Update: Consistent? Absolutely! Step one, then step two!
My brother says “yes.” I remain unconvinced.
Watch this video of the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate. Romney argues forcefully that he will not change the pro-life laws. In fact, he argues with the sort of passion that suggests he is either (a) an extremely polished liar or (b) earnestly committed to what he is saying.
If you watch this interview with Jan Mickelson, though, where Mitt doesn’t know he’s being videotaped, you’ll see the exact same passion that he demonstrated in the gubernatorial debates. He’s so passionate that he barely restrains himself, an excellent indication that he is not managing his words so they are politically appropriate. Rather, he is earnestly committed to the separation of church and state.
On this issue, at least, Mitt seems consistent. As for the others? I don’t know, but it’s plausible that the same explanation could be used for all of them–personally, Mitt has always held conservative opinions but has thought that his political position needs to represent the will of the people that elect him.
What is clear is that the “flip-flopping” charge is probably the single greatest hurdle Romney will have to overcome. Reminders of Kerry will doubtlessly prove rhetorically effective, even if inaccurate.
(HT: Jim for the first video)
Although Romney states toward the end of that clip of the gubernatorial debate that he does not want to be labeled either pro-choice or pro-life, he explicitly affirms his commitment to a women’s right to choose and he makes that statement without any reference to legal precedents. Also, he says that his commitment goes back to 1970, when his mother ran for Senate as a pro-choice candidate.
In the clip from the radio show, he states that he is pro-life and that his record as governor of Massachusetts affirms that, which I grant that it does in the way he views it. He did nothing to change the pro-choice laws but vetoed bills once he was in office and realized that he was pro-life.
I do, however, appreciate his apparent respect for the separation of church and state, which the current Administration sorely lacks, but it’s interesting to me that he excludes his Mormonism from the debate with the radio host. It appears that his secular and sacred values inhabit different spheres and that he believes the latter has no bearing on his run for the secular office of the Presidency.
Romney has walked a fine line throughout his political career with regard to abortion but he said himself that his commitment to a woman’s right to choose goes back over 30 years. Regardless of whether or not being pro-choice conflicts with his religious beliefs, one must admit that he has changed positions dramatically on this issue, unless he was being disingenuous with the people of Massachusetts about his commitment to preserve a woman’s right to choose simply to get elected. But that’s impossible.
1. Exactly how do you know he’s oblivious to being videotaped? Didn’t Romney’s camp put this video on YouTube?
2. Even if he thinks he’s not being videotaped, it’s a radio interview.
3. “…personally, Mitt has always held conservative opinions but has thought that his political position needs to represent the will of the people that elect him.”
Which is pretty much a concession that he is a walking stereotype–never mind his principles, only mind his politics.
The second half of the video is an off-air debate between Romney and the radio host about whether being pro-choice is at odds with Mormon beliefs. Romney states that it is not and there are people in leadership in the church who are pro-choice.
But he also says that, in the 1,000 years after his return to Earth, Christ will reign from two places– Jerusalem and Missouri.
I see–the second half, the jumpy Mitt half, is where he’s off air, freestylin’. My favorite part is where he faults Mickelson’s interpretive ability by saying “You’re not a lawyer.”
Thanks for the feedback. I wrote that post in a hurry and should have thought through it a bit more.
1) Prufrock, you wrote: “Romney has walked a fine line throughout his political career with regard to abortion but he said himself that his commitment to a woman’s right to choose goes back over 30 years. Regardless of whether or not being pro-choice conflicts with his religious beliefs, one must admit that he has changed positions dramatically on this issue, unless he was being disingenuous with the people of Massachusetts about his commitment to preserve a woman’s right to choose simply to get elected.”
It is clear that he has changed his mind. The question seems to be what sort of change he experienced–whether it is genuine or politically motivated. I posted the two videos above to argue that the passion with which he argues that he is pro-life suggests to me the change is real.
2) Jim, I was wrong about him not knowing. There was some confusion about it (Mickleson, the radio host, was the first person to release the video–when I first saw it on YouTube, I don’t remember it having Mitt’s stuff all over it).
3) Jim, I should have held off offering that explanation. It’s bunk and I don’t buy it myself. Again, the question was whether he is a flip-flopper of the Kerry variety, which I take to mean someone who changes opinions for political purposes. I think that on the abortion issue, Mitt has not. On the other issues, I don’t know. But his clear adherence to the separation of Church and State make the issue pretty complex, it seems–too complex for a hurried blog post, in fact. Apologies for the sloppiness!