… As we talked, I began a question, “If I could separate stem cells from abortion — “ writes Byron York of the formerly conservative NRO in a story titled Mitt Romney: “I Changed My View. Is that So Difficult to Understand?” The candidate talks about his efforts to convince voters that his pro-life conversion is real

Romney quickly interrupted. “You can’t, can you?”

“Well, there are laws that deal with stem cells,” I said, “and then there is Roe itself.”

“Well, they both relate to the sanctity of human life.”

“But your position was, as far as a woman’s right to have an abortion is concerned, that you would protect that and that you believed that Roe should be protected.”

“I’m not sure what your question is,” Romney said, growing visibly irritated. “I changed my view. Is that so difficult to understand?”

One source of skepticism about Romney is his habit of occasionally pushing his argument a little too far, of cutting a few corners with his record. Take that award from the Massachusetts Citizens for Life. It was presented in May 2007, not by the state organization of Massachusetts Citizens for Life but by the Pioneer Valley Regional Chapter, which represents the western part of the state. When Romney began to cite it in his campaign appearances, group officials in Boston issued a statement “to make clear that the local award did not constitute endorsement by the state organization.” The statement went on to give a mixed view of Romney, saying he had taken “a politically-expedient pro-abortion position,” but that “admitting that he was wrong took rare courage.” So what Romney points to as the stamp of approval from a pro-life group is really a bit less … etc.

These lines speak volumes. The emphasis is ours. Answer: Yes, Romney, your change-of-view is difficult to understand, terribly difficult. Here is how Silverstein puts it:

… The problems holding him back were all identified in the campaign’s PowerPoint presentation: the Massachusetts background, the image of slickness, the fears about his religion, and, above all, mistrust of his ideological transformation. Romney and his handlers portray him as having undergone a political conversion, but they can’t point to any convincing catalyst. There was no religious epiphany (as, for example, with George W. Bush) or political awakening (as with Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat who joined the Republican Party in 1962 and backed Barry Goldwater for president two years later, which at the time was hardly a politically savvy move). With Romney, there’s merely been the recent espousal of positions diametrically opposed to his earlier ones, feeding the suspicion that his political shifts are more reflective of his ambition than of his convictions …

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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