Sunday, May 13, 2012

Romney was for same-sex adoption before he was against it, flipping and flopping from one day to the next


Mitt Romney tried hard to avoid the same-sex marriage issue after President Obama announced his support for it, not surprising given that the president had the upper hand, but, when pushed, he decided to keep sucking up to his party's right-wing mainstream, reiterating his opposition to it despite a record, once upon a time in Massachusetts, of being not a bigot. (When you're trying to suck up to the right -- and indeed to the Republican Party generally -- being an anti-gay bigot plays much better than not being one.) He may or may not be sincere in his newfound conservatism, but what's clear is that that's where he is now, or where he has decided to be, on most issues, this one included.

It is also clear, though, that he's a shamelessly opportunistic panderer, that he'll do and say whatever it takes to win votes. Often that's easy enough, but sometimes, it seems, it's hard to know, or at least for him to know, which way the wind blows, which way he ought to pander, where the votes are, and so which position he ought to take. And we saw this again in his response to the same-sex marriage issue this past week:

Among Mitt Romney's timid responses this week after President Obama's endorsement of marriage equality was an admission that he was "fine" with same-sex couples adopting children, saying, "that's something that people have a right to do." But by Friday afternoon, he was already backing away from that position, suggesting that he merely "acknowledges" that many states offer same-sex adoption:

ROMNEY: Actually, I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that's a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.

He's actually wrong about this -- "[a]doption laws vary widely from state to state with little consistency between them," and most states do not have adoption equality for same-sex couples -- but that's hardly surprising given his own inconsistency on the issue:

Romney has a long history of dissembling on the issue of same-sex adoption. In 2007, he appeared to support the right of same-sex couples to adopt, saying "obviously, that's their right." But last year, a Romney spokesman said that same-sex adoption "should be assessed on a state-by-state basis."

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, which I'm reluctant to do, I suppose he does probably support, if only because he doesn't much care, same-sex adoption. That's why he said first that he was "fine" with it. But then... well, then his own political reality must have settled in like a looming thunderstorm above his head, if not for him then at least for his advisors. That's why he quickly pulled back and, in explaining himself, reversed course, took the opposite position, and went right back to sucking at the massive teat of the Republican base -- or, if you wish to look at it a different way, in a more accurate way, went right back to having the Republican base's hand up his ass controlling his every move like a pathetic little puppet.

It's easy to see why he's doing this, given his need for big-time conservative turnout in November, but he's in a pickle, as they say. In sucking up to the right by positioning himself, sincerely or more likely not, as a hardcore conservative, as a "severely conservative Republican," he's losing the center, which is where many of those much-ballyhooed independents and swing voters hang out, and it's hard to see how he'll win in November without the support of independents and other centrists.

This is why he wants to avoid issues like same-sex marriage altogether, preferring to spin his bullshit about how Obama is supposedly destroying the economy, and why, when pushed, he tries to have it both ways, going one way and then the other, flipping and flopping, speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and trapping himself in his own shameless political opportunism.

Is it any wonder Jon Huntsman once called him "a perfectly lubricated weathervane"? (Though I'm not sure he has enough lubrication to get him through the campaign. It already seems to be drying up. Maybe he can ask one of his donors for a few barrels of Astroglide. Or maybe the Republican base, his puppeteer, could spare some.)

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