Romney (Reform-MA) on Republicans

Mitt Romney’s new ad says that too many Republicans "act like Democrats". Quotes:

When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses.

It is time for Republicans to start acting like Republicans.

Of course, this is the same guy who said:

My R doesn’t so much stand for Republican as Reform

Jonathan Martin asked recently why people dislike Romney so much. For me it is not so much that he is dishonest, venal, and hypocritical. I am a political professional. I deal with politicians all the time, and I am used to that. But he is so brazen. I am pretty cynical, but he is too much even for me.

After all, this is the guy who has flip-flopped on abortion, gay-rights, taxes, guns, embryonic stem-cell research, Ronald Reagan, the Contract with America, his draft-dodging, education, immigration, and campaign finance-reform. And now he is lecturing people on being Republican enough?

Romney’s Clinton problem

Drudge is pushing a story about Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. While Drudge focused on the dollar amount, I saw this:

The centerpiece of Clinton’s plan is the so-called "individual mandate," requiring everyone to have health insurance — just as most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance. Rival John Edwards has also offered a plan that includes an individual mandate, while the proposal outlined by Barack Obama does not.

Especially if Mitt Romney is the nominee, how do conservatives argue against this? Now Matt Drudge, who seems to be a Romney fan, highlights a different issue, the $110b per year price tag. So, one strategy is going to be price tag. After all, that really is a lot of money.

But once we have abandoned the principle of freedom that is inherent in the mandate issue, aren’t we just, to quote Churchill, "haggling over price?" Don’t Republicans lose when we "haggle over price," rather than principle?

And if Romney points out that he no longer supports these, doesn’t this raise the flip-flopping issue?

UPDATE: In the WSJ’s coverage, they point to a Democracy Corps (D, Carville in fact) poll on this:

A Democracy Corp. poll in May found that 66% of likely voters would be much more or somewhat more likely to support a candidate for Congress who proposed a mandate combined with subsidies. Just 15% said they would be less likely to support such a candidate.

It is going to be very hard to stand against this.

Romney says Rudy Mitt-flopped on immigration

I just don’t believe this. Here’s what Mitt Romney has to say about Rudy Giuliani on immigration:

Mayor Giuliani hopefully will explain why there’s such a dramatic departure from his position as mayor, where he said he welcomed illegal aliens to New York, and that they would be in a zone of protection in New York City,” Romney told the Herald-Journal today. “His sanctuary city policy is one of the very problems that’s led to 12 million or more illegal aliens coming into this country.”

Now, it is true that Rudy is flip-flopping on Immigration. No disagreement with that.

But can Mitt Romney really be the guy to say that? The guy who has flip-flopped on abortion, gay-rights, taxes, guns, embryonic stem-cell research, Ronald Reagan, the Contract with America, his draft-dodging, education, immigration, and campaign finance-reform?

It is perfectly clear that in Mitt Romney’s mind, the rules don’t apply to him. Ted Kennedy’s flip-flop on abortion was important, but Romney’s isn’t important. Rudy Giuliani’s flip-flop on immigration: devastating. Romney’s? Won’t even admit to it.

UPDATE: I’ve gotten some pushback, just as my friend Marc Ambinder did, from the Giuliani campaign about this. He has the right response:

One cannot listen to this excerpt of Giuliani, taken from an apperance before the Kennedy School of Government in 1996, and conclude that, in the back of his mind, Giuliani was somehow arguing that if only our law enforcement techniques got better, we’d be able to solve the problem. He was making an affirmative argument that solving the problem itself could be more harmful than preserving the status quo So — clearly — Giuliani’s argument has changed.

Romney flip-flops on abortion … again

I just don’t believe this guy:

Before: Federalism After: No Federalism

No shame. Or integrity. Sam Brownback beats Mitt Romney up on abortion, so Romney flip-flops again. ABC has the full story. But here’s what Romney told Marc Ambinder back in February:

NJ: You would favor a constitutional amendment banning abortion with exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest. Is that correct?

What I’ve indicated is that I am pro-life, and that my hope is that the Supreme Court will give to the states over time or give to the states soon or give to the states their own ability to make their own decisions with regard to their own abortion law.

Romney says he’s a perfect 10

Romney called himself a perfect 10, according to Brendan Farrington:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney placed himself alongside President Reagan as the perfect conservative during a campaign event Monday.

While answering questions at a luncheon, Romney was asked where he would rate himself as a conservative on a scale of 1 to 10 if Reagan was a 10.

"Probably a 10 as well," the former Massachusetts governor said. "I’m trying to think in what places we would differ. As I’ve gotten older, Reagan keeps getting smarter and smarter."

Remember what he said about Reagan in 1994? He wasn’t for Reagan-Bush…

Kevin Madden making stuff up

I was going to steer clear of the current John McCain-Mitt Romney fight over Romney’s abortion record. But then Kevin Madden said something silly:

"Governor Romney is firmly prolife and can rely on his record of having protected the sanctity of life when faced with those issues as governor.

Governor Romney consistently maintained, in an effort to protect the sanctity of life, that he would fight attempts to weaken the state’s existing abortion laws. Maintaining existing laws in a state like Massachusetts was an important fight in and of itself.

This is simply BS. And Kevin should know that when you spin BS, it just gets on your shirt. This is the same Mitt Romney who was clearly pro-choice. Spinning this as "fighting" attempts to "weaken the state’s abortion laws" is simply dishonest. Romney was making a clear commitment not to fight for stronger laws. Remember. Don’t believe me. Listen to the candidate. He said it:

"I will preserve and protect a women’s right to choose."

And his wife — the same one who gave to Planned Parenthood said it:

Border security group attacks Romney for flip-flopping on immigration

Tasty quotes, full release after the jump:

In 2006 Governor Romney supported the President’s immigration policy as well as the McCain-Kennedy bill.  He expressed support for an immigration program that places large numbers of illegal residents on the path toward citizenship and said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship.

He even went as far as to say that Republicans that break from the President on this issue are making a "big mistake" according to the Associated Press.

Governor Romney has a long history of flip-flops on issues from abortion, to gun control, to gay rights.  This pattern of shifting positions should concern Iowa conservatives who are dedicated to securing our border and solving the illegal immigration crisis.

One wonders whether Mitt Romney’s flip-flops on immigration are going to create problems with conservatives on immigration. Ultimately, the issue is trust, much more than the issues, as much. Poll after poll have revealed that conservatives agree with what’s in the bill, but they don’t trust the elites. Why would someone who panders to them be more trustworthy?

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Romney, 1994 flier, and consistency

A number of Mitt Romney’s supporters have pulled out a 1994 campaign flier and argued that it shows that he has always been a conservative. First of all, one might wonder why a conservative in 1994 would have opposed the Contract with America and called it "partisan".. That wasn’t my reading of it.

I was struck by how much he has moved around on a number of these issues. The question shouldn’t be whether or not he was a real conservative. Instead it should be, what kinds of principles, if any, he has, and how they will relate to how he would govern if he were to become president. So let’s look at this with that in mind.

First of all, we need to realize what this is. It is a political communication. He tried to differentiate himself from Kennedy on some things and blend the differences on others. So, as a political communication, he is saying that the only thing that he agrees with Ted Kennedy on is abortion and gay rights. And on abortion he argued that he was more trustworthy to pro-choicers than Ted Kennedy because Ted Kennedy had flip-flopped(!!!). And on gay rights, he argued that he would be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy.

The second point to make is that Romney’s image has several problems. The first one is that he’s a simple "flip-flopper". But the second is that he’s a sleazy panderer. The car salesman thing. That he will tell you whatever you need to hear for you to support him. That he has no principles. That’s what really struck me with this.

So, to illustrate, let’s do a little exercise. Let’s take a couple of these issues and see where Romney has gone with these since 1994

First, abortion. Romney’s story is that he changed his position over the stem-cell fight in 2004. But it is worth pointing out that Romney was also sounding pro-life in 2001  when he was considering running for office in Utah. His problem isn’t that he converted. It is that he converted and reconverted and reconverted and reconverted. All occurring while he was running for office and well into middle age and parenthood.

Or, look at his position on campaign finance reform, under the heading of "Congressional Reform." In this 1994 flier, he says that he opposed Taxpayer Financed Campaigns. But in 2002, he supported partial public funding of campaigns, even supporting taxing private contributions to pay for public funding. Now, presumably, he’s against it. So this is his third position on campaign finance reform.

Or, look at this positions on health care. He did not support either a "government takeover of health care" or "requir[ing] employer mandates". But he did sign a health care plan, with the same Ted Kennedy that he is differentiating himself from in this flier, that included employer and individual mandates. (Indeed, it looks like Barack Obama’s health care plan is, in some sense, to the right of Romney’s. Ezra Klein points out that Obama’s plan does not mandate that people purchase health care, whereas Romney’s creates criminal sanctions if you do not)

Tables are often clarifying:

  Romney in 1994 Romney in-between Romney Today
Abortion Pro-choice Pro-life, then pro-choice Pro-life
Public funding of campaigns Against For Against
Employer mandates Against ?? For

"The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind."