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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Flip-Flop Twins

It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. Yet there we have Myth Romney and Rude E. Guiliani trying desperately to run away from their political pasts.

You remember Romney, used to be governor here for awhile, so people say. He was elected on a platform that said he would be a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose. And that he is a strong supporter of gay rights.

But the Mittser, who has flip-flopped his way on issues from abortion rights to Vietnam, may have met his match in the two-term former mayor of New York, who conveniently fails to recall a divisive personality that was about to run him out of town until he stood up on 9-11 -- unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Rudy is wriggling his way out of past support for a woman's right to choose, gun control and gay rights, though far more subtly than the Man from Massachusetts-Michigan-New Hampshire-Utah.

The gulf that separates liberals and conservatives is vividly on display as two Republican moderates pander in a race for the base -- the Theocons and Neanderthals who vote in Republican primaries.

The latest battles are over taxes, spending and national security. Myth is once more trying to finesse his way out of the fact he raised considerable cash to get Massachusetts out of its last financial crunch. Fees aren't taxes, says Mitt, even if they come out of the same checkbook.

For Rudy, the problems is also taking credit for things he did not do, like tax cuts -- although his record is more clear that Romney's.

But the defining issue may have emerged that reflects the personality differences between the hot Giuliani and the cool Romney.
...Pressed to say whether President Bush needed the 2002 congressional vote granting him authority to strike Iraq, Romney said: "You know, we're going to let the lawyers sort out what he needed to do and what he didn't need to do. But, certainly, what you want to do is to have the agreement of all the people - leadership of our government as well as our friends around the world where those circumstances are available."
While some pundits are comparing it to John Kerry's "global test" moment, I think the more compelling comparison is Michael Dukakis' exchange with Bernard Shaw on the death penalty:
"Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"

Dukakis responded, "No, I don't, Bernard. And I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. We've done so in my own state."
That exchange went a long way in framing Ted Koppel's suggestion that "frankly governor, you just don't get it."

Now there's the ultimate challenge to Romney -- getting away from the comparisons to two of Massachusetts' previous presidential candidates. Somehow I don't think Rudy -- or the Neo-conderthals -- will let that happen.

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