March 25, 2007

Those Left Behind By Evolution

Mitt Romney has described the shift in his positions on abortion and other issues as an evolution, a gradual change that occurred when he broadened his perspective as time passed. Romney hopes that this evolution will please conservative Republicans enough to support him against the more liberal Rudy Giuliani and the mistrusted John McCain. However, in this case, Romney's evolution has left some bitterness behind in Massachussetts, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

Though Romney's policy shifts have become widely known, his meetings with activists for abortion rights and other causes — which have received far less attention — show he put much work into winning support from Massachusetts' liberal establishment only a few years ago.

Making personal appeals on the state's liberal touchstones — gay rights, abortion rights and the environment — Romney developed a persuasive style, convincing audiences that his passion matched theirs and that he was committed to their causes.

He impressed environmentalists by using rhetoric sharper than theirs. He met gay-rights activists on their turf, in a restaurant attached to a popular gay bar, and told skeptics he would be a "good voice" and a moderating force within his party.

And in many cases, he said his commitment had been cemented by watching the suffering of someone dear to him: a grandchild whose asthma left him worried about air pollution; his wife's multiple sclerosis, which had him placing hope in embryonic stem cell research; the death of a distant relative in an illegal abortion, convincing him that the procedure needed to remain legal.

In discussing the need to combat global warming, he said he worried about his family's favorite vacation spot.

"He talked a lot about his kids and his family and the place they go to in New Hampshire on vacation," said Cindy Luppi, an official from the group Clean Water Action, who was impressed by Romney's concern about global warming in a 2003 meeting — and later disappointed when he unexpectedly pulled the state out of a regional compact on greenhouse gases.

The personal touch got Al Gore in trouble in 2000. Recall when Gore used the death of his sister to explain his anti-tobacco passion -- and then it came out that Gore profited from leasing his land to tobacco interests years after her death? Republicans had no problem pointing out the hypocrisy involved then, and we can expect these anecdotes to come out of Romney's past in the 2008 campaign.

Other than that, the Times presents few surprises. We know that Romney has "evolved" over the last few years, although some might be a little surprised to see how recently some of those changes have occurred. If Romney was pushing global warming in 2002, one has to ask what changed his mind so significantly in the last four years. Similarly, a 2002 plea to abortion-rights advocates to allow him to "moderate" the GOP's hard-line stance also appears very close to his epiphany about the unborn.

"I'm a believer in simplicity," Romney told a NARAL audience in 2002, according to the Times. "I'm a strong believer in stating your position and not wavering." Unfortunately for Romney, that's the Giuliani argument this year -- that a man who can stand up to his party on domestic issues can stand up for America in foreign policy. Wavering has put him on defense early in the campaign.

That, however, may be by design. If Romney can get all of this out nine long months before the primaries begin, he can defuse most of it. It may give him some of McCain's headache -- can the GOP trust him to pursue his policy stands of late -- but he has a long time to reinforce his current messages. More of those unhappy activists who supported Romney for his more liberal stances in the past will go public, but they will have decreasing influence on the debate if Romney can stay on message now and keep talking about his "evolution".

It's no wonder, though, why conservatives have made it clear that they're still hoping for a hero -- and why they keep casting their eyes West for Fred Dalton Thompson.


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Comments (5)

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:32 AM

The problem is not that Mitt Romney "evolves", but that no one know's where he's going to "evolve" to next, not even Mitt Romney! Even the most casual observer is easily lead to suspect that, like John McCain, his "evolution" is driven by nothing more nuanced than his own ravenous and relentless ambition.

Posted by Anondson [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:34 AM

Why do you keep refering to him with his middle name? No one else does. Just call him Fred Thompson. Is there some inside joke I'm missing?

Posted by Neville72 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:40 AM

Speaking of Fred Dalton Thompson:

In Gwinnett, Fred Thompson gets a boost in the GOP race for the White House
Saturday, March 24, 2007, 09:17 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Many Georgia counties held their Republican conventions on Saturday. From Gwinnett, state Sen. David Shafer of Duluth posted this on his blog:

”But the most interesting news came from the presidential straw poll, which had been tacked on to the end of the officer ballot, almost as an afterthought. The delegates were given a choice of a dozen or so candidates. None of the Presidential campaigns were represented at the convention.

The national frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani, placed third, right behind Georgia’s own Newt Gingrich, who finished second. But the winner was former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who received more votes than all the other candidates combined.

Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place went to Romney, McCain, Huckabee and Brownback, in that order.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:33 PM

I'd hate to burst your bubble, but the future can't be guessed at with linear thinking. You can wish for things all you want. But it's not what's roiling lots of Americans!

One thing I did notice, however, was that Schwartzenegger pushed up California's primary date to February 5th. And, Florida is "thinking" about going to January 29th.

There's a lot of anger against Bush. For being shallow. And, also for having been "picked" by the dorks on the extreme right.

WHich probably means that the extreme right, no matter what they wish for; cannot galvanize the mainstream to change course.

Lots of resentments. But the worst of it? Seems to have fallen on the left. Not on the right. Though, at some point? There will be angry loonies on the right who will also refuse to climb on board America's express.

McCain? Ran out of money.

Fred Thompson? Doesn't have a sugar daddy. And, probably won't have the funds to compete. Not that he won't try. (He'll just postpone his decision till the Fall. Where he will hope to make things "affordable.)

WHile the future has many twists and turns that can't even be anticipated.

What if? What if Cheney's heart muscle stops functioning well enough? What if? What if Ruth Bader Ginsberg can't keep getting into her seat up on the supremes?

Don't discount the close quarters of the congress. They know they are in deep trouble. That's why they pick on the GOP's weakest link: BUSH. Who tends to hide behind the "Harry Potter Invisibility Cape."

The Saud's? Let me share this one with you. Separate out what you hear from the media. And, cast your eyes on the arabs. You see the House of Saud as the "Running Favorite?" I see the House of Saud running on three legs. Not four. And, nothing is really moving them forward. The whole Israeli "gamble?" FAKE.

You didn't know it was all FAKE?

You think you can push Olmert into selling Israel at fire-sale prices? How is that? In Israel, Olmert has less standing with the voting public, that Bush has here. It there was an "ugly girl" contest, you'd be hard put to pick between the losers: Olmert. And, Bush.

Yeah. The House of Saud knows its turkeys.

And, they have "some problems." What kinds of problems? THEY ARE HATED IN IRAQ! They are hated in Iran. And, they are hated among the arabs who live in Lebanon and Syria.

While the arabs will NEVER ADMIT THE TRUTH! They don't own the genetics.

And, yeah. Europe's gone to hell in a handbasket. Because? They're unwilling to go deep into Africa for a labor pool. (That's why they spread slavery HERE. While there? Skin color matters, more. And, they're infested with Pakistani's. And, other white trash they got from the Whahabi morons. Trained by mosques. To do what? Blow up their own kids?)

Stuff like that really isn't TNT. TNT? Could cure a lot of problems. But we've hesitated.

And, that's why we're here. Letting diplomacy pass the time of day.

While I did notice. As we go about discussing 2008. NO ONE CANDIDATE EMERGES FROM BUSH's WHITE HOUSE! Wow. That's a pretty good lesson!

Can Bush coast for two more years? Or can he run into Charlie Schumer's headwinds.

If things go bad? Isn't it possible Bush, himself, gets to watch his own family's shrubbery business disintegrate?

Bush won't get a nobel. Nope. Clinton didn't, either. And, Clinton packed a heavier punch when it came to punching Israel. Not that this does him, or his wife, a hell of a lot of good, now!

\The ONLY reason you see Bush pushing Condi, pushing the fake "piss" plans, is that James Baker is making oodles of money; now that he's back in Bush's white house.

Bush is an idiot! Hasn't learned a darn thing. Just like it was when he went to haarvard. and yale.

Can't complain, though. Teddy Kennedy holds up the same examples. Waste of time to even bother about these lackluster characters.

While come 2008? There will be so many tired Americans, that the right can sit on its hands, again. But what will they do when they want to grow in numbers? Go to Code Pink? Nobody's gonna be in the mood to dance with these partners.

And, the media? They're numbers are tanking.

You think Katie Couric will be reporting the news in 2008? If so, it shows ya while so many marriages go down the toilet, the in-breeding in the elite stables, know of no way to get to getting fed by sustainable audiences.

While should Cheney and/or Ruth Bader Ginsberg, go, exactly what will Bush use to "push through" new choices? Dream Big. It's the future. All the linear "dreaming big" never influences future outcomes, anyway. We can only hope.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:29 PM

If Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate, against Barack Obama, we're going to see an ominous melodramatic ad from the Democrats, saying, "Do we need another political dynasty in the White House?" The ads won't be especially relevant to Romney, or fair, but in political advertising when has that ever mattered? The David vs. Goliath meme will be nurtured by the press as well, it will be very unfair, to some extent it'll work. I'm just predicting

Wikipedia: George W. Romney


[George] Romney announced he was a candidate for president in the 1968 election. Polls in 1967 showed him the leader among rank and file Republicans, especially among the "moderates." On 31 August 1967 Governor [of Michigan] Romney made a statement that ruined his chances for getting the nomination. In a taped interview with Lou Gordon of WKBD-TV in Detroit, Romney stated, "When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get." He then shifted to opposing the war: "I no longer believe that it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression in Southeast Asia," he declared. Decrying the "tragic" conflict, he urged "a sound peace in South Vietnam at an early time." Thus Romney disavowed the war and reversed himself from his earlier stated belief that the war was "morally right and necessary." The connotations of brainwashing following the experiences of the American prisoners of war (highlighted by the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate) made Romney's comments devastating to his status as the GOP front-runner.