I’m not saying a politician is not allowed to change their mind: in fact I think that politicians, with great thought and self-reflection, should most certainly change their minds in light of new evidence. But that’s not what’s going on. Much like the girl in high school who changes what she wears, how she does her hair, and what books she reads to impress the person she wants to date, Governor Romney changes his stated views based on what he thinks other people want to hear.
Case #1: In 1994, Mr. Romney supported a world with “full equality” for gays and lesbians. What does full equality mean? To most anyone you ask, that means having the same rights as all other American citizens. But this is back in Massachusetts, a fairly liberal state, where Mr. Romney also championed ground-breaking health reform that has been fiscally and socially beneficial to the population.
Now though? He’s radically shifted his position–pandering to the right and hard-right voters to show that he’s not just a cyborg moderate who continue to enforce President Obama’s policies that he once endorsed.
Mr. Romney and his supporters continue to claim that he has never changed his position on gay rights, but simply that the gay community changed what it wanted:
“What happened was that the gay community changed their perspective as to what they wanted,” Romney told CNN’s Piers Morgan…
Apparently Mr. Romney’s definition of “full equality” differs from everyone else’s.
Case #2: In 1994, then again in 2002, Mr. Romney said repeatedly that he was pro-choice, and would not enact any legislation that would infringe on a woman’s right to choose. Let’s take a closer look at those elections: in 1994 — he was up against Ted Kennedy, a staunch and unwavering liberal, for his Massachusetts senate seat, and in 2002 he was running for governor again in Massachusetts.
I will not argue that Mr. Romney has always personally been pro-life, but I used to respect that he would not allow his personal beliefs to influence the policies of the majority. Apparently he changed his mind though, as he now supports the 2004 Republican platform that is clearly pro-life. He says it’s because when he was governor he grappled with legislation about embryonic stem cell research, was put off by the “cavalier” way medical researchers discussed disposing of those embryos, and changed his mind about policies regarding abortion. Right, that makes sense. Lots of sense. Loads of sense.
Let’s not look at the fact that those two elections where he ran on “pro-choice” statements, but later did not follow through, were in a liberal state, and now when he is vying for the Republican nomination he’s Mr. Abstinence-education-and-human-life-amendment. Sure, makes sense.
And finally, Case #3, for those of you that are still not convinced that the only thing Mr. Romney stands for is winning, is his flip-flop on health care. Health care breakdown:
1. In order to receive health care, you must pay for it. For some people this means out of pocket, for most that means health insurance.
2. If you do not have health insurance, either because you never thought you’d need it, the premium cost was too high, you were denied on the basis of a pre-existing condition (i.e. cancer), or you were kicked off of your insurance based on a pre-existing condition (i.e. you forgot to mention that you had pneumonia when you were 5, and may have potentially caused your colon cancer, so you no longer have health insurance), then you simply do not receive the care you need.
3. Truth: the people that fell in the category described in step #2, would die without care, or go to the hospital for acute treatment, not be able to pay, and shift the burden of payment on to the taxpayers.
So, Mr. Romney put forth a conservative plan to deal with this problem: make it illegal for insurance companies in MA to deny coverage or raise premium costs based on pre-existing conditions. But in order to pay for that, he had to ensure that the pool of insured people widened, so viola! The individual mandate was born. Why not have every pay for health insurance, and subsidize those who can’t? It will allow everyone access to health care and create a healthier state for the same cost! This is, in fact, exactly what it did in MA.
It is an amazing piece of legislation that Mr. Romney was proud to have spear-headed. It worked so well in fact, that in 2009, when President Obama was grappling with health care reform on a national level, Mr. Romney published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post suggesting that the President look to Massachusetts policy as a model for the national program.
But that was then, and this is now–when Romney-care has suddenly turned into “Obama-care.” Now he repeats over and over at rallies that he will repeal Obama-care on day one. He now emphatically contradicts himself, saying Massachusetts health care was never meant to be a model for the national policy.
For these reasons and more, the prospect that Mr. Romney could be our future president frightens me. A president should be someone who can stand their ground despite pressure to cave, someone who has well thought through policies, laws, and values that he sticks by, and someone that people can trust. Mr. Romney has made it clear that he embodies none of those characteristics. He had my support as a bipartisan conservative in Massachusetts, and has my vehement opposition as a thoughtless drone in 2012.