Shape Shifter

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Just so we’re clear, if this guy wins the Republican nomination, I walk:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

People can change their minds on an issue, and if Mitt Romney has had a genuine change of heart on abortion, then that’s great.  But how can anyone possibly trust this man?  He’s a chameleon who changes his tune to suit his audience.

On the other hand, though Rick Santorum is not my first choice at the moment, he’s the only candidate who puts social issues first on his website.  He’s by far the most passionate defender of the unborn we have in this race, if not the country.

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  1. Romney’s primary objective is be get elected and reelected. At least in his first term, he should be reliably conservative. Dump him in 2016 if you’re still not convinced.

  2. Rather than see Obama re-elected I would vote for the Weather-Vane although it would make me physically ill to do so. My distrust for Romney is immense and any man who can flip-flop as easily and as regularly as he does deserves not an iota of trust from any voter. If it comes down to Romney and one conservative in the primaries, Romney loses, which explains the rise of Herman Cain. Now as Herman Cain begins the crash and burn phase of his campaign, it is a golden opportunity for some other conservative to make his move. I think Rick Perry has been counted out far too soon. We shall see. The GOP establishment gravely underestimates the opposition to Romney among the Republican base. Republicans had to hold their noses with McCain in 2008 and McCain is the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan in comparison to the Weather-Vane.

  3. If it comes down to Romney and one conservative in the primaries, Romney loses,

    I’d go a step further and suggest that he couldn’t survive there being two viable candidates, at least when you work out the numbers. He needs a third candidate (aside from Ron Paul) to be polling in at least the 10 percent range.

  4. Windsock Romney’s core political conviction is that he should hold elective office. He’ll never waver on that.

    In the last few days, I’ve actually found myself taking another look at Gingrich. For all of his manifold flaws, he has knowledge of the issues and can articulate his viewpoint in something other than gimmicky soundbites.

    What a field, what a field.

  5. Windsock Romney’s core political conviction is that he should hold elective office.

    And that’s what I do not get (and did not get about George Bush – pere, either). He is a man of genuine accomplishment in other endeavours, he has ample skills at organization and fund-raising, and he is not such a fool that he cannot think through for what he actually stands. Why is he abasing himself?

  6. Paul Z. wrote, “…if this guy [i.e., Romney] wins the Republican nomination, I walk…”

    Does that mean, Paul Z., that in a race between the Obamanation of Desolation and Mr. Weather Vane (as Donald so aptly describes him), you will vote for the Obamanation?

    Like Donald M., I will hold my nose and vote for Mr. Weather Vane, then promptly vomit afterwards.

  7. I would light my eyeballs on fire before voting for Obama. No, I’d probably just sit out the election. Considering I live in Maryland, it is of little consequence who I vote for I suppose. But with any other candidate I’d at least be motivated to volunteer, particularly in the bordering states of PA and VA. If it’s Romney, I’m not lifting a finger to help the man or the party.

  8. Because I live in Louisiana, I have the luxury of being able to vote for whomever I choose without helping Obama. So, I can say that if Romney gets the nomination, the Republicans won’t be getting my vote.

    I’d love to love Santorum; but, I’m not sure he can win a national election. Heck, he didn’t even win his last campaign in Pennsylvania. I’m taking a much harder look at Gingrich right now.

  9. If God had meant us to vote, he would have given us candidates…

    Yeah, I too am increasingly disgusted with the way this field (never good) has been shaping up. Though living in Ohio now, I’m not sure I’d actually sit out and refuse to vote for Romney if he’s the candidate against Obama. I’d have to think hard about it, though. With Obama in there, at least the GOP is clear on who the enemy is. With Romney in the White House, the congressional GOP might actually allow a more left-ward leaning set of policies to be implemented than would be the case under Obama.

  10. Despite my negative tone, as I’ve said elsewhere, I actually like several of the candidates – not just tolerate them. I’m perfectly fine with Perry, Santorum, and Gingrich. Sure, they’re all flawed, but then again you can’t really expect perfection from your candidates.

    In a way it might be good to elect someone that we’re not all praising as the next political Messiah. When we go overboard with a politician we can only wind up being disappointed in the end. In other words, here’s hoping we don’t let perfect be the enemy of the pretty good.

  11. With Romney in the White House, the congressional GOP might actually allow a more left-ward leaning set of policies to be implemented than would be the case under Obama.

    To demonstrate your point, would a GOP Congress have passed “No Child Left Behind” with a Democrat in the White House? Probably not.

  12. Nope, I’ll not vote for Romney. Someone better set the Republican National Committee straight on this. Romney runs, we all lose. Yes, I would vote Santorum — and you can tell the RNC that, too.

  13. Yeah, I too am increasingly disgusted with the way this field (never good) has been shaping up.

    I have a sinking feeling that the major problem is that (collectively) we ain’t the people we used to be.

  14. One warning about the “I’ll walk” sentiment: if followed too strictly, it guarantees you will have no political party to speak of.

    Social liberals took over the Democrats in part because too many good people followed the “I’ll walk” sentiment, rather than staying and fighting.

    What if they sabotage the GOP too, relying on their sabotage to boost their enemies’ principled exodus?

    I’m getting the sense that the rich Republicans who backed SSM in New York will be allying with gay groups’ agents to do dirty deeds at the Republican National Convention in 2012.

    I advise Republican Catholics to find out how their state party appoints delegates and to make sure many reliable allies are among their delegation. Organize now, or die in defeat later.

  15. I will not vote for Romney UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. NEVER.

    I live in Ohio – a swing state. If I knew with absolute certainty that my vote would be the difference in the election, I STILL would not vote for Romney.

    Of course, I’d never vote for Obama either. I don’t vote for pro-aborts. And that includes Romney.

  16. Refusing to vote for Romney doesn’t mean we won’t vote in 2012. I want to see Obama pack his things but we may have to settle for the US Congress and a bunch of state governments.

  17. What’s weird to me is how, time and again, parties manage to nominate candidates that nobody wants. That is mysterious to me and I start suspecting that it’s due to some sort of mysterious feature of statistics or math. It’s counter-intuitive that a system that is allegedly about majority rule keeps picking candidates for whom no majority seems to exist and which everybody I know doesn’t want. It reminds of the mysteries of fluid dynamics, where leaves mysteriously float upstream due to hidden eddies. Nobody wanted Dole, yet somehow, he was nominated anyway. Bush seemed to get nominated with shrug. McCain was also somebody nobody really seemed to want. And now Romney. I don’t know of living soul who wants him, and yet somehow everybody is glumly resigned to the fact that, despite nobody wanting him, his party are still inevitably going to pick him anyway. It makes me wonder, in what sense is all this democratic. Very strange to me.

  18. “It makes me wonder, in what sense is all this democratic.” That’s the exact problem. It IS democratic. 1st Samuel chapter 8 rings loudly and clearly. The “peepul” get the government it deserves, and until we repent of our baby-murdering, our homosexual perversions, our adultery, our fornication, and our idolary, we can expect nothing but leaders who at best are Weather Vanes. When the “peepul” have lost the principles of morality and virtue, can we expect anything other than that of their leaders?

  19. The worst features of our current society have not been caused by elections Paul. Abortion on demand, the rise in acceptance of homosexuality, etc, have been fostered by elites wearing the black robes of judges, seated in academia, at the helm of the media and making barely disguised propaganda in Hollywood. If the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box over the past several decades had not been thrwarted by said elites, our society would be far better off.

  20. What’s weird to me is how, time and again, parties manage to nominate candidates that nobody wants.

    Do you get the insurance agents you want?

    People enter and are recruited into the political profession like other professions. Who you get is derived from who is already there and what sort of screens and hurdles are present. Public opinion is a matrix in which these fellows operate, influencing their behavior in some measure and winnowing a few who are beyond the pale. Other elements of the matrix also winnow people, for good or ill. I do not think public opinion has much effect on the supply-side, and the supply-side is where your problem is. The general calibre of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie is a problem, and the degree of regard ambient among them for public office.

  21. Simply running in opposition to Obama is not enough to get my vote. I did not vote for any presidential candidate in ’08 and I’m prepared to sitout ’12 if I have to. Romney is unacceptable (for my own reasons) and I am not yet certain who is acceptable.

  22. Same situation as many – in a state which will go Republican regardless of who is the candidate, so my vote really won’t matter. Voted QTP (Quixotic Third Party) last time, other than local races. Looks like it may happen again, or maybe I’ll have some Tea.

  23. “That is mysterious to me and I start suspecting that it’s due to some sort of mysterious feature of statistics or math.”

    Mark – It’s called Arrow’s Paradox.

  24. Most likely I would simply not vote over voting third party. Last time around, as bad as the McCain choice was, the third party options consisted mainly of kooks.

    G-Veg’s comment echoes my feelings fairly well.

    Pinky gets to the heart of the matter with Arrow’s Paradox, explained here if you’re looking for a link. I would add that conservatives tend to shoot themselves in the foot each election cycle. I don’t have time to go into detail, but we can be our own worst enemy.

    Somewhat tangentially, I’d like to address one thing that keeps popping up. I have now seen a couple of pieces written about how Romney was the conservative darling in 2008. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Like many, I saw him as the best of a very bad lot and meekly threw my support to him when Thompson dropped out. Few energetically supported him, and now that there are much better conservative alternatives in the race this time conservatives want nothing to do with him (for the most part).

  25. Any support that Romney got from conservatives in 2008 was almost entirely due to a deep antipathy to McCain and a well-founded conviction that McCain was entirely intent on being a good loser in the Fall rather than putting up the type of fight needed to beat Obama. McCain seemed so pathetically eager in the Fall to suspend his campaign for the “good of the country” which I believe he did twice ostensibly due to the economic meltdown. The truth is that McCain’s heart wasn’t in the fight, and he seemed to be running for “Miss Congeniality” instead of president.

  26. If John McCain spent 1/10 the energy going after Obama the way he went after conservative opponents like Hayworth . . . well he still probably would have lost. But at least he could have gone down swinging.

  27. But, sputter/sniffle, “What about the children!?”

    Soaring food/fuel prices inflict the most harm on low-to-moderate income families and their children.

    So, why are brilliant Obama and his geniuses (Bernanke, Geithner) feverishly striving 24/7 to hike food/fuel prices? I suppose it’s another one of them high-level concepts we ignorant, self-supporting yokels just cannot comprehend.

  28. Donald, maybe you are correct when you said that “The worst features of our current society have not been caused by elections Paul.”

    But I have no confidence in the people’s ability to recognize right from wrong after the last election. Maybe I am just a pessimist. 🙁

  29. Poor fallible Man Paul! We are blinded by sin and our intellects feebled by our passions. Yet, by the grace of God we can accomplish so much that is good! As Lincoln said at the beginning of the Civil War we have “the better angels of our nature”. We must have courage and resolution to speak the truth boldly. If we do that, and if we mean it, I have no doubt that there is much in our nation that can be amended.

  30. The shallow presidential talent pool today reflects the choices of the people who took part in politics 30-40 years ago (and also the choices of people who refused to take part in politics.)

    The only reason we’re fighting those HHS contraception regs on the national level is because 28 states already passed similar regs.

    Look at your local politics. Start your own little party machine. Convince your neighbors, not some guy 2,000 miles away. Learn to win a neighborhood caucus election.

    These great debates about national issues are fun on the internet, but they often distract from where we can have the most impact.

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