In a blog entry at the American Prospect, Jamelle Bouie says that while Mitt Romney isn’t the first candidate to flip his ideological political positions, there is something to be said about the speed at which he does it.
… As The Wall Street Journal details in this excellent piece, Romney ran for governor as a liberal — he promised to defend the state’s abortion laws and provide domestic partnership benefits and then offered himself as a voice for moderation within the Republican Party. Once elected, he continued on that path, signing a state ban on assault weapons and closing a coal power plant under the rationale that private industry shouldn’t have carte blanche to release dangerous fumes into the air.
This all changed in 2005, when Romney began to position himself for a run in the 2008 Republican presidential primary. By the end of the year, he had reversed himself on everything from abortion to climate change, even going as far as to demonize same-sex residents of Massachusetts to out-of-state audiences, in order to build his credibility with social conservatives. “Today, same-sex couples are marrying under the law in Massachusetts,” Mr. Romney told South Carolina Republicans. “Some are actually having children born to them.”
On Twitter, Politico’s Ben Smith compared this to Barack Obama’s political change in the early part of the 2000s, as he prepared his run for national office. The Obama of the 1990s was considerably more left-wing than the Obama of 2008, or even 2004: He supported public financing of campaigns, domestic partnership legislation, a living wage, single-payer health care, and Medicaid funding for abortion. Likewise, he opposed capital punishment, mandatory sentencing, and restrictions on welfare benefits.
Read Jamelle Bouie’s entire blog entry at the American Prospect.