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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, May 14, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Romney Edition

Myth Romney had a chance to shine in the national spotlight, trading quips with Mike Wallace and showing off his family at his New Hampshire home. I missed it myself, other pressing business, like counting my socks.

But thanks to the wonders of the web, I've had a chance to read the story -- minus the gimmicks. And it reminded me yet again what the heart of the problem is: as described by Wallace, the man has no core.
Over six feet tall, trim, fit, his hair graying slightly at the temples, he looks like a president. His movie star presence somehow reminds you of Cary Grant or Ronald Reagan.
Oh sure, as Wallace notes, Romney balanced the Massachusetts budget (required by law) without taxes (required by Tom Finneran); and he ran the state like a CEO (allowing it to bleed jobs and people, just like our Harvard MBA president is running the country.)

When done with the obligatory glowing biographical sketch, Wallace, does touch on Romney's core problem. Unlike Rudy Giuliani, who has flipped, flopped and flipped again on a woman's right to choose, Romney has contorted himself on the Holy Trinity of the Theocons: abortion, guns and taxes.

Wallace dutifully runs him through his changing positions on these issues -- from the moderate of the 1994 Senate race and 2002 gubernatorial race to the man who now believes that choice resides in the states, not woman. I thought conservatives wanted government not to intrude in people's lives?

Or the man who supported the Brady Bill and a ban on assault weapons who is know a "lifetime" member of the NRA who shoots "varmints" (OK, maybe once or twice).

Or the man who called a no-new taxes pledge a "gimmick" in Massachusetts only to sign one now while insisting:
"Well, I didn’t change my mind. I was running for governor of Massachusetts," Romney explains. "And now I'm running for a different office. And I wanna make it very clear, I won’t raise taxes."
I'm all for clarity. It's OK for people to change their minds, even on deeply held beliefs, as some Romney defenders suggest. Those conversions come after much thought -- and angst. They don't come based on electoral calendars.

Romney's "conversions" have come in the chase for the nomination of a party where three of its 10 candidates don't believe in evolution and one can even get away with uttering: “I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money. You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."

Romney is appealing to a sliver of extremists who are intent on imposing their religious and "moral views" on the rest of the nation -- much as the real ayatollahs in Iran.

That someone whose own faith is held with contempt by those same American ayatollahs makes his pander fest even more unforgivable.

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