Romney Attacks McCain; Pot Calls Kettle Black
In a sure sign that the jockeying for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination is underway, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney fired the opening salvo against Republican front-runner John McCain. But in calling McCain "disingenuous," Romney also offered the first pot-calls-kettle-black moment of the '08 campaign.
In advance of the GOP primaries, McCain and Romney alike are making hard right turns. As Perrspectives previously reported, McCain has sought to lock up the backing of the Bush political machine he once disdained. The Arizona Senator, who once termed Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance", has tried to mend fences with the religious right, including an appearance at Falwell's Liberty University and hiring Falwell staffer Brett O' Donnell for his campaign team. Completing his transformation, McCain renounced his 1999 position on abortion, calling last week for the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Not to be outdone, Romney's strategy to outflank both McCain and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani on the right. Proclaiming himself "a conservative Republican," the gay-bashing Romney used his grandstanding against Massachusetts' liberal same-sex marriage law as a bludgeon against McCain. In response to McCain's statement that "I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states", Romney pontificated:
"That's his position, and in my opinion, it's disingenuous. Look, if somebody says they're in favor of gay marriage, I respect that view. If someone says - like I do - that I oppose same-sex marriage, I respect that view. But those who try and pretend to have it both ways, I find it to be disingenuous."
Romney of all people should know. When it comes to being disingenuous, Mitt Romney's attempt to have it all ways on abortion is legendary.
As Perrspectives detailed in March, Romney's schizophrenia on women's reproductive rights was highlighted with South Dakota's passage of draconian abortion restrictions. Almost on cue, Mitt Romney confirmed the 2005 assessment of his advisor Michael Murphy that "he's been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly."
In the aftermath of the South Dakota law's enactment, spokesperson Julie Teer laid out Romney's position of the South Dakota abortion ban, "If Gov. Romney were the governor of South Dakota he would sign it. The governor believes that states should have the right to be pro-life if that is the will of the people."
Of course, that's not what Romney has been telling the voters of Massachusetts since 1994. In his failed '94 Senate race against Ted Kennedy, the Mormon and presumptively pro-life Romney declared that abortion should be "safe and legal in this country."
Romney's abortion fraud became essential to his successful 2002 gubernatorial run. Romney, a Mormon who had only recently moved back to Massachusetts from a stint running the Winter Olympics in Utah, defused the issue in the pro-choice Commonwealth by proclaiming "I believe women should have the right to make their own choice." His tack then was to avoid changing the status quo:
"I promised that if elected, I'd call a truce - a moratorium, if you will...I vowed to veto any legislation that sought to change the existing rules...I fully respect and will fully protect a woman's right to choose."
On abortion and reproductive rights, Romney now claims that he has "evolved" and that "my political philosophy is pro-life."
Of course it is. The 2008 Republican presidential primaries are just a little more than a year away.