December 21, 2006


Mitt Romney Has Some Repairs To Make (Byron York, Dec. 19, 2006, CBS)

Some social conservatives in the important primary state of South Carolina are expressing skepticism about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney after reports of statements from the Massachusetts governor that were pro-choice, in favor of expansive gay rights, and dismissive of Ronald Reagan.

For some, the concern stems not from any single, disqualifying position, but rather a combination of statements from Romney's political career. "When it becomes a pattern, that's what causes people to be fearful," says Oran Smith, head of the pro-life Palmetto Family Council, who has not committed to any candidate in the race. "The Reagan thing, the abortion thing, the gay thing — if you mix all of that together, is there a pattern?"

The first statement to which Smith refers is one that is being e-mailed around Republican circles these days. It is from Romney's now-famous debate with Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy during the 1994 Senate campaign. In the debate, Kennedy tried to portray Romney as a turn-back-the-clock conservative, and Romney took exception, essentially disavowing Reagan. On October 27, 1994, the Boston Herald reported the exchange this way:

Kennedy attempted to link Romney several times during the debate to conservatives such as Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and accused him of trying to return the country to the policies of the Reagan-Bush administrations.

Romney objected to the characterizations, saying: "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."

Romney has sought throughout the campaign to portray himself as a "Bill Weld Republican" who is liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal matters.

"You cannot slam Ronald Reagan or disrespect Ronald Reagan in a state like South Carolina," says Ed McMullen, head of the economically-oriented South Carolina Policy Council.

All the Governor and the Mayor have going for them is that it's too early for anyone to know their actual positions on issues that matter to the GOP.

Mass. Governor's Rightward Shift Raises Questions (Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray, 12/21/06, Washington Post)

As he prepares for a 2008 presidential campaign, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has championed the conservative principles that guided President Ronald Reagan, become an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and supported overturning the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

It was not always so. Twelve years ago, Romney boasted that he would be more effective in fighting discrimination against gay men and lesbians than Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), distanced himself from some conservative policies of the Reagan administration, and proudly recalled his family's record in support of abortion rights.

The apparent gulf between the candidate who ran for the Senate in 1994 and the one getting ready to run for president has raised questions as to who is the real Mitt Romney.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2006 6:17 PM

So he was for baby-murder and perversion before he was against them. Isn't that the way they do things in Massachusetts?

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 21, 2006 6:47 PM

Which is why the MA primary doesn't decide the GOP candidate.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2006 7:07 PM

I get so sick of hearing "Reagan Bush" to describe 1980-1992.

There were the "Reagan years", and then the "Bush-Clinton years" and then Bush2, which OJ points out are arguably more conservative than Reagan.

I get a kick out of those lefty moonbats who say "Bush did Iraq to avenge his dad."

If there are deep seated personal family reasons for W becoming president, they are to prove that his dad was a class A putz of monumental proportions. "Mission Accomplished" indeed.


As for the elections, I'm still vainly holding out for a "Kasich/Gingrich" independent candidacy that would almost certainly cost the Republicans the presidency.

The more important thing is that it will also almost certainly put the House and Senate solidly back in Republican hands.

Tossing either McCain, Guiliani or Romney off the bus is a small price to pay, and may give President Obama that slim shot at greatness that he feels he deserves.

Posted by: Bruno at December 22, 2006 9:37 AM

All the Governor and the Mayor have going for them is that it's too early for anyone to know their actual positions on issues that matter to the GOP.

And Sen. Keating-McCain's greatest liability is that the GOP know his actual postions and record all too well.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 22, 2006 11:09 AM

And support him on that basis.

Posted by: oj at December 22, 2006 11:34 AM

Only because it's the same party that nominated Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 22, 2006 12:26 PM

Bob Dole ran an absurdly effective campaign given the peace and prosperity that prevailed. Had Perot bailed and endorsed him he might even have won.

Posted by: oj at December 22, 2006 1:42 PM

Quotes from Governor Mitt Romney about President Ronald Reagan


* “It is appropriate and fitting to set aside a day to honor the memory of Ronald Reagan, who inspired the nation with his optimism and belief in the greatness of the American people. He led the nation with vision, courage and humor and defended freedom and democracy around the world.”
o Governor Mitt Romney, 06-08-2004 Press Release

* "And if you think that during the great national policy debate of the 1980's, Ronald Reagan was wrong and Ted Kennedy was right, then by all means send in John Kerry."
o Governor Mitt Romney, 09-01-2004 2002 Republican Convention


* “I believe people who are in a position of visibility and leadership affect the character of young people and individuals who look to them as leaders. And in some respects just as important as their policies and positions is there character and their substance. What for me makes people like Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt and John Adams and George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan such extraordinary leaders is that they had integrity through and through. What they were on the inside and what they said on the outside was harmonious. There a lot of people like that. I think that if people try to live a very different personal life not consistent with the role they’ve assumed as a governor or senator or president, we lose something as a nation.”
o Governor Mitt Romney, The Atlantic (September 2005)

* Ronald Reagan is one of my heroes," Romney said as he praised Reagan's strategy for winning the Cold War: We win; they lose."
o Governor Mitt Romney, Source

* “Ronald Reagan is also my hero and a friend of all of ours…I believe that our party’s ascendancy began with Ronald Reagan’s brand of visionary and courageous leadership.”
o Governor Mitt Romney, Speech in South Carolina (February 2005)

* "And for all those people, for all those people like myself who yearn for world peace, don't forget that a strong America is peace's best ally. As Ronald Reagan said, he said, I saw four wars start in my lifetime and not one of them was started because America was too strong. We have a president who is committed to defending this land and to spreading liberty throughout the world and we are firmly behind him. We just had a--we recently just had a visit from Shimon Peres of Israel. He said America is unique in the world and plays a unique role. In the history of the world, he said, when wars are fought, they're fought over land and the victor takes land. But when America has been drawn into war and when millions of its sons and daughters' lives have been taken, it asks for nothing in return. No land did we take from Germany, no land did we take from Japan. In fact we invested in their countries to preserve their liberty, because we recognize their liberty and their freedom provides freedom for us and the entire world. This is a nation which is unusual in the history of the world, it is unique, and this is a nation which helps preserve the peace of the entire planet. And I'm proud and privileged to know that we have such great militrary and such great leadership carrying out and fulfilling that promise."
o Governor Mitt Romney, 06-03-2005, NH Federation of Republican Women's Lilac Dinner


* "When I was running for office for the first time in 1994, I was trying to define who I was, not who I wasn’t. I was trying to define that I was an individual who had his own views and perspectives and I wasn’t a carbon copy of someone else. I’ve said since, and continue to reiterate, that one of my heroes is Ronald Reagan. I’ve been asked time and again in interviews, who are your heroes? And I mention Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower among others as some of my favorite heroes, and I feel that deeply. But I am a different person than any other person and my interest is, of course, looking forward to defining who I am. Of course, now there’s no need for me to try to define myself in reference to others. I’ve got a record. And people can look at my record and see, for instance, that when people were clamoring to raise taxes in Massachusetts, I said “no” and we held the line on taxes, and held the line and borrowing, and we balanced our budget. They can see that I vetoed literally hundreds of line items in budgets because I thought there was too much spending. They can see that I fought for better schools. They can see that I fought for a better environment. And they can recognize that a lot what Ronald Reagan was doing I’m also doing. So I’m pretty proud to follow in his legacy, if you will, recognizing, of course, that there’s some differences. He’s just a lot better than anyone else I know."
o Governor Mitt Romney, Human Events, Robert B. Bluey, 12-28-2006,

* Now of course there's some big differences between Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well. There is this affection that some people in Massachusetts have for toll booths. I don't understand it. This Memorial Day weekend my wife and I waited in the toll booth line at the Hampton tolls for just about half an hour. And I have a message for your Democratic governor. Tear down that wall.
o Governor Mitt Romney

* "Not really. Not at this stage. You know its possible that there will come some point were there is a question that galvanizes interest and there is an occasion to say something that cuts through the confusion that may develop but at this stage it is kind of hard to predict what will happen. I mean I remember in the race with Ronald Reagan, it was in his debate that he said, "I'm not going to let your youth and inexperience become an issue in this campaign". That sort of put aside his age issue. And there may well be something of that nature. I just don't think Americans will do something the constitution forbids. The constitution says that no religious test shall ever be required for qualification for office in these United States, and I don't think my party or the American people would ever do that."
o Governor Mitt Romney, discussing his religion on the Charlie Rose Show. Was asked, "John Kennedy, we remember, looked for and found a venue where he could talk about his catholic faith. The Houston ministry is a very famous speech that he gave. Would you look for and are you looking for a place were you can make a statement like this and are you looking for the right place and time?"

* "Well, I think people in this country want a person of faith to lead them as their governor, as their senator, as their president. I don't think most people care what brand of faith they have. And I don't believe that that's been an issue for me in my race for governor. It wasn't an issue, I believe, serious, for John Kennedy when he ran for president. People said oh, gosh, Ronald Reagan, he's been an actor who's been divorced, you can't elect him. Those things, I think, get swept away as people get to know the individual, understand their character, their vision, their values, and I think that's true regardless of a person's faith if they are a faithful person."
o Governor Mitt Romney, 02-27-2006 Interview with CHRIS WALLACE on FNS

Press Releases from Governor Mitt Romney about President Ronald Reagan


Posted by: mike at December 30, 2006 8:30 PM