Mitt Romney is always quick to lambast other Republicans for being career politicians, as if this is his first rodeo and he is a political newcomer. However, the truth is he’s been in politics for over seventeen years, many of which have been spent appealing to liberals and moderates and fighting to keep from being identified with Ronald Reagan.
Yet the more one goes back and listens to the things Romney’s been saying during his nearly two decades of public service, the more one has to wonder why he thought someone would link him to Reagan in the first place.
For example, while trying to unseat Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney said:
“I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law.”
Someone needs to corner Romney on this statement and force him to explain whether he still holds to it in part or in whole.
And on guns, Romney would be a disaster. For example, while trying to the secure the Republican nomination that eventually went to John McCain, Romney appeared on ‘Meet the Press’ with Tim Russert and said:
“I don’t line up 100% with the NRA. I supported the assault weapon ban [as governor].”
And he went on to explain that he supported the Brady Law in its original form.
What I’ve learned by listening to Romney is that you have to be aware of the fact that he thinks well enough on his feet to slip past troublesome topics and seize on others more favorable to his ambitions. This lets him get away with telling a few half-truths (or half-lies, depending on how you like to frame it).
For instance, when Rick Santorum called him out on Romneycare in the debate Tuesday night, Romney moved to cut him off by saying, “This is something that was crafted for Massachusetts.” In other words, Romney’s response was that his plan was a state plan and was meant to be nothing more.
So Santorum followed up: “That’s not what you said [in your book].” And to this, Romney first denied he’d said such a thing in his book, then reiterated a slightly different version of his first answer, and then acted somewhat aghast that Santorum would dare tell him what he wrote in his own book.
All the while, the truth is that in his book Romney wrote, “We can accomplish this same thing for everyone in the country.”
Speaking of the last debate, one of the most revealing moments came when Gov. Rick Perry called Romney out for hiring illegal aliens and allowing them to work his property. Somewhat aghast (once more), Romney looked at Perry and said “I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life.”
Quick side note: When Romney said “I don’t think I’ve ever…” instead of “I know I’ve never…” it was clear that he had something to hide. So I watched carefully, hoping that Gov. Perry would hang on for dear life because he had obviously latched onto something that Romney didn’t want to discuss.
And sure enough, Perry stuck with the topic and within a few minutes Romney admitted he’d hired a lawn company to work on his property and that the lawn company had employed illegal aliens without his knowledge. In other words, Romney had at least indirectly hired illegal aliens and they had worked his property just as Perry suggested.
Moreover, in 2007 when Romney was making that first run for the Republican presidential nomination, a Boston Globe investigation forced him to admit he had re-hired the illegal aliens after supposedly telling them they couldn’t do work on his property. This is something else Perry asserted and Romney denied during Tuesday’s debate.
The bottom line: Romney has a problem telling the truth. And when he does tell the truth, conservatives should have a problem with many of the positions he takes (and has taken) on the issues.
Not only is he not a conservative, he’s nowhere close to being one.