For most of the campaign, Mitt Romney has been pandering to the far right, calling himself a "severe conservative" and clearly gunning for the tea party vote. But now, four weeks before the election, he has taken positions that, well, differ from what he has said in the past. Lets review:
Mitt Romney, Arizona Republican debate, 2/22/2012: “We’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.”
Mitt Romney, Presidential debate, 10/3/2012: "I'm not asking for a $5 trillion tax cut."
Mitt Romney, Presidential debate, 10/3/2012: "My, my number one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit."
Mitt Romney, interview with Wolf Blitzer, 10/9/2012: "I want high income people to continue to pay the same share they do today." and "How we carry (the tax plan) out would be lowering the rate, the tax rate, across the board and then making up for that both with additional growth and with putting a—a limit on deductions and—and exemptions.."
Alrighty, Mitt, which is it? The people have a right to know what kind of tax plan they're voting for. He says he will cut rates and reduce or eliminate certain deductions to make any cuts in the tax rate are revenue neutral. But he won't say which deductions will get the axe. He won't say if there will be an annual on deductions. And if his limitations on deductions only make the tax rate cuts revenue neutral, well, they do nothing to help close the budget gap. As for the claim that "economic growth" will help pay for the tax plan, that's like saying that my winnings in Vegas will pay for my trip there. I have no idea if my winnings will cover the trip until I've already paid for and started the trip. Mitt has no idea if his tax cuts will result in an economic boom until the cuts are made and the tax revenue gone. So on taxes, he's flip-flopped, he's been vague, and he's speculated. None of these are terribly Presidential characteristics.
Now on to women's health and right to choose. Now I'm not talking about his transition from pro-choice to pro-life during his tenure as governor. Everyone has the right to legitimately change their minds over time on tough issues. No, I'm talking about his recent contradictory statements.
Mitt Romney, interview with Des Moines Register, 10/9/2012: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, speaking with National Review, 10/9/12 ( a few hours after Romney's above statement): Mitt Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."
Mitt Romney, speaking with voters in Ohio, 10/10/12: “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate,” Romney told reporters during a stop at a restaurant in Ohio today. “I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget."
Um, okay. Maybe he doesn't get that removing funding for Planned Parenthood is a legislative action. Maybe he just can't remember what he's said the day before. More likely, he is morphing his statements to suit whomever he is speaking to. Neither of these are terribly Presidential characteristics.
Oh,and there's the touchy issue of health insurance, and how Romney would replace the Affordable Care Act, particularly in the area of pre-existing conditions.
Andrea Saul, clarifying Romney's statements in an Orlando speech, 6/13/12: "Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage." (emphasis mine)
Mitt Romney, Meet the Press, 9/9/12: "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage"
Mitt Romney, Presidential debate, 10/3/2012: “pre-existing conditions are covered under my [health care] plan.”
Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney Advisor, speaking after the debate, 10/3/12: “With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage”
We don't know much about Romney's potential replacement for the Affordable Care Act. But one thing we do know is that it does not cover pre-existing conditions for those who don't have insurance, or whose insurance has lapsed. Perhaps he forgot that little detail. Or perhaps he's simply trying to fool people into thinking he has the better solution for the country's health care crisis. Neither of these are terribly Presidential characteristics.
Granted, President Obama should have done a better job immediately confronting Romney with his lies/turnarounds/switcheroos during the debate. But the fact remains that Romney has changed his position in the past week on several important issues. For undecided voters, this is important. Whether he's forgotten his position or is deliberately changing his tune to suit his audience is immaterial. A President needs to stand for something, remember what it is, and remain steadfast. Romney would be better served by owning his stances tax cuts, abortion, and health insurance than by waffling on them. In trying to please everyone, hopefully people will see through his act and he will waffle his way right out of winning the election.