Ron on Mitt

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I listened to the tape from earlier this morning to check how this exchange went. After Paul credited Norma McColvey for changing her mind on abortion, a reporter from the Dallas Morning News asked, "Do you feel that Mitt Romney showed the same courage in coming to the pro-life cause?" Paul:

I can't read into anyone's mind and heart but what he said is very similar. If we take him at his word, that is absolutely the case. I don't think I'd put it at the same level of what Norma's had to go through, but no, he says that he has had a changed attitude, and some people have challenged him on his sincerety, but I do not. I'm going to take his word for it unless something changes.

That's a pretty sound endorsement of Romney's argument, that he is a credible pro-life politician because he was once pro-choice.

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  1. I had Cheerios for breakfast this morning. Six ounces of it.

  2. Go to hell, Weigel.

  3. Right now, the android know as Mitt looks to be the least evil of all the major players left in either party.

  4. I had Cheerios for breakfast this morning. Six ounces of it.

    I ate two Lean Pockets. One with turkey and spinach and one with roast beef and white cheese. Up to this point, I’ve also had 3 or 4 breat mints. Icebreakers, Wintergreen flavor.

  5. The good news is that the Huckabee campaign has decided to stop providing transportation to the media. So it appears that he is on his way out.

  6. I don’t blame you, GC. ______ pockets (take your pick) make for some serious stank breath.

  7. Of course the difference between the two is that Norma had nothing to gain by changing her mind. Rather it was the product of her discussions with pro-life protesters and a great deal of soul searching.

    Having lived in Massachusetts, I can’t help but notice that Mitt Romney’s positions tend to change whenever it is politically expedient for him in his quest for higher office.

    Of course, one could argue that that is a good thing; after all we want government officials to be responsive to the will of the people, right?

    I don’t agree, mainly because an unprincipled politician is unpredictable. You vote for Bill Clinton because you want to end corporate welfare, and the next thing you know he’s announcing a plan to cartelize the health care industry!

  8. My issue with Mitt isn’t that he changed his mind on abortion — it’s that his change on that issue and gay marriage and gun control all came at a very convenient time for him, right before he was running for the nomination from a party where his previous stances would be liabilities. If he changed his positions just to please one side of the debate, he can just as easily change them back to please the other side when that becomes convenient.

    To put it more succinctly, Norma McCorvey had much less to gain by switching sides than Mitt Romney did, so I’m far less suspicious of her conversion than his.

  9. He has similarly flexible views on health insurance.

  10. Actually, a huge breatmint consumption has been a habit of mine ever since I quit smoking years ago. I tried to switch to gum, but I’d spit it out as soon as the flavor would run out and end up going through too many sticks. Icebreakers has recently been my breath mint of choice, but I really enjoyed Altoids in my youth and may go back to them.

  11. Yeah, what tarran said… 😉

  12. Go to hell, Weigel.

    I don’t get it.

  13. Is Ron Paul being nice, or is he looking at the VP slot?

  14. Ron Paul is just being honest and insightful…

    as usual.

  15. Aresen,

    I can’t see Paul being anyone’s VP, he’s too radical.

  16. “Is Ron Paul being nice, or is he looking at the VP slot?”

    I’ve met (and talked with) Ron Paul twice and watched him closely for the last year. I know this may be hard to believe but he is a genuine, sincere, warm, loving man (not to mention wise). He’s a gentleman in the complete sense of the word. He was simply being himself today when he said that about Romney. Dr. Paul (and yes, he is actually a medical doctor – he’s a retired OB/Gyn that’s delivered over 4000 babies) is the most honest man in DC (even McCain has called him that – look it up).

  17. Ron Paul is not going to get the VP nomination. The way he thinks and the way the other five Republican candidates (and 80-90% of Republican voters think) are too different.

  18. I don’t know, this kind of looks like a “we’re not going to mention Obama’s drug use” moment. That is, mention an opponent’s flaw while sounding like you don’t think it’s an issue. You look like the good guy, and your opponent’s flaw gets out there more…

  19. Will Norma McColvey answer for her ties to a man with ties to a man who wrote racist newsletters?

  20. Go to hell, Weigel.

    So THIS is the smear job?

  21. Jacob – Do some research. He never wrote or spoke any recist sentiments. This is a smear attempt by the neocons in an attempt to discredit him because he has gotten so much support. This is an old issue that was put to rest years ago. Do this: TRY to find any recording or video of him making racist remarks or waving a confederate flag. I sincerely believe that there’s not a racist bone in Ron Paul’s body.

  22. Having lived in Massachusetts, I can’t help but notice that Mitt Romney’s positions tend to change whenever it is politically expedient for him in his quest for higher office.

    Ka-CHING! Give that man a kewpie doll. I think nobody knows what Mitt believes, including Mitt.

  23. I agree with crimethink 😉

    And yes, Ron Paul is being nice. I too have noticed that he tends to treat people with respect and in public take what they say at face value.

    Well, unless he’s really provoked.

  24. ditto what taktix said. paul gains nothing if he attacks romney here; it would just make him look petty/desperate and wouldn’t change any voters minds. if voters can’t realize on their own that romney is stunningly and embarrassingly full of shit, paul saying so will certainly not change any of their minds.

  25. LOL @ the old video. That was a much younger and more tightly-wound, passionate version of Ron Paul. He’s calmed down and become a very humble and docile man as he’s gotten older.

  26. Fred Thompson just dropped out of the race.

  27. Taktix-

    It’s not like he held a press conference to show reporters the ad he’s not going to run, or the drug use we’re not going to bring up. He simply responded to a reporter’s question, and did so admirably. I might have taken the bait and pondered aloud about which new idea Romney would take out of Paul’s closet to shine up and call his own. But that’s the difference between Paul and me.

  28. What?. No, its a post-nap stiffy.

  29. “A sound endorsement”? David, I’m wanting to cheer you on for doing some real journalism regarding the Paul campaign but you seem to not know how to walk the line between fact and commentary. What Paul said can be boiled down to this: “Until I am given a reason to doubt his sincerity, I take him at his word that he truly is pro-life and not pandering.” To take that as an endorsement of Romney’s argument is a definite stretch. More so, why do you think that’s the headline? Seriously. He can’t say something polite about an opponent?

    In the real world, people tend to think well of one another and give people the benefit of the doubt. They’ll actually even say nice things about people they might be competing with. In the world of D.C’ites this is scandalous.

    I personally think Paul is being too generous to Mitt. I lived in MA. His changes of view seem awfully convenient. But if they are sincere, wonderful! It’s one of the reasons, though, why I don’t trust people whose family business is politics. It is so hard to evaluate what’s been done out of sincerity versus political gain.

  30. Fred Thompson just dropped out of the race.

    Don’t let the door hit ya where the Lord split ya.

  31. Thanks, Tarran. That’s great history, great politics, and great television all rolled into one. Where do they find this stuff??

  32. Romney is about as believable as a door-to-door snake oil salesman, I don’t care what he believes about abortion, I don’t think he ever sounded this militant-right-wing tone when he was Gov. of Mass….If he is the Republican candidate people will be talking about how ‘genuine that Hillary Clinton seems’…

  33. Is Ron Paul being nice, or is he looking at the VP slot?

    VP? You must be joking. He’s far too loose a cannon for that. Probably just being nice. Paul’s not nearly as scripted as most other candidates.

    Problem is, that’s hurt him as much as it’s helped, especially when he’s had to deal with people who don’t already agree with him (say, opponents in debates or skeptical journalists). When he’s preaching to the choir, who already know the arguments, it’s not so bad if he rambles a bit. When he’s not, it’s a real problem.

    Generally, Paul’s campaign (official and unofficial) has been amateurish in every sense of the word. He had $20 million to spend and he was running a $200,000 campaign.

  34. Ottawa Reader,

    The funny/sad thing is that the grass-roots unofficial Ron Paul campaign has done a lot of work that was more professional than the official campaign. Compare some of the better YouTube videos of Ron Paul to the crappy ads put out by the official campaign.

    Of course, the grassroots have also produced loads of utter crap, but you’d at least think the people who were being paid by the campaign would produce better work than any amateurs.

  35. Another question is, if/when Ron Paul drops out before the convention, who does he endorse?

  36. Having lived in Massachusetts, I can’t help but notice that Mitt Romney’s positions tend to change whenever it is politically expedient for him in his quest for higher office.

    Sounds like Joseph Smith…

  37. [Generally, Paul’s campaign (official and unofficial) has been amateurish in every sense of the word. He had $20 million to spend and he was running a $200,000 campaign.]

    What’s not to get about this? Paul is singularly the only non-candidate. No polish, no Karl Rove in the background shoving words down his throat and he possesses absolutely no desire to be the “LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD”

    Radical is the anti-thesis of Paul. Paul is an individual. Not a goddamn corporation. When you realize the difference, it’s going to be too late.

    Oh, but what did you think about millionaire Mitt changing his mind on abortion?

    Geez. That isn’t even worth the digital space it occupies.

  38. I agree with crimethink here … I have no problem with a genuine change of heart. But upon close examination, the Mitt changed on this and a number of other issues when it was most convenient for him to do so, i.e., when he explored a run for the presidency.
    As for Paul at VP … not a chance. I deeply suspect that the “wiggle room” he wanted for a flat declaration against an independent run is very telling. These many millions raised will be put to use for an independent run – if that is permissible under law, which I am not certain about. Anyone know the answer to that? Can he use funds raised for the primaries post Feb 5 for an independent run?

  39. It is touching to think any candidate would consider Ron Paul for VP…it would result in such an onslaught of media brutality from all angles…even so-called conservative media like FoxNews and talk radio that I don’t think 65% of the vote would be outside the range of possibilities for the Democratic ticket.

  40. Paul is singularly the only non-candidate. No polish, no Karl Rove in the background shoving words down his throat and he possesses absolutely no desire to be the “LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD”

    The official campaign’s ads were on the very same issues as Rove pushed — immigration and abortion. Very few of them dealt with the issues that brought people to Paul, the Iraq war, federal invasions of privacy, and monetary policy.

    And there’s nothing wrong with polishing your ads. You can have both polish and principle — and when you’ve got upwards of $20M to spend, it’s unconscionable to put out the film school shit that the official campaign did.

  41. Do Thompson’s voters go to Huckabee? Or McCain? Romney? I’m just not sure…

  42. [And there’s nothing wrong with polishing your ads. You can have both polish and principle — and when you’ve got upwards of $20M to spend, it’s unconscionable to put out the film school shit that the official campaign did.]

    Not disagreeing with the poorly produced ads, but therein lies one of the unfortunate fallacies of what constitutes a crediable candidate and/or platform. Advertising is polished BS and we all know it.

    And the real tragedy in a world that’s edited together into clips and sound bites suitable for mass consumption is the MSM black-out of a viable voice. It’s not just wrong, it most certainly is conspiratorial.

  43. crimethink,

    Good point, though I’ll never know what the blimp thing was all about.

    Oh, but what did you think about millionaire Mitt changing his mind on abortion?

    What do I think? Paul probably was giving him too much credit. Romney is a professional politician, who is calibrating his platform to maximize his share of the vote among likely GOP primary voters. Like any good businessman would do, and most campaign managers would advise, he’s offering “customers” what he thinks they want, or what he thinks they think they want.

    Yes, the difference between Paul and Romney (say) is Paul already knows what he believes. He doesn’t need a Karl Rove to tell him that.

    But being right isn’t enough. Face it–most Americans aren’t libertarians, simple as that. If the arguments are put to them properly, yes, many more could have been brought around. With $20 million Paul could easily have afforded professionals to coach him for debates, help him focus and refine his arguments, and convey them in such a manner as to persuade the open-minded. Not fool them–persuade them. This is what all the other candidates do, and that’s what Paul needed to do.

    As it is?…God, at times Paul reminds me of my father after he’s watched the news. This was never going to cut it in a serious campaign.

    In the end the choir voted for Paul. Nobody else did.

  44. Mitt just wets his finger and sticks it in the air to align his current views with the wind. he tells the people what they want to hear. I seriously doubt Mitt has any solid values other than the value of his bank account.

  45. An Ottawa Reader:

    If ten percent of GOP voters in Iowa and NH are the “choir,” then RP made tremendous progress. That’s a lot of people.

  46. [In the end the choir voted for Paul. Nobody else did.]

    Touche.
    With that, let’s review the professionally presented choices we have left:

    A. Militarism

    B. Socialism

  47. hcbrand,

    Welcome to America. Our democratic system, by far the best in the world, produces those two choices every four years and pushes any others to the far margins. Interesting, innit?

  48. Hale,

    Been here for 50 years.

    But now that real estate is in the tank, gas is heading to $4 a gallon and the dollar is soon to be (in value) synoymous with the peso, I won’t be selling my house and driving anywhere to get away from it. So, you’re stuck with me.

  49. There are a couple of things very wrong with Paul’s statement. The first may be a misreport by Reason and should be corrected. There is no Norma McColvey but there is a Norma McCorvey. The problem is that Paul isn’t telling the truth that she convinced him to change his mind on abortion. That is an outright lie. Paul was already anti-abortion when he ran for president in 1988. McCorvey only became anti-abortion when she converted to fundamentalist Christianity in 1994. She announced her new view on abortion on August 10, 1994. So how is it that she convinced Paul to change his mind when he was already anti-choice before she was?

  50. If ten percent of GOP voters in Iowa and NH are the “choir,” then RP made tremendous progress. That’s a lot of people.

    I’d like to think so, but Pat Buchanan, another Old Right protest candidate, did much better than Paul has. One big difference: Buchanan was a former speechwriter for American presidents, and clearly knew what he was doing.

    Ron Paul was quickly crowned President of the ‘Net, but libertarian candidates always have done well there. (Harry Browne comes to mind–he was always winning Internet polls.)

  51. No libertarian presidential candidate before has ever received 10 percent of anything. Pat did well but so what? Who ever claimed that there are more libertarians than nationalist/ protectionist? Besides, Pat was pretty much the only opposition to candidate to Bush in 1992, thus he got pretty much all the protest votes.

    In any case, I’m looking forward to a possible upcoming Gary Johnson third party campaign this year. He lacks all of RP’s negatives and has most of his positives.

  52. “The problem is that Paul isn’t telling the truth that she convinced him to change his mind on abortion. That is an outright lie.”

    wmb,

    The report says that Ron Paul gives credit to McCorvey for changing HER mind. It doesn’t say that she changed his mind.

  53. “Welcome to America. Our democratic system, by far the best in the world, produces those two choices every four years and pushes any others to the far margins”

    America is a very rich nation…but it is highly doubtful and indeed ludicrous I think to say that the American system is the BEST democratic system…in fact I would say the USA is a perfect example of elite-top-down managed democracy, the power of the people to affect change is rather less in the United States compared to European nations and even some Latin American nations I’d say.

  54. But being right isn’t enough. Face it–most Americans aren’t libertarians, simple as that. If the arguments are put to them properly, yes, many more could have been brought around. With $20 million Paul could easily have afforded professionals to coach him for debates, help him focus and refine his arguments, and convey them in such a manner as to persuade the open-minded. Not fool them–persuade them. This is what all the other candidates do, and that’s what Paul needed to do.

    I think Paul could have “spun” his platform much better than he did. Not to the point of dishonesty, mind you, but to sound more inline with what mainstream conservatism is, for instance, instead of harping on the need to return to the gold standard (something I happen to agree with, but very few even understand), he should have jumped on the total lack of fiscal responsibility of the Bush administration citing specific examples. He could have also pointed out that taxes are still way too oppressive, etc.

    To mainstream conservatives, his antiwar verbage made him almost seem like the “kooky” liberal opposition. He should have used more positive spin on his position to put more in “conservative terms”, e.g. “The men and women in the U.S. military have done their job: they toppled the Iraqi army, captured Saddam, enabled the Iraqis to vote in true democratic elections for the first time in their lives, and stayed for 5 years to trained the Iraqi soldiers to take over. It’s now time for them to come home. Let’s end this expensive war and get our military back here to protect the people of this nation.”

    I’m not sure he would have even needed to mention the WOD because no one else is talking about it.

    In this sorry Republican line-up, with his other conservative “assets” (anti-illegal immigration, christian religion, pro-life position, history of voting against pork, etc.), the right spin could have been the difference between being a 5% candidate and a 25% candidate.

  55. NAL,

    Maybe I don’t really understand the mindset of the conservative mainstream, but it seems to me as though speaking favorably of Iraqi democracy in the context of the war would sound like an endorsement of the idea that spreading democracy is by itself a valid reason for foreign interventionism, which is exactly the stance the administration has taken after the weapons weren’t found. Praising the troops for their job – fine, everybody expects that. But soft-peddling opposition to military adventurism sounds to me like a compromise too far.

    I agree that he should’ve taken a much harder tack against fiscal irresponsibility by Washington in general and the current administration in particular, but had he harped any harder on them evil immigrants or on the role of Christianity in public life, he’d have lost a lot of my sympathy and it would’ve been against the not insignificant protest of my stomach that I voted for him.

    Then again, humility demands that I add that I’m nowhere near as big as mainstream conservatism. Maybe losing my ilk is acceptable; nay, an improvement.

  56. Maybe I don’t really understand the mindset of the conservative mainstream, but it seems to me as though speaking favorably of Iraqi democracy in the context of the war would sound like an endorsement of the idea that spreading democracy is by itself a valid reason for foreign interventionism, which is exactly the stance the administration has taken after the weapons weren’t found. Praising the troops for their job – fine, everybody expects that. But soft-peddling opposition to military adventurism sounds to me like a compromise too far.

    Yes, I see your point. Okay, leave that part out. 🙂
    Really, though, whenever I heard RP talk, I could always pinpoint the place where all the mainstream conservatives just stopped listening and started yelling “KOOK” at the TV. Whether RP (or Libertarians in general) likes it or not, good spinning is just one of the necessary prerequisites to a successful presidential campaign.

  57. NAL,

    On that point, we are in agreement. I definitely hear what you’re saying about listening to him speak and recognizing the point at which most of his potential constituents simply stop listening.

  58. NAL-Yup. That was the main reason the newsletters hurt Paul, IMHO, even more than the implied racism/homophobia-the sheer “KOOK” factor of the verbage of the conspiracy theories and the like. Paul still uses such language and ideas-like when he ranted about the North American international superhighway or whatever going through Texas in one of the debates (you know, the thing that doesn’t actually exist). The fact that many of his fans are Truthers doesn’t help matters one bit either.

    Libertarians need to drop the conspiracy theories and crap if they are to be considered as a legitimate political movement by the public at large. Paul reinforces many of the negative stereotypes the public has of libertarians as opposed to transending them.

  59. That’s a pretty sound endorsement of Romney’s argument, that he is a credible pro-life politician because he was once pro-choice.

    Umm,no unless there is some part of the quote you left out, Ron Paul is simply saying that he’s going to take Mitt Romney at his word on this one unless Mitt says or does something to indicate that he really is pro-choice. He’s declining to call someone a liar in the absence of evidence of lying. Hardly a radical concept — most politicians tell so many lies, why ding them for the rare moments when they are arguably telling the truth?

  60. “With that, let’s review the professionally presented choices we have left:

    A. Militarism

    B. Socialism ”

    Actually, it’s more like:
    A: Socialist militarism
    B: Fascist militarism

    I don’t think you get much choice about the Empire part..

  61. It’s funny when new ROn Paul converts come to places like this and try to preach the virtues of Ron Paul by listing tidbits that most of have known for 20 years or so.

    Ron Paul is a doctor? What??

    He didn’t write the newsletters? You don’t say? In fact Reason writers have been smeared by paulbots all over the internets. Why you ask? Because Reason folks said Ron Paul did NOT write the newsletters! For some reason that angered a lot of so-called Ron Paul “supporters”, which I find strange. Of course the explanation is that most of these so-called Ron Paul supporters do not actually support Ron Paul, they blindly support his “friends” ( who most likely wrote the newsletters).

    Next thing someone will tel me Ron Paul is against the War and he likes Gold.

  62. Is Romney- Care like Reason-care? ( I was reading the 2004 article “Mandatory Health Insurance Now!” earlir today, but don’t ask me to fnd it now.

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