Thursday, January 10, 2008

DailyKos for Mitt Romney

The DailyKos is pushing to get Democrats and liberal independents to vote for Mitt Romney to help drag out the GOP race, and presumably because Romney polls the worst against the Democratic front runners in match up polling.

And when I say the DailyKos is pushing it, I mean the head honcho, Kos himself.

-- UPDATE 7:09 PM --

And as if I haven't laid out enough reasons to oppose Romney in the general election, I just stumbled across a Giuliani supporters scathing critique of Mitt Romney that has cataloged far more deceptions and flip-flops than even I have:

"The Trouble With Mitt Romney" series Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Part 3 covers the flip-flops, but the whole series is worth the read if you got the time. Here's just a taste:

1. Abortion

Ben Domenech has gone into detail here and here about the collision between Romney's 2006 claim, while running as a committed pro-lifer, that he "never called myself pro-choice" and his 2002 position, which included declaring that "If the question is whether I will protect and defend a woman's right to choose, my answer is an unequivocal 'Yes,'" vowing that "I respect and will fully protect a woman's right to choose." and sending his running mate out to declare that abortion should be a non-issue in 2002 because "[t]here isn't a dime of difference between Mitt Romney's position on choice and [NARAL-endorsed] Shannon O'Brien". He even filled out Planned Parenthood and NARAL questionnaires in 2002 pledging to uphold Roe v Wade and support public funding for abortion.

Romney also appeared to change his position on stem cell research between 2002 and 2005, shifting from statements that appeared to suggest a broad, unqualified support to a more nuanced position that supported the destruction of IVF embryos but opposed cloning. But it's arguable that that's more a matter of coming out with a clearer position on an issue he had fudged in the past than actually altering his position.

2. Immigration

Leon Wolf has covered Mitt's immigration flip-flop in some detail. Romney initially supported, and then later became a vocal foe of, the Bush/McCain-Kennedy approach to comprehensive immigration reform. (More here). As I noted in the last installment, he also never did squat about sanctuary cities in Massachusetts, an issue about which he now professes to be deeply offended to the point of calling for federal funding to be cut off to coerce such cities to drop their policies.

3. Guns

Alphecca has a look at Romney's shifts on gun control, having supported the assault weapons ban and Brady Bill in the past and gone from saying "I don't line up with the NRA" to becoming a card-carrying member. Mitt has changed his tune significantly on guns. (More here).

4. The Bush Tax Cuts

Romney's shift on taxes is perhaps more a matter of political strategy than a genuine alteration of his positions. Romney now campaigns in favor of making the Bush tax cuts permanent, but as recently as 2003, during the battle in Congress for the larger part of those cuts, he pointedly refused to support them - sending his press secretary out to say that he would not be taking a position on the issue - and signalled that he was open to supporting a federal gas tax hike, with both positions earning praise from Barney Frank.

One related issue that deserves a little discussion here as well is the minimum wage. Romney has been accused more than a few times by left and right alike (see here and here) of flip-flopping on the minimum wage, especially after he campaigned on a promise to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts and then vetoed a bill to do just that in 2006. Romney does, however, appear to have been genuinely consistent from 1994 through 2007 in arguing that the minimum wage should be indexed to inflation to provide for annual increases, a position consistent with his veto of an increase from $6.75 to $8/hour and counter-proposal of $7/hour. Romney's position is anything but friendly to business and economic growth, but he has been consistent.

5. Campaign Finance Reform

In 1994, Romney was for a variety of campaign finance reforms (go to about 1:25 in this video), including spending limits, abolishing PACs, and gift limits:

Now, he's posing as a champion of free speech, penning op-eds against McCain-Feingold and cheering the Supreme Court for its WRTL decision striking in part a McCain-Feingold issue ad ban.

The Washington Post details the extent of Romney's transformation on this issue:

"MY FEAR," former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said at the Republican debate this month, "is that McCain-Kennedy would do to immigration what McCain-Feingold has done to campaign finance and money in politics, and that's bad." Mr. Romney has turned campaign finance reform into one of his stump villains -- which represents a dramatic . . . turnabout from his days running for office in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Romney called for spending limits on candidates and a 10 percent tax on campaign contributions for state elections to finance publicly funded campaigns. Massachusetts Romney wanted to abolish political action committees because they wield too much power, and he bemoaned the influence of money in politics.

This isn't just a flip since 1994, but since 2002:

The Hill reports that in 2002 Mitt Romney advocated radical campaign finance reform:

"Mr. Romney campaigned in favor of clean elections, which provides public money to candidates for state office who meet strict fundraising requirements," the Telegram & Gazette reported. "But he suggested an alternative funding method. Instead of providing campaign funds from state coffers, his plan would tap 10 percent of the fundraising of candidates who choose to raise money privately."

Romney advocated taxing political contributions to support candidates who stayed within spending limits.

It never ends.

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