March 25, 2007

The Other Side Of The LA Times' Story

Earlier today, I wrote about the issues Mitt Romney would have to face in his presidential campaign regarding the evolution of his positions over his political career. This prompted some spirited discussion about the nature and value of consistency around the blogosphere and in the comments section here at CQ. This afternoon, I got a response from the Romney campaign regarding the points raised by the Times article, and I thought it intriguing enough to share.

The response comes in three parts. First, while Romney did make overtures to NARAL on abortion, NARAL wound up endorsing Romney's opponent, calling Romney dangerous:

“'He was very clear. He said over and over again that he supports the status quo in Massachusetts. He's not going to be a leader on this issue,' said Melissa Kogut, head of Mass NARAL's political action committee, referring to recent statements by the candidate. She called that stance 'dangerous,' saying that abortion rights are being attacked on a national level and noting that Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran opposes abortion rights." (Stephanie Ebbert, "Major Abortion Rights Groups Give Nod To O'Brien," The Boston Globe, 10/3/02)”

That to me is a rather weak response. Yes, NARAL called him "dangerous", but not because they predicted Romney would go pro-life. They would have labeled anyone not being an activist for expanded abortion rights as "dangerous". It's an interesting point but does not really address the essential point of Romney's stark reversal on this point. However, since Romney has already explained his shift on several occasions, this won't do much damage anyway.

Romney's camp scores better on their other two rebuttal points. The Times wants to give the impression that Romney has changed positions on gay rights, championing then opposing gay marriage and civil unions. The campaign produced quotes that long predate the 2002 campaign that demonstrates otherwise:

"I do not, however, favor same sex marriages." (Glen Warchol, "This Is The Place, But Politics May Lead Romneys Elsewhere," The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/99)

"But call me old fashioned but I don't support gay marriage nor do I support civil union … if a civil union is a Vermont-style civil union, with all of the associated benefits with marriage, then it's the same thing for me for all intents and purposes, and I draw the line there … I do not favor marriage between gays. I think marriage should be preserved for a husband and a wife of different genders." ("The Gubernatorial Debates," The Boston Globe, 10/2/02)

"BW: To you, what is the difference between civil unions between same-sex couples and gay marriage? MR: Very little, if any. For all intents and purposes, they are the same. BW: Do you support civil unions? MR: No, because I believe it's virtually identical to marriage. BW: Do you support gay marriage? MR: No. BW: If you do not support gay marriage or civil unions, what keeps you from doing so? MR: I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman." (Bay Windows Questionnaire, 1/1/02)

This makes his current positions much more consistent with his past. I'm not necessarily in agreement on either gay marriage or civil unions, especially the latter; I see nothing wrong with two adults entering in contractual partnerships for whatever purpose, as long is it has nothing to do with illegal behavior. The issue here is consistency, though, and the Times seems to have missed these in their research.

On global warming, the record will necessarily be pretty thin, as governors have had little to do with the issue thus far. In this case, the beef seems to be about honoring campaign promises, and Romney's campaign says that the Times left out some important context. They claim that Romney did intend to pursue the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), but he could not get protections for consumers and businesses against potential energy-cost increases, and they point to this quote as an explanation:

"'New England has the highest energy rates in the country, and [the pact] would cost us more,' Romney said in a telephone interview. 'We offered a simple safety valve and they rejected that and came back with a series of proposals to lessen the price escalation, but it was not a clean and sure safety valve.'" (Beth Daley, "Mass. Pulls Out Of Agreement To Cut Power Plant Emissions," The Boston Globe, 12/15/05)

Is that a good enough reason to renege on this supposed campaign promise? Probably not if one considers global warming to be the greatest crisis facing mankind, but almost certainly for everyone else who understands the need to keep Massachussetts competitive, as well as the US. This is part of governing -- making a choice between conflicting priorities. Somehow I don't see conservatives as excessively concerned about this particular choice.

Was the Times article misleading? I wouldn't go that far, but they had plenty of column inches to get some of this information into their story. I don't think that they did a particularly good job covering the consistency issues of Romney's record, and they tried to make it a bigger story than it is.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Other Side Of The LA Times' Story:

» Bill's Nibbles // Open Post -- 2007.03.25 from Old War Dogs
Please feel free to use this post for comments and trackbacks not related to other posts on the site. If you leave a trackback your post must include a link to this one and, as always, comments claiming the sun [Read More]

» Bill's Nibbles // Open Post -- 2007.03.25 from Bill's Bites
Please feel free to use this post for comments and trackbacks not related to other posts on the site. If you leave a trackback your post must include a link to this one and, as always, comments claiming the sun [Read More]

Comments (7)

Posted by Justin Hart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:33 PM

Great post. I think you have a very fair assessment here...

It just goes to show that Romney's move on abortion is indeed a conversion (a legitimate , and IMHO an honest change of heart). And, as you point out... his conviction against same-sex marriage is sustainable and credible... to cite it otherwise is caricature and even mis-characterization.

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:59 PM

I voted for Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, and would again against any conceivable competition from the other party. I like him, but he does give the impression of being opportunistic to a fault.

He was also AWOL throughout much of his last year, and left his Lieutenant Governor and erstwhile successor, Kerry Healey, hanging in the wind while the liberal press gushed over a slick, smooth-talking ultra-liberal named Deval Patrick, who won by something like 20 points. Lt. Gov. Healey did not run a strong campaign, but Gov. Romney arguably could have helped her. And he surely would have helped the state by staying for another four years, instead of turning Massachusetts over to the moonbats.

At this point, I'd go for Fred Thompson over all of the announced candidates, even over Mr. Guiliani, whom I admire for his leadership, management, and forthrightness, but who is simply too liberal for me. Senator Thompson impresses because (a) he doesn't really need, or even want, the job; (b) he is frank, candid, and consistent about his views; (c) he gives the impression of strength under fire (so does Mitt, I will say); and (d) he agrees with me on practically everything.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Del Dolemonte [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 6:24 PM

Romney is right about one thing-New England has the highest energy costs in the country; this is in no small part to the actions of the Left, which ran New Hampshire's Public Service Company into bankruptcy a quarter of a century ago with their rabid anti-nuclear protests. Before they came along, PSNH had been a successful business for nearly a century, but then they made the mistake of trying to build 2 nuclear reactors.

Posted by bayam [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:46 PM

I don't understand why a less than headline-grabbing artile in the LA Times has been given so much scrutiny. I know the LA Times has been on the radar of the right-leaning blogosphere since it had the audacity to (accurately) break the first major stories about the presence, size, and activity of Sunni and Shiite paramilitary groups in Iraq, but it seems over the top.

The attack by Fox News on Obama has been absolutely unprecedented. Why am I not seeing Captain or others question this brand of disturbing press coverage? Isn't Fox News part of the MSM, or does it deserve a free pass?

How many networks would blame a US presidential candidate of studying at a madrassa without checking the facts? A lesser candidate would have been immediately torpedoed by such an accusation. But when it comes to Foxes treatement of Obama, that's only the start of it.

Fox has also dwelled on Obama's smoking addiction- turned into a major issue by the same network that hardly mentioned Bush's history as an alcolhic- a lifelong condition that is associated with much more serious character flaws than a nicotine habit.

At the end of the day, how can anyone on the right seriously attack the Times for such a minor transgression, compared to thebehavior of the news source that constantly proclaims to be 'fair and balanced'?

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:46 PM

It's early.

There are people running.

But so far? No stars are born. (Except that Guiliani continues to do well.) Meaning?

You think you're unhappy?

Imagine how American, across-the-board, feel.

You know. When you try to identify the mighty Mississippi, you don't go looking off in swamps.

You look to see where the major currents flow.

Politics, on a national level is like that.

While it also always undergoes "changes."

For Lincoln? Back in 1854, he recognized that the WHIGS were losing. They'd never field another presidential candidate. So he jumped ship.

During the 20th century?

Early on, the GOP got stuck on finding Warren Harding. An empty suit if there ever was one! Dumb. But handsome. Tall. And, with an orator's voice. (Now? Bush doesn't even have the orator's voice! Let alone any ability to speak in public.)

Well, what's interesting enough to notice?

Seems like hillary takes on the face of the donkey party. With pelosi and obama filling out the rear parts.

While Bush? Hmm. He's not taking the GOP down with him. Have you noticed? Nixon, also did not take the party into the toilet when he resigned. Though the insiders (including poppy Bush, and the idiot, Gerald Ford, both thought they were gonna be "presidential timber.)


Jimmuh Carter? Left a wreck for the left.

If you think you'll get rid of Code Pink? Nope. Dopes abound. That's part of the magic of democracies. There's all sorts of people out there.

But the mainstream got locked out of the primaries. That's about what happened.

First? Barry Goldwater got locked out of the GOP wing headed by the kakafellers. So, starting in 1958, he pulled together a few good men. Cliff White among them. And, he built the juggernaut that landed him on top of the 1964 ticket.

Nah. He didn't win. Goldwater had "problems." He wasn't particularly friendly. And, when Ronald Reagan offered to help, most of the help was rejected.

In 1976? That was the year Gerald Ford thought he'd get elected. Didn't.

Do you know why? Well, it seems Jimmuh carter came along and stole all those Baptist votes. Because? He was able to convince the religious people he was "all right." Honeymoon ended before his four years were up.

They said Ronald Reagan was too old.

Missed the point.

Alas? George H. W. Bush, pushing James Baker forward, came in and took over Reagan's White House. Which caused leaks. And, lawsuits. (Just in case you think Libby was the only one to find himself into millions of dollars in debt, and a loss of his good name. The truth is that more than a handful of GOPsters, who worked for Reagan, also found themselves in legal hot water.)

It's not as if there's an easy cure!

The legal stuff has been shooting around since 1972!

But the "Boys on the Bus?" Who is gonna listen to a bunch of kids flying higher than kites; writing stories for newspapers? GONE. Ain't coming back.

But down the pike? The ways that things get done keeps undergoing changes.

At least this innept president couldn't foster Harriet Miers up onto the supremes. There are fights that people join from the right to the center.

And, that's where you can bank on seeing things done, ahead.

While the porksters in congress are still a menace.

It's gonna take us some amount of election results to change the whole stinking mess.

While 2008 looks exciting. But not for Bush. He'll be lucky if he isn't fighting impeachment; at the rate he seems to be walking into windmills.

It would be a hell of a lot nicer, though, if he just stopped Condi in her tracks.

And, hired better people to be around him. Given he's getting the opportunities to clean house. But still doesn't want to. Still, it's fascinating to see Bush's learning curve remains poor. What's it gonna take?

You know, there are people who still loath Bill Clinton; but when it's all said and done, no one ever thought Bill Clinton was incompetent. Over-sexed. Or, whatever you call "that" deformity. But he didn't need lessons on being president!

Posted by Rose [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:35 PM

Mitt Romney is hot out of luck - we the voters have no OBLIGATION to trust him, and he doesn't have the bona fides, as far as I am concerned.

And Mz Herman - Clinton needed lessons on everything except how to impress Socialists - he didn't have a CLUE how to be President of the USA - though obviously he would have made a fabulous Henry VIII, Jr. as a monarch over smitten Socialist rabble in some third-world country of hedonists of the sort who love to use their babies as candelabras for their garden party sex orgies, like the ancient Babylonians.

Get a clue - nobody was impressed except the choir of wannabees.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 12:25 PM


And Mz Herman - Clinton needed lessons on everything except how to impress Socialists - he didn't have a CLUE how to be President of the USA

Imagine that, 6 years into the disaster of a GWB presidency and right wing wackos are still saying this ... gee, if Clinton didn't have a clue, one would wonder just what Bush has? I mean not having a clue is pretty low on the mentatility scale ... is there something lower we can place GWB in?

Back to Matinee Mitt ... there is not enough flip flop costumes for people to wear at his addresses even available to mock him! Talk about Hillary's move to the center, this guy has moved from far left positions and didn't even stop at the center on his war to the far right ... he is the ULTIMATE flip-flopper. His matinee good looks grace the picture in the dictionary beside "flip-flop".