The Romney campaign issued two diametrically opposed positions on abortion last night. One pro-choice, the other pro-life.
Mitt Romney said Tuesday he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion, a softer stance from a candidate who has said he would “get rid of” funding for Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview.
Funny, because Romney sure was familiar with the legislation when he commented on this before.
When I asked Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul to clarify what Romney had meant there (since the Huffington Post at least is taking it as a position that “could put [Romney] at odds with congressional Republicans who have made limiting abortion central to their messages”), she e-mailed, “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”
Well, “protecting life” is pretty much the argument behind every piece of anti-abortion, anti-contraception, legislation out there. So that would mean that Romney is open to any anti-abortion legislation. Which is a 180 degree flip-flop from where he was a few hours before.
And what do you know, then the Romney campaign issued a statement to the Associated Press saying he would be a “pro-life president,” but refused to give any details as to what exactly that means.
Saul said Romney’s position is clear: “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president,” she said.
“Clear” isn’t quite the word I’d use.
Of course, it’s worse than that. Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski documents that Romney has actually held 9 different views on abortion throughout his political career. Nine.
There are a few possibilities as to what’s going on here:
1. Romney doesn’t really believe in anything. That means he lies a lot when he talks about policy, because he honestly doesn’t care, so it’s difficult to be consistent when there’s no underlying principle involved in the policy choices he makes.
2. To the degree Romney believes in anything, it’s liberalism. Yes, he’s a jerk about corporate stuff, but on most other non-financial issues, he’s a Democrat. And of late when Romney’s asked a question, his inner liberal slips, out until his staff can “fix” things and jam it back in. So again, it’s difficult for him to be consistent about conservatism because it’s a foreign concept to him, and he doesn’t mean what he says when he embraces it publicly.
3. Romney is so desperate to be president that he’ll pander to anyone, and so dumb that he doesn’t think he’ll get caught. And to his credit, he didn’t get caught lying throughout the last debate. Jim Lehrer (and then President Obama) let Romney get away with murder. And he lied his way through the GOP primaries, and won anyway. So if you’re Romney, this lying thing has served you well, so why not continue to embrace it?
Romney is a dangerous man. Not simply because of what he espouses, but because he’s not serious about any of it. Nothing he says is real. Nothing. It’s one thing to paint yourself as more conservative for the primaries and more moderate for the general election, but not by simply changing your mind on every important issue – and then, when you’re called out on it by your base, changing back again.
I walk through Romney’s various flip-flops in detail, including his flip-flop on catfish, and his flip-flop on flip-flops, here, so I won’t go through them again. (Though my favorite was Romney flip-flopping four times in a 24 hour period on the topic of pre-existing conditions.)
There is no way to predict what Romney will do if he becomes president. He might move to the far left, he might move (more likely) to the far right (since so many of his advisers are on the far right). But no one should be voting for this man based on his views. His views aren’t real. And to the extent they are, he doesn’t stand by them, ever. So it’s pretty much a guarantee that his word means nothing. And that doesn’t simply speak to policy, it speaks to his character.