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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Anatomy of a flipflopper

Mitt Romney was for gay rights, sex education, a woman's right to choose and stem cell research before he was against it. He insists he made a heartfelt conversion as he learned the "facts." Others say it was pure political expediency.

Guess which side I'm on.

Let's just say I have used this forum to document my belief that Willard Mitt Romney is a political creature, an empty suit with good hair who will say and do what he believes is necessary to get elected. The Globe's in-depth look at Romney's "evolution" on basic social issues shows it in stark relief. (By the way Mitt, where are you on the origins of life?)

Romney has proclaimed himself to be a man of longstanding faith, a committed member of the Mormon Church. Principled believers generally ascribe to a set of values espoused by their church, even if they disagree or quibble with specific tenets.

The Church of Latter Day Saints does not believe in abortion or gay rights. Its view on embryonic stem cell research is far less clear, with Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch among a group who see the value of stem cell research to perhaps find cures for adult diseases.

But this is not a theological posting. I respect anyone's firmly held beliefs, even if I may not agree. This is a political posting. I don't respect anyone who shifts positions on so many basic tenets of faith in such a short period of adult life (12 years), when the one common thread appears to be political campaigns for the US Senate, the Massachusetts governor's office and President of the United States.

Romney has been both for and against a woman's right to choose. He's supported gay rights and led a jihad against the right for a gay couple to share the legal rights and obligations of marriage. He has supported and opposed emergency contraception and sex education.

But beyond the time line, my cynicism is rooted is Romney's own words. This says it all:
Governor Mitt Romney's metamorphosis from social moderate to self-styled conservative presidential candidate, Nov. 9, 2004 , stands out as a seminal date.

On that day, Romney and two aides met in his State House office with renowned Harvard University stem cell researcher Douglas A. Melton. In Romney's retelling, Melton coolly explained how his work relied on cloning human embryos.

" I sat down with a researcher. And he said, 'Look, you don't have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days,' " Romney recalled on " The Charlie Rose Show " last June, characterizing the meeting as a watershed moment for him. "That struck me as he said that."

Melton remembers the session differently.

"Governor Romney has mischaracterized my position; we didn't discuss killing or anything related to it," he said in a statement last week. "I explained my work to him, told him about my deeply held respect for life, and explained that my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases."

Melton is a well-respected Harvard Medical School researcher with a personal mission behind his work: find a cure for the Type I diabetes that requires him to measure every item of food consumed by his son and daughter -- who both have Type I diabetes.

He believes so strongly in his mission that he undertook the intensely bureaucratic nightmare of creating a separate lab to allow him to continue his work despite the ban on federal dollars for that type of research.

It is highly unlikely a man who spoke of his research by saying "There are many who believe that there's a moral imperative to use that potential to try to help living sick people. I hold with them" is the same person who said "Look, you don't have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days."

Add to that Romney's conversion on choice, on gay rights -- and even the respect for the adopted state he purported to lead -- and it's easy to decide who's version of the truth I believe.

Massachusetts will soon be well rid of him. I fervently hope he does not succeed in imposing his valueless ambition on the rest of the country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, you don't have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days

Oh, please. That is ludicrous. Romney is such a liar and phony. What kind of nut would talk about "killing" an embryo? I'm sorry, but this man is a well respected scientist. Not only would he not use that type of terminology in this context, he certainly wouldn't talk about "killing" and then say therefore there's no moral issue. It's a complete nonsequitor cooked up at Casting Central from the right wing nuts' feverish imaginings of mad scientists who secretly live to dismember babies and laugh about it. Romney has such contempt for the intelligence of the American people it's pathetic.

December 17, 2006 11:01 PM  
Blogger phil_in_ny said...

Unreal. The funny thing is, Kerry has got the "flip, flop" reputation, and yet within their own party, the biggist "flip, flopper" has eyes on the presidency. He optimizes political filth at it's worst!!

December 18, 2006 7:39 AM  

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