Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion

“With Saturday’s conservative-dominated Iowa straw poll nearing, Mitt Romney is frantically trying to convince the G.O.P. grassroots that his well-timed conversion from pro-choice Massachusetts moderate to devoted anti-abortion conservative was sincere, and not motivated by his ambition to play on the national Republican stage,” writes the estimable Steve Kornacki in a New York Observer editorial titled Mitt Romney’s Convenient Truths.

I was not always pro-life,” he told The New York Times this week, “but I’m proud I made the same discovery that Ronald Reagan did and Henry Hyde and George Herbert Walker Bush.”

Mr. Romney is politically smart to wrap his transformation in the conversions of those G.O.P. lions. But his 13-year public career tells a different story. His shift on abortion (like so many other topics) was not the product of a dramatic, come-to-Jesus “discovery,” but rather the last in a series of flip-flops that saw him spout wildly different rhetoric depending on his audience. If one story sums up his abortion history, it’s his sojourn in Utah, where he lived from 1999 until the conclusion of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which he’d been recruited to rescue from scandal and mismanagement …

… He sought to preserve his political options in both states, taking steps so that he could plausibly claim residency in either, depending on what he decided when the games wrapped up.

Abortion, though, presented a formidable obstacle. In Massachusetts, he had famously invoked his mother and the story of a relative who had died from a botched back alley abortion to convince the state’s socially liberal electorate that he was pro-choice. But even the hint of such rhetoric would sink him in Utah, where G.O.P. nominations are essentially awarded through a state convention dominated by fanatical abortion foes.

And so, not for the first time, Mitt set about shifting his public posture on abortion …

… Just like now, his sincerity came into question. And just like now, he feigned exasperation. In ’02, he told his Democratic opponent, Shannon O’Brien, that it was “unbecoming” of her to suggest he had been less than forthcoming on his abortion views. Last week, when the consistently pro-life Sam Brownback raised the same concern, Mr. Romney harrumphed that “I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.”

But the question Mitt Romney has to answer now should not be how long he has been pro-life, or how long he was pro-choice before that. It’s a more basic one: Is it ever possible to tell which of his positions is real? … more

Kornacki’s question is precisely our question: “Is it ever possible to tell which of [Romney’s] positions are real?”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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    […] What will work to win the the GOP nomination? Be a conservative. Is such a reversal consistent for Romney? Yes, it is—e.g.: Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion […]

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    […] Yes. See: Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion […]




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