Evangelical for Mitt’s David French (whose wife and co-blogger lied to the press about funding people for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference) has written another apologetic on Mitt Romney’s record. In this case, a concerned Evangelical writes in and says that he read Mass Resistance’s "Romney Deception" piece and cannot abide by Romney’s record. So Mr. French runs to the rescue to save his hero. But he lands in a ditch of flips and flops. Let’s follow the story.
The Honorable Steve Baldwin, former Assemblyman in California’s 77th Assembly district (San Diego) wrote in and said:
Well, the problem many conservatives have with Romney is that it’s difficult to detect a consistent track record demonstrating that he’s a social conservative. He first came on my radar screen a few years ago when I found out that his Education Department sent gay activists to California to appear in hearings before a committee of the California Legislature, a body I used to serve in. … Most of these programs were carried out under the auspices of the "Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Affairs" an agency Romney inherited and then doubled in size.
Conservatives have been taken for a ride once too many times my friends. But not this time.
To which Mr. French responded:
But we don’t live in a perfect world. Governor Romney inherited the commission — it had existed for 10 years before he became governor — and there is no indication that he knew about the full extent of its activities until much later in his administration. Further, while he did provide $250,000 for the Commission in his 2006 budget proposal (a microscopic amount within the context of the state budget), this was not an increase from the previous year. In 2005, the commission received $250,000, and the Governor had vetoed legislative efforts to increase that amount. To put that amount in context, prior funding (in previous administrations) had reached as high as $1.6 million.
Finally — and this is important — the Governor actually abolished the commission last summer:
What’s the real story? The short version was characterized by a Boston Globe columnist:
He doubled the budget line item for the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, until he tried to disband it last May — more political theater for the Republican right.
But it is actually a little juicier than that. Read the whole thing. Romney did indeed abolish the Commission on July 20th, 2006, as described by the Globe here. However, there is more to the story than our friends at EFM would admit to:
A spokesman for Romney said he issued the executive order because there was no need for two commissions both focused on the needs of gay and lesbian youth.
A second Commission was created by the legislature because the Governor had tried to abolish the Commission before. But Romney got rolled. You see, according to the story, Romney had considered abolishing the Commission earlier in the year, but backtracked. Again from the Globe, but this time, May 12th:
The commission chairwoman, Kathleen M. Henry, said she was called yesterday by Beth Myers, the governor’s chief of staff, who told her that the governor planned to issue an executive order ”revoking our existence" and creating another youth commission whose purview would be all of the state’s youth, not just gays and lesbians. The commission would have all new members, she said.
But a few hours later, Myers called again, Henry said, and said the governor had switched course.
”He changed his mind," said Henry, who heads a 14-member panel. ”We inundated them with outrage. It just plumed everywhere."
Now, this is the same Kathleen Henry who said the year before that Romney had increased spending for the organization, again, according to the Globe in 2005:
Kathleen Henry, chairwoman of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, defended Romney. Henry said the governor’s fiscal 2006 budget plan included $250,000 for the commission, twice as much as he proposed spending in 2005.
So Romney doubled the budget (flip), then tried to abolish it (flop), backtracked (flip), and abolished only after he lost because the legislature made something more powerful (flop).
Am I detecting a pattern? Brian Camenker did:
”This shows that Romney probably doesn’t have what it takes to run the country if he can’t even make a decision about this."
Oh. And he lost the fight too.