I put Romney in the same class as Clinton. They are consummate politicians, whose convictions are determined at the intersection of their ambition and the most current polls. But since a large majority of the American populace want us out of Iraq, that means they will both make the right decisions on the war should they get elected.

    To maintain divided government into ’09, I am compelled to support a Republican for President. Romney is well down my list, but expect his populist instincts would make him an acceptable President with a Democratic congress.

  11. Ashish George: If it weren’t that you had the same first name as me, I would call you a bumbling idiot…on second thouught, you are a bumbling idiot. You obviously have problems with Italians, you think that Obama, the one-term ultra-leftist congressman can win, you think Ultra-lightweight ambulance chaser lawyer Edwards can win, and finally you think Hillary would “probably” win. I have news for you – – you obviously do not know Rudy Giuliani and he is going to beat the big, scary “Clinton machine” into a bloddy pulp.

  12. I think Edwards can win too. Whose left after Obama and Clinton beat the hell out of each other for a year or so?

  13. Let’s see: Weigel does not like Mitt, and Joe does not like Mitt. If only ChicagoTom would wade in against Mitt my mind would be made up.

    I guess I am gonna have to have some buttons made up that say, “Git wit Mitt”, or, “Cure Insomnia, vote for Romnia”, or, “Don’t be bored mon, vote Mormon”.

  14. wayne,

    I liked 1994 Mitt ok. It’s just 2007 Mitt that I dislike.

    Maybe I should hand out “Romney in 94” buttons at the convention.

  15. Joe,

    I forgot you are a Massassassachoosits liberal. You have first hand exposure to the Romulan. Is he a good governor?

  16. Romney is a moron, he can’t read.
    His “universal health care plan”, violates the first amendment big time.
    Republicans are not party of small government and freedom anymore, but his nomination would finally erase all bits of hope left in anyones mind.

  17. “Romney is a moron, he can’t read.”

    I won’t argue your other points, but this statement is prima fascia stupid, Terry.

  18. Wayne, I wish it were. Read Albert Jay Knock’s “Memiors of a Superlours(?) Man” and in it he stats on page 39,paraphrasing, “By unable to read, I don’t mean inteliigently read, I mean unable to read at all-unable that is after reading a piece of printed matter unable to come away with anything close to the correct idea of it.”
    If you don’t believe me, GO READ the first amendment. Then present the arguement that Romeney knows what it means based on his “universal healt care program”.
    You fucking schmuck Wayne, but good news your in the majority.

  19. Can you name, kwais, a single issue that Kerry did this?

    Other than the famous “I voted for it before I voted against it,” you mean.

    Seriously – Google “Kerry flip flops”. Not saying that he’s any worse than any other politico, but to claim Kerry never reversed field to seek political advantage is just nuts.

  20. Let’s see: Weigel does not like Mitt, and Joe does not like Mitt. If only ChicagoTom would wade in against Mitt my mind would be made up.

    Well here you go…

    The fact that he decided to appeal to the hard right on abortion and gay rights stuff makes me really dislike him, almost as much as I dislike Hillary.

    Whether or not it “politics as usual” such brazen “Ignore what i said just a few years ago” makes you a non-starter in my book.

  21. George T.–
    A few points…

    1. I have no problem with Italians. But Italian-Americans are traditionally associated with northern culture, and this isn’t very likely to help a candidate running on the ticket of a party whose base is the South unless said candidate is a devout Catholic, which Giuliani has hardly demonstrated himself to be.

    2. Here is how the head-to-heads look now…

    So Giuliani is preferred to Clinton (although not quite beating hear to a “bloddy pulp”), Obama, and Edwards. McCain is narrowly preferred over Obama and Edwards but loses slightly to Clinton. And all three Democrats kick Romney’s ass.

    This is popularity, not electoral votes. And around this time before the 2000 election, Bush had a 19-point advantage over Gore. All the major GOP contenders have personal liabilities that are likely to hurt them with the base, a point you failed to address in your otherwise erudite and insighftul response. None of the major Democrats have any problems with their base except–and this is a big except–for Clinton’s position on the war. Indeed, Obama and Edwards are much more likely to excite the base than either Kerry or Gore.

    3. We don’t have the same first name as you might have noticed by (1) looking at my name, (2) looking at your name, and (3) comparing the two.

  22. wayne,

    He was competant. In Massachusetts, the state legislature pretty much runs the show. Mitt acted as a brake on the legislature, and he did just fine.


    You mispelled Mormon, and that’s a terrible thing to say about Mormons.


    “Other than the famous “I voted for it before I voted against it,” you mean.” This wasn’t a flip-flop, but a squish. Kerry voted in favor of the spending bill when it included budget offsets, and against it when they were removed. He didn’t change his position from supporting the funding to opposing the funding. What he did was to adopt a position that sweated the small stuff instead of taking a firm stance on the important issue at hand. Compare this to Romeny, who staked out one firm position on gun control a few years ago, and has now repudiated it.

  23. Terry,

    Thanks for clearing that up, I think.

    So, you’re decided then? You’re voting with Romney, right?

  24. ChicagoTom,

    I’m surprised you don’t like the witch?

  25. this is a better button: “Don’t be a bore mon, vote Mormon”

    If Mitt gets elected, do you suppose he will move the nation’s capitol to Salt Lake City? If he will promise to do that, he has my vote, and since I grew up in Chicago I am authorized to pull the lever for my Mom and Dad too, God rest their souls, so that is three sure votes.

  26. Wayne, funny you’re not.
    I make a good point and you can’t answer it, so you try to be funny, thus revealing your ignorance.

    BTW: How come you don’t answer the question in my second post?
    Because your a schmuck.

  27. Terry,

    Is there a question in your second post?

  28. Terry,

    I want to congratulate you on your correct spelling of “Schmuck”.

  29. Ashish George: I apologize for botching your name. I get a little carried away when people put Italian-Americans into some liberal category. The TRUTH is, most Italian-Americans (like myself) are very family oriented, conservative AND REPUBLICAN! Unlike the perception that people like Mario Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi try to make us out to me. We are anything BUT liberal.

  30. I’m surprised you don’t like the witch?

    Nope not one bit. I’d vote for a retarded monkey before I vote for her.

    You don’t get to claim to come from a working middle class family when you really grew up in Park Ridge, IL.

  31. GT,

    I thought you were all made guys.

  32. CT,

    I deduce from your name that you are from Chicago? The city, or the burbs? If you are from the city, what neighborhood?

  33. “The TRUTH is, most Italian-Americans (like myself) are very family oriented,” yes

    “conservative” um

    “AND REPUBLICAN!” No, that’s not even remotely true. The most Italian states in the country are Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. There was a swing towards the Republicans in the 70s and 80s, but it hasn’t been seen since 1988.

  34. Joe, my friend…I believe you are very wrong about Italian-Americans not being mostly conservative and republican. I have a HUGE family in New York…cousins, aunts, uncles friends etc etc . all mostly on Long island and in the city. ALL REPUBLICANS, ALL REAGAN SUPPORTS, AND ABSOLUTELY RUDY SUPPORTERS.

  35. GT,

    I know what you are talking about. Let me guess, some of them out in Long Island, maybe some others in the old neighborhood?

    No question, there was a “white flight” swing towards Law and Order Republicanism among northeastern Italians from about the late 60s to the late 80s. It was a big part of the Reagan Democrat realignment. I’ve got some in my own family, too. People whote vote for a party three consecutive times almost always remain with that party thereafter. But national voting patterns about now show Italian-Americans as slightly more Democratic than Republican.

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