Columnist on “Etch-a-Sketch Mitt” • Celia Murray
After the GOP primary season, Mitt Romney’s advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, explained how Romney might pivot to the General Election. “Everything changes,” Fehrnstrom told CNN. “It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
“Etch-a-Sketch Mitt” has actually been evolving for much longer– since Romney began his quest for the presidency in 2008. Among his numerous reversals:
Healthcare: Prior to the passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Romney said, referring to the Massachusetts law he signed as governor, “(T)he president’s copying that idea. I’m glad to hear that.” As presidential candidate, he said, “Obamacare is bad news and if I’m president of the United States, I’ll repeal it.”
Gun Control: As governor, Romney proudly proclaimed, “I just signed a piece of legislation extending the ban on certain assault weapons,” and asserted, “I don’t line up with the NRA.” Today, he is a Second Amendment enthusiast who brags about being a life-member (beginning in 2006) of the National Rifle Association, and says, “I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapons ban nature.”
Global Warming: Gov. Mitt said, “I believe the world is getting warmer. I believe humans contribute to that.” GOP nominee Mitt says, “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”
Being a Conservative: As governor of Massachusetts, Romney was critical of Ronald Reagan, saying, “Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not going to return to Reagan-Bush.” During the primaries, Romney described himself as “severely conservative,” but now it seems that “moderate Mitt” has reappeared.
A Woman’s Right to Choose: Romney, as a candidate for governor of Massachusetts, said, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.” As GOP Presidential candidate he says, “The right next step is to see Roe v. Wade overturned.”
Taxes: Romney now opposes tax increases, but increased taxes and fees $983 million as Massachusetts governor. First, he said he would not sign a “no new taxes” pledge, but now says, “I’m proud to (have) signed the tax pledge.”
Equal Rights: Today’s Mitt is a stalwart defender of traditional values, but in 2002 he distributed a hot-pink flyer that wished Boston’s gay community “A Great Pride Weekend! All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.”
Military Service: During a primary debate, Romney said, “one of the two great regrets I have in life is I didn’t serve in the military. I’d love to have.” He told the Boston Globe, “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.” This from the same man who told the Boston Herald in 1994, “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.”
Given the sheer volume of Romney’s flip flops, how can anyone possibly know what, if anything, he really stands for?
Celia Murray is a member of the Morgan County Democratic Committee.
Printed in the October 18, 2012 edition