I'm Giving Up on Multiple Choice Mitt

Too Many Straws On This Camel's Back

By Erick Posted in Comments (56) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

ImageI think I'm done with the campaign of Willard Mitt Romney. I'm tired of it. His campaign and the potential for his nomination has jumped the shark. No Republican candidate for President has ever more deserved the title "Multiple Choice Mitt."

I'm tired of the explanations and I'm tired of the dodges.

First there was abortion. He was for it, then really for it, then really, really for it, then indifferent to it, and now against it. Some of his supporters and people on his campaign have called Sam Brownback pro-choice. At least Sam has never been multiple choice. And when Sam became pro-life, he actually fought the pro-life fight. I'm not aware of Mitt Romney ever passionately fighting the fight for life. He has, at best, been luke warm -- playing it safe, but not actually advocating. And he's played it so safe, that on stem cell research, he's been willing to split the baby with parental consent.

Then there was campaign finance reform. Mitt was for it more than McCain before he was against it more than McCain He's tried to caveat his way out of it, but his caveats have been so nuanced as to be meaningless.

Read on . . .

Let's not forget taxes. Multiple Choice Mitt opposed President Bush's tax cuts and favored a federal gas tax hike as late as 2003.

Oh, there is homosexuality too. Mitt was going to be more gay and more abortion friendly than Ted Kennedy in 1994. Now he's not. At least he's been consistent on gay marriage since he came out in opposition to it in his gubernatorial term.

Finally, there is voting for Paul Tsongas. In 1992, Mitt Romney voted for Tsongas. He explains this now as trying to pick the weakest guy to go up against George H. W. Bush. But, in 1994, Mitt Romney said he did so because "Tsongas was from Massachusetts and because he favored his ideas over those of Bill Clinton."

I'm tired of running into these stories. I'm tired of the hedges. I'm tired of the dodges. And I'm tired of the caveated nuance. So let me put this straight and bluntly. I'm more than happy to support my man Mitt if he is the Republican nominee. But, like Hillary Clinton, he is a political opportunist who I increasingly see as someone without principle, only a weather vane.

Multiple Choice Mitt had me at hello. He lost me on the flip.

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I'm Giving Up on Multiple Choice Mitt 56 Comments (0 topical, 56 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Thats funny you post this Erick, because I was just reading Romney's excuse for voting for Tsongas in the 92 primary. Seemed kinda weak and it got me thinking I'm going back to undecided. Then the first page I come to after that is here, and you summed up my thoughts exactly. I just wish a candidate would be strong on the 2A and abortion without having flip-flopped on it. Newt can you PLEASE enter the race????????!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm mean, first he was for Romney, now he's against him.

He's lost all credibility in my eyes . . .

Jeff Fuller
http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/
See my disclaimer of Romney Support at my blogsite line above (essentially I'm an unpaid grassroots supporter/blogger).

Erik would never be a -gasp- a flip flopper!

Note: heavy humor and sarcasm intended in good fun.

Wubbies World - The odds of hitting your target go up dramatically when you actually aim for it!

I'm not licking my finger and sticking in the wind when I change my mind.

Oh, and I'm not running for President now with positions opposite of what I espoused just four years ago.

Not to mention the fact that I'm changing my mind about a person. I'm not changing my whole core set of principles.

But, but, but, . . . a 1994 Boston Globe article clearly stated "future RedState Blogger Erick regularly licks his finger and sticks it in the wind explaining 'yeah, it helps my golf game'".

How quickly and vehemently Erick has gone from supporter to outspoken opponent (even to the point of putting in a demeaning "Where's Waldo" graphic) has to give one pause. Many of us Romney supporters were floored when he wrote the "I like Romney" article. I guess it was all a set up for this "yanking my support" ploy. I'm not buying either side of his story.

Jeff Fuller
http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/
See my disclaimer of Romney Support at my blogsite line above (essentially I'm an unpaid grassroots supporter/blogger).

I don’t know if I would go that far although it remind me of Andrew Sullivan’s “I’m on the fence” schtick from 2004 right before he endorsed John Kerry.

Best not to dwell on it too much though and keep moving forward.

I'm not a South Park Republican, I'm a King of the Hill libertarian.

Is there anything Mitt could do that would lose him a BYU grad's vote? Seriously Jeff. Mitt has been all over the place on virtually every issue. He's a political chamelion. His political philosophy is in a near constant state of flux, ever changing to meet the expectations of whatever demographic he needs to win an election.

If he's the nominee come August 2008, he'll be saying that abortion is OK in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mothers health. He'll also be positioning himself as the peace candidate, the one person who can get us out of the Iraq quagmire.

I think you've summed up the trouble pretty well, Erick. Mitt's been pretty adaptable. That's problematic for the conservative looking for somebody with core convictions. It is possible that he could be moving more toward who he *really* is, but that will have to become more clear as the campaign progresses. He doesn't necessarily present a strong reason to go beyond Rudy and McCain. If you're going to ditch the frontrunners and be pure, then following Leon to Brownback's camp is probably the right play.

The problem with someone who changes their views in order to win (the defense of a couple of Mitt's flip flops) is that you don't know who he is.

Idahoans for Cox
Adam's Blog
The Adam Graham Program

Mitt Romney is a poor choice.He is cleary a liberal otherwise he wouldnt have been elected Governor in Mass.I favor Newt but right now he isnt running so my backup is Rudy because he is tough on the issue I think is the most important - national security.

dmort,

"He is cleary a liberal"

Enough with this crap already. Why are people buying this crap and passing it along.

Does this look like the campaign flyer of the 1994 "liberal" Romney? (see link)

http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/2007/02/romney-never-was-liberal-no-...

Pasted in for your viewing pleasure:

Hat tip to Charles Mitchell over at Evangelicals for Mitt for linking to this report from "The Politico" blog where they astutely point out that Romney was far from "a liberal" in his 1994 race against Teddy Kennedy.

Check out his campaign flyers from '94 . . . Front and Back

Below is a portion of the flyer with some of the specific issue stances:

Looks like he ran a pretty conservative campaign back then to me!

Basically, I agree with Charles about how more and more news stories and blog entries flat out say that Romney ran in '94 as "a liberal". Well, if you run acrossed that, point folks to these flyers as it helps clear up that common misconception.

I like to divide conservative credentials into three distinct areas:

1) Fiscal Conservatism
2) Social Conservatism
3) "Toughness" Conservatism (i.e. militarily or "tough on crime")

Romney has had a consistant and flawless record as a "Fiscal Conservative" AND as a "Thoughness Conservative." Those points are solid and there has been no "movement" by Romney in those areas.

Romney did not run in Mass as a "social conservative" but saying that he was a "social liberal" is not really correct either. His social stances put him as a solid "moderate" in this senatorial bid as Kennedy was to his left as the real and bonafide liberal in the race.

So, to sum up . . . Romney was never close to being a "liberal."

To even say that he was a "moderate" is missing two huge pieces of the conservative pie. Romney may have run as a "social moderate" but that's as far as the allegations should go.

In reality, Romney's "move to the right" hasn't really been all that far.

Jeff Fuller
http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/
See my disclaimer of Romney Support at my blogsite line above (essentially I'm an unpaid grassroots supporter/blogger).

And before you say . . . Oohh! But Romney instituted a "government takeover of healthcare please take some time to educate yourself on the plan. The following link should help.

http://www.redstate.com/blogs/jjfuller72/2006/may/29/defending_romneycar...

And yes, there are some "employer mandates" for healthcare in the bill, but only because Romney's VETOS of the said mandates were overridden by the liberal legislature.

Sorry, no more fodder for those looking to paint Mitt as a flip-flopper.

"Jeff Fuller
http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/
See my disclaimer of Romney Support at my blogsite line above (essentially I'm an unpaid grassroots supporter/blogger).

Check out his campaign flyers from '94 . . . Front and Back

It doesn't look like a campaign flier. It looks like a targeted mailing (note the request to mail in donations, etc. on the left side). Is this just another case of Romney saying what he thinks his targeted audience wants to hear?

It looks like a pretty standard pushcard/handout to me.

and in MA under Mitt, hands down the more conservative was Mitt. I'm not on board Mitt's camp necessarily (I'd really like to see some other candidates jump in). But, between the two it's no contest for me.

To me, Mitt seems like the picture of sincerity in his move to the right, compared to Rudy. If you look at Mitt's track record as governor he was already moving that way. He was the most conservative governor MA had had in a long time, including being significantly more conservative than the last two "Republican" governors. And, social conservatives like me were always welcome with Mitt (even if he couldn't always give us everthing we wanted given the realities of MA).

Meanwhile, Rudy never showed social conservatives the time of day, until he starting running for president. (With the sole exception of people who used to work for him, like Bill Simon, or GOP leaders like Santorum, whom he needed to support in order not to seem like a total RINO.) I disctintly remember Rudy dissing social conservatives many times.

Moreover, Mitt at least tried (in vain) to build up the GOP in MA, spending a lot of money, time and political capital on state races. Meanwhile, I can't think of anything Rudy has ever done to help the GOP in NYC (again, until he decided he might run for president). He voted for Cuomo and helped give the Liberal Party legitamcy, while at the same time questioning the legitamcy of the Conservative Party.

Should have typed: Having LIVED in NYC under Rudy and in MA under Mitt.

Erik,

Please show me the contradiction in Romney's reasonS for voting for Tsongas. You don't provide any.

Globe says: "Tsongas was from Massachusetts and because he favored his ideas over those of Bill Clinton."

Romney said now he was "trying to pick the weakest guy to go up against George H. W. Bush."

Couldn't they both true? Are they mutually exclusive? I have about 80 reasons for not wanting Hillary to be president. If I list some of them here and some of them there is that "flip-flopping"? Gimme a break!

And this lack of a contradiction is enough to make you withdraw your support? You need to grow up politically if that's the case and stop accepting (and now peddling) the trumped up "flip-flop" charge that the MSM is feeding the masses.

I really expected better of you.

Hey, Romney got to vote against Bill Clinton twice! That's enough for me. True wisdom, no matter what reasons he gives.

Jeff Fuller
http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/
See my disclaimer of Romney Support at my blogsite line above (essentially I'm an unpaid grassroots supporter/blogger).

Jeff by Erick

I'm glad you're hanging with him. No need to cast aspersions my way.

I'm done.

Jeff, your defense of Romney is admirable, but its also a bit starry-eyed. You basically make the case for Romney if everything lines up your way, but Erick is right that there are unfortunately many interpretations of Romney available and yours is not necessarily the right one. One hopes to find a candidate who is a rock. I would argue that with Giuliani, McCain, or Brownback you pretty much know what you're getting. Romney is the wildcard. He could be Reagan or he could be George H.W. Bush or much worse.

Let's wait for the MTP interview this weekend to make a judgement on what Mitt said now versus what he might have said back in 1994. Remember, we can't take anything the AP or Boston Globe writes without our first getting confirmation of accuracy.

I hope that the AP and The Boston Globe have the Romney/Tsongas story wrong or have taken what Mitt said on MTP out of context. I remember Paul Tsongas in the 1992 race. It's no shame to have voted for Tsongas in the Democratic primary. A fiscally minded independent businessperson in Mass. would have been sound to find Tsongas an attractive candidate.

However, I think Romney would have been wrong at the time of the 1992 Dem. Primary to believe that Tsongas would have been weaker than Bill Clinton in the general election against Bush 41. I would think that given all of Clinton's personal baggage that had been revealed, one would have thought that Clinton would get killed by Bush and that Tsongas would have had a better chance in the general against the former Republican president. Clinton's numbers improved relatively late in the election season, between when Perot dropped out and then back in. I doubt that many neutral observers would have predicted in early 1992 that Clinton would have been stronger against Bush 41 than Tsongas would have been.

To me, a Romney supporter who has contributed financially to his nascent presidential campaign, that makes Romney's purported statement on MTP worrisome.

However, even if Romney's purported statement on MTP has been accurately reported, it may only be a mistake he made on a question he didn't expect. With everything going on in the world today and all the challenges facing the U.S., a question on a 1992 primary vote is ridiculous. It's possible that Mitt just flubbed his answer in the heat of the moment. It happens, especially early in the election season. Most candidates make many mistakes once. Gosh, I remember during the 2000 presidential race that George W. Bush said "yes" when a questioner asked him if The Nation of Islam (Farrakhan's organization) would be eligible to receive federal funds under Bush's proposal for funding faith-based charities.

can only be seen as a slap at Bush I. By the time of the Massachusetts primary, he was still a strong contender for reelection. (And just for the record, he was also born in Massachusetts!)

It's possible that Mitt just flubbed his answer in the heat of the moment.

How do you flub telling the truth? I would think the man knows why he voted for someone.

The only thing he flubbed is not remembering that he was already on the record in explaining his Tsongas vote.

How are the two explanations mutually inconsistent? Because ABCNews insinuated that they were on the Internet?

One question for Erick: when you decide on a different candidate, will you be as tough on them as a Conservative?

I guess what I'm getting at here is that I don't see any better alternatives to a Mitt Romney who is now on record as moving in our direction on all the right issues, and who is catching a lot of flak from people who want to trip him up, most of whom are liberals and McCain supporters. Instead of defending him, we're being sucked into their anti-Romney vortex.

I don't understand why Rudy Giuliani, for example, is any bit less opportunistic: on every major issue except terrorism and national defense, Giuliani is a Democrat, including gun control, which unless he completely changes his position has eliminated him completely from my consideration.

In any case, Erick, it's too bad to lose you this early. I don't want to cast aspersions on you, but this didn't have anything to do with the launch of McCain's new website yesterday, did it? I mean, please tell us -- is the "fix in" for John?

I really expected better of you.

Why Romney hasn't asked you to stop supporting him publicly, I'll never know. Maybe his people just don't read Red State. Maybe his people have the same victim attitude.

Run like Reagan!

Erick. Romney seems to be a political opportunist, comparing the man who ran for governor of MA to the man who wants to be president now. I also question his commitment to economic conservatism. Even though he is a business man, he has backed MIT proposals like OLPC and a state endorsement of OpenDoc formats, which should give pause to a true free-market capitalist.

I think your criticisms are mostly letigimate. However, Romney does have significant experience as a successful executive. When he says he will come in with fresh ideas, I believe him. When he says he will transform the operation of the federal government, I believe him. I believe that his leadership could usher in a new era of American prosperity.

So it all comes down to priorities. While, like you, I view his social positions with skepticism, I can overlook them because of his other qualities. Of course, we may have different priorities. I don't think your position is unreasonable. But unfortunately we don't get to ask is "Mitt Romney the perfect Republican?" We can only ask "Is Mitt Romney better than the rest?"

In my opinion, the answer to that latter question is "yes."

What you're saying is, "Who needs a candidate you can believe?" The guy's got experience. And tell me since when does waffling on the Bush Tax cut count as a "social position."

Idahoans for Cox
Adam's Blog
The Adam Graham Program

I believe my take is not quite as simple as you make it out to be. I do wish and hope for a candidate I can believe totally. But I will support the one I can believe on as many of the issues I care about as possible.

The qualities I look for in a candidate are: pro-life, supports free trade, fiscal conservative, strong on criminal justice and national security, and proven aptitude as a leader. Whatever weaknesses he may have, I believe Romney better represents my values than either McCain or Giuliani.

We will not see a perfect Republican in this race. So we'll each have to choose whichever flawed candidate seems better than the rest. For you that may be McCain or Brownback or Tancredo, for me it's Romney.

All I ever ask is that people think before answering that question, which you have clearly done.

Kudos to you.

If he finds it so easy to change his mind on abortion, how do you know he won't flip flop on something else, like the GWOT or tax increases? Maybe he just gives his electorate what they seem to want. That seems different from someone else who wanted to be president:

"The White House has said it doesn't pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy." (CNN)

The world only goes round by misunderstanding - Charles Baudelaire

Romney is moving to South Carolina and is converting to Evangelicalism.

I am sure the people still supporting the guy will find a way to defend it. Hey, people convert Religion every day, why can't Mitt?

"Evangelicalism"? Nice.

eh by Darin H

I guess I'm still leaning towards Romney, but to me any of the R's running right now is no different that the other in the fact that they all aren't the perfect candidate. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. I can see myself supporting all of them, even in the primary.

Can we call you Weathervane Erick™ now? First it was TX-22 that you were flip-flopping all around on, now this??? When will the madness end?!?!!!? (/light-hearted snark for a Friday night)

Two thirds of the world is covered by water, the other third is covered by Champ Bailey

Erick,

I am absolutely amazed at your post tonight. You have fallen sucker to left wing MSM hit jobs that have been put on Romney over and over again. As a longtime reader of Red State, I would have never expected this from you. These are the same people that have called Pres Bush a liar and have attacked him countless times over the last 6 years. I honestly cannot believe you fell sucker to the Boston Globe and New York Times hit jobs.

FACT: Romney said he was wrong on abortion. He has been very candid about it. He had a close family member die in his 20s that caused him to believe that he would keep abortion law as it was even though he was personally against it. He rethought that issue and realized that the Roe v Wade mentality is dangerous and cheapens life. He admitted he was wrong and worked hard for life in one of the most liberal state in the nation. He stood up to the extreme Mass legislature and vetoed 4 bills to expand abortion rights.

FACT: Romney voted for George Bush Senior in the general election. He voted against Clinton twice. He was an independent in 1992.

FACT: Romeny still supports gay rights and no discrimination of gays. That is NOT!!! contradictory to supporting marriage between a man and a woman. He is not a hater. I don't think anyone should be. I have good frieds that are gay. I am a stauch conservative. Do I think my gay friends should he denied rights in the workplace, etc. No!!! But do I believe we change the whole definition of marriage; the institution of the family that has stood for 3000 years. NO!! Gay marriage was barely a blip on the radar in 1994.

FACT: Romney inherited a 3 billion dollar deficit from Mass. At the start of his term, he very well could have wondered how he could possibly turn it around. HE DID TURN IT AROUND WITHOUT RAISING TAXES!! He learned for himself that it could be done and he supported Bush's tax cuts.

I am so tired of pundits who play Monday morning quaterback and take quotes out of context and try to twist every word of a canidate to make him out to be something he is not.

Wake up Erick and quit getting played by the MSM. Of all people, you should know.

...we heard much the same from the die-hard followers of Ralph Reed in his run for Lt. Governor of GA last year that we hear day in and day out now from Romney's followers.

Things like "the liberal media just want to crucify our candidate because he's so good and really is an upright, honest guy," and "him changing his mind or his story doesn't matter because it's what he says now, not what he said or did before, that matters" just wear and grate on everybody who is not a diehard, and followers who jump at the chance to defend their candidate to the death - regardless how big or how small, how real or perceived, the transgression is - do a far better job of hurting that candidate than of helping him.

Just a word to the wise.

Isn't it amazing how Mitt Romney always seems to have formed the right ideology at the right time?

Every race he's ever been in, he never seems to be out of step with his target audience.

I think Mitt would make a good President, he's intelligent and articulate, but he's not the Reagan conservative he pretends to be.

I'm absolutely amazed how many conservatives Romney has been able to fool.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

Erick, if you had to choose somebody right now, who gets your strongest GOP Presidential support now, and why?

I am sincere when I say I'm not trying to advocate for Newt Gingrich with this comment, even though I am a fully committed Newt supporter.

But it is still early, and I don't buy that candidates "need" to start at this time. Especially not with all the discontent with the current field of candidates.

I'm convinced someone will enter late, somewhere around August or September, Gingrich or not. Maybe Pence, maybe Santorum (McConnell?), maybe even someone like John Engler. Dave Heineman? I don't know.

But I bet there'll be someone. And I'm only saying this to support your decision that deciding now who to support is not neccessary.

I've heard tell Duncan Hunter is a conservative. Would he fit the bill?

Run like Reagan!

For now, Duncan Hunter definitely gets all of my support! I wish Hunter the very best of luck!

______________________________________
"Our job is to bash the president"
Newsweek's Evan Thomas, on the role of the MSM

-----------
Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

It seems that the ones engaging in ever increasing nuance to explain themselves are the critics of Mitt Romney. They go out of their way to create the impression of a flip flop.

Non-Discrimination of Gays is somehow inconsistent with preserving traditional marriage.

Calling a federal tax cut a federal issue that Governor Romney was not going to comment on = opposition to it.

Calling for vague spending limits for candidates in 1994 = Romney can't criticize McCain-Feingold Bill that curtails the free speech rights of individual groups and creates special provisions that improve the ability of incumbents to out fund-raise their challengers.

Voting in a Democratic Primary for President = You must be a liberal.

Instead of looking at a few statements he has made to make him look bad, why don't we actually look at his record?

During his 4 year term - government grew in Massachusetts slightly over 3% a year - at one of the slowest rates in the nation.

Has fought to grow the free market in health insurance in Massachusetts including deregulation of insurance policies and elimination of mandates (as opposed to socialized medicine)

Has signed no tax increases. Implemented voter driven tax cut.

Eliminated bilingual education in Massachusetts. Brought on English immersion in schools.

A 'B' rating from the NRA.

On social issues has:
Consistently fought for Traditional Marriage.
Vetoed emergency contraception bill
Vetoed stem cell research bill (including running ads to explain his position)
Vetoed change in definition of when life begins
Fought for abstinence education.

Where are the liberal votes? If he has truly flipped-flopped from being a liberal to a conservative why aren't there votes to prove it?

This is a conservative record we should support. Mitt has shown consistent support for both social and fiscal conservatism during his term as governor.

His actual governmental/legislative record is more conservative then either Rudy or McCain's. I don't think he's a perfect conservative at all, and some of his recent changes have probably been politically motivated. But he's better then McCain and much better then Rudy. And it would be really nice having someone who is very competent and articulate after G.W. Bush, whose strengths aren't exactly competency and lucidity.

Romney's a little bit on the pandering side, but he's my favorite of the three. If nothing else, I appreciate the fact that the dominant part of his life has been as a father and businessman, not some wonky politico who is always thinking about this and that policy. In the end, he's the only career businessman of the major candidates in either party, and that counts for a great deal.

I think he is the best communicator and most pleasant/"Reagan optimistic" of the three Republican major candidates. That's also important.

Regarding abortion, I am pretty nonplussed with his miraculous conversion during stem cell debate or what have you, though I DO think that one can possibly have a real conversion about abortion law once one is a governor and really has responsibility for the public policy of the state and come to understand the moral dimension of the law in a different way.

Oddly enough, the biggest thing I don't like about Romney is his health care bit. Regardless of how many mandates it created or didn't creat or taxes, the universal health care program creates a sea-change in the philosophy of whether government is responsible for nannying the people. From there, it is only a short step to further socialism, even if this particular scheme does not actually go that far. His speech announcing his run last week was all about "innovation in government." Well, the first five minutes of the speech could have been lifted right out of a Clinton speech in 1992.

That being said, I do think his heart is with the free market, even if I am not sold on whether he truly has the intellectual discipline not to become entranced by federal power and the DC aura and screw us with a bunch more feel-good mandates.

He's still my top choice, and the most Reaganesque of three. And, unlike Reagan, Romney has spent his life as a businessman. Again, that counts for a lot.

1. Romney actually raised taxes in Massachusetts (check out what CATO has to say about him in its Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors for 2006-- page 26 is what you want to check out, for those unfamiliar with this publication).

2. Within the last two weeks, Romney allegedly refused to rule out raising the carbon tax and the gas tax, according to Michigan Citizens for Tax Reform who put out a press release on 12 February stating that:

..just last week, Romney refused to rule out supporting a $1 nationwide increase in the gas tax, a plan pushed by his top economic advisor Gregory Mankiw.

and

Also last week, Romney refused to rule out raising the carbon tax during an interview on CNBC, provoking surprise from the station's analysts. U.S. News' James Pethokoukis noticed Romney was "certainly leaving himself a little room, you know, with the carbon [tax] issue" and the Economic Policy Institute's Jared Bernstein said he "felt [Romney] left those doors open, and that was kind of interesting." Most importantly, Quentin Hardy of Forbes magazine pointed out that Romney "actually likes a lot of government intervention, clearly."

3. He donated to Dick Swett. Dick Swett, people.

4. He's made several comments lately that indicate he's ready, if elected, to roll our RomneyCare nationally.

I've disliked this guy from the beginning, but with each day, I feel I find a new reason.

It seems to me that conservatives for whom social issues are a tip top priority would do best to take a look at Sam Brownback. Personally, as a socially moderate libertarian-leaning Republican, I would not vote for him in a primary, but as a strong fiscal conservative, at least I can recognize that for people who really worry about gay marriage, by supporting Brownback, they get someone who has a consistent record on fiscal matters and someone who honestly does share their perspective, rather than a cursory knowledge of their talking points.

It seems to me that anyone who's concerned about leadership, fiscal issues and reforming government, and for whom social issues are not a top priority would do better to look at Giuliani at this stage. And yes, I love Giuliani so maybe I would say that.. but whatever. In my opinion, you can't argue with a record of cutting taxes by 20%, increasing adoptions, and dramatically cutting welfare rolls. Plus, even if you don't like it, you always know where Giuliani really stands on social issues.

I say all of this on the presumption that most of the people supporting Romney in the first place were doing so because he was the "anti-McCain." Presuming they still feel the same way about McCain, these other two seem the best (vaguely realistic) bets. When people thought they wanted to support the "anti-McCain" candidate no matter what, I don't think many people were banking on supporting someone who looks more liberal on most issues than him. So I'd suggest that for anyone bothered by all of this, they take a second look at the field.

Note: I'm still undecided between Giuliani and McCain, so before anyone flips the "McCainiac bashing Romney" card, let me just reiterate that the first noun in that sentence is not wholly descriptive of me.

Liz Mair is the editor of WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM, a RedState-style blog for libertarian, mainstream and moderate Republicans

The Cato report on Mitt Romney ranks him tied for 12th out of 50 governors on fiscal issues. This hardly shows him to be a fiscal liberal.

Cato has been an opponent of the individual mandate to buy health insurance that is part of the Romney plan and has downgraded his overall rating as a result. Many other conservative groups (Heritage Foundation for one) have applauded his work that focuses on growing the private insurance market and making health insurance more affordable by reducing mandates on private plans.

As far as Cato's comments on taxes - They point to the closing of tax loopholes as tax increases. Obviously some fees did go up when he was governor - such as ridership fees for buses and subways.

It would be difficult to find an elected official who has served very long who did note vote for at least some fee increases. Certainly, none of the current candidates running are clean in this regard. If these should be considered tax increases I think is open to debate.

Moving on, the report card does note, however, that Mitt has put forth only modest increases in state spending and has used his veto pen repeatedly to keep spending down.

They also don't give him much credit for implementing the voter approved tax rate cut despite the fact that the legislature is 85% Democrat.

If you take out the Cato view on the Romney health plan, he would score even higher in his overall grade. Obviously, people can disagree about these things. However, if you want somebody who has clearly shown an interest in holding down government spending, Mitt Romney should be at the top of your list.

It also appears that the “business loopholes” that Romney proposed closing or closed which Cato calls a “tax increase” were in exchange for lowering the top personal income rate. This would be a “tax increase” only in the same way that a revenue neutral flat income tax that lowers rates but eliminates deductions would be a tax increase.

Also as far as not ruling out an increase in the gas tax or a carbon tax, I wouldn’t worry about it unless and until there is actually a proposal put forth and even then I’d wait to judge it on the merits. The key thing though is that Gregory (Bush’s former Chair of Economic Advisors) Gregory Mankiw is the one suggesting it. Based on his previous writing on the issue, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet if we were looking a carbon tax or a gas tax increase, that what we’d be looking at is a tax swap (lower income taxes for higher gas taxes) that changes the mixture of taxation rather than the level.

FTR: I actually do support raising the gasoline tax while lowering income taxes by the same amount. The reason being is that we are subsidizing a lot of the negative externalities of fossil fuels – including our Middle East policy – through the income tax which hides the actual cost of our use of fossil fuels. So long as we provide this subsidy, people aren’t going to bear the full cost of their decisions and it gets passed along either through higher income taxes, air pollution, road congestion, or lives lost.

I'm not a South Park Republican, I'm a King of the Hill libertarian.

Watching his announcement reminded me of John F. Kerry.

As I've said elsewhere, I'm happy Mitt has personally changed his position on Life, I'm just not going to reward him for it politically - particularly when running for the top job in the land.

I encourage Republicans to do a little homework and take a serious 2nd look at both Tom Tancredo (http://www.teamtancredo.com)and Duncan Hunter (http://www.gohunter08.com) in particular as conservative alternatives.

Just ask them whether they support gun control or the second amendment. The answer will guide you to the core.

With Bush it came up iffy, but what choice was there.

This post NAILS THE ISSUE dead center. If we want a flip flopper who decides on whichever policy is most popular- we could have elected Kerry or we can elect Clinton.

He has no military experience, he was a one term governor who would have lost reelection, no foreign policy experiecne, and he belongs to a religion with several "issues" surrounding it. He has taken both sides of just about EVERY issue there is (health care, abortion, taxes, etc.)

Why again is this guy qualified to lead the free world?!!

United States Air Force
http://airforcepundit.blogspot.com

He's actually worse than John Kerry as pitiful as Kerry he doesn't hold a candle to as many flip flops as Romney has. We are doomed if he gets the nomination there is no way this guy can win. Some people try to say that he only flip-flopped on the one issue of abortion but I have seen alot more than that he also appointed several very liberal democrat judges while he was the governor of Mass.

" Governor Mitt Romney, who touts his conservative credentials to out-of-state Republicans, has passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents -- including two gay lawyers who have supported expanded same-sex rights, a Globe review of the nominations has found." He's got a huge credibility problem just because he has never had a divorce doesn't make him a leader.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/07/25/romney_jurist_picks...

http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/01/011107romney.htm

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/01/mitt_romney_the.php

http://www.eriegaynews.com/mahlerblog/2007/01/romney_the_flip.php

I feel you on the incessant need to defend Mitt Romney and how sometimes he says things that comeback to haunt him. That is annoying at best. However I do think he is getting a bad rap on all this.
All of these attacks intend to put his integrity in question and make him appear insincere. Did he say one thing to Massachusetts voters and then do another? No, he governed conservatively yet kept all his campaign promises. He has been successful in business and politics as a bringer of change (as his campaign likes to say), and this is exactly what we can count on him to do.
He has a beautiful family, and is by all accounts an honorable family man and an honorable member of his church (and this nothing to scoff at as the LDS hold their members to extremely high moral standards of honesty and integrity). The bottom line is what he is promising to bring as president he will deliver on, as his resume flawlessly shows. Politics is messy and he is trying to "sell himself" to the public, lets hope he quits tripping up along the way.

I have the solution to those of you concerned about Mr. Romney's flip flopping! Fred Thompson! He's the only CONSISTENT conservative candidate who has the character and experience to make an excellent Commander in Chief!! Please visit www.fred08.com and click on "About Fred" and "Issues" at the top of the page to find out more! He is, in fact, the real deal!

 
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