Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mitt Romney flips and flops on Ohio's anti-union law

(UPDATE: Romney clarified his position on Wednesday. He's "110 percent" anti-union. "I fully support Gov. Kasich's Question 2 in Ohio," he said. "I'm sorry if I created any confusion there." Sure, except that his refusal to be clear was clearly intentional. He likely only clarified his position because he was called out on it. He's going against the majority of Ohioans on this, but pandering to the right-wing GOP base -- and to the party's new mainstream -- would appear to be more important.)

Mitt Romney appeared to depart from the Republican race to the bottom yesterday by refusing to endorse Ohio Gov. John Kasich's law (SB 5) that denies collective bargaining rights to unionized public sector workers. (The law will be put to a state-wide vote in two weeks, and polls show a solid majority (57% according to a poll released yesterday) of Ohioans favoring repeal.) The thing is, Romney endorsed the law back in June. This, of course, is typical Romney. He says one thing when he wants to appeal to the right, another when he wants to appeal to public opinion. As Steve Benen writes:

Think about what transpired: the Republican presidential frontrunner visited with a Republican phone bank to offer support for the Republican campaign to curtail collective bargaining rights. But Romney refuses to take a position on the issue? He's "supportive" of their efforts, but he won't say whether or not he agrees with their efforts? 


Putting aside party and ideology, it's hard to shake the realization that Mitt Romney lacks a certain political courage. He's so desperate to calculate how every decision might affect his ambitions that he struggles to remember what he believes, and either ends up cowardly ducking issues or taking both sides of nearly every fight. It can be hard to watch, and even harder to respect.

Basically, Romney just says whatever he thinks he needs to say to maximize his political appeal, and that means flipping and flopping all over the place. Unlike Perry and Bachmann, he may not always be racing to the bottom in terms of ideology (it's hard to know what he really thinks about SB 5), but he's certainly leading the way, well ahead of Newt Gingrich, in terms of shameless pandering and self-promotional opportunism. This is one of the major reasons why so many Republicans are suspicious of him, or outright loathe him, and why even as the frontrunner with divided and often embarrassing conservative opposition he can barely crack 25% percent support in polls. He's just so transparent, and it's just so obvious what he's up to.

What else is new?

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  • Michael,

    You capture the absurdity quite well. It did not take long for Romney to rejoin the 'race to the bottom', did it?

    The situation in the GOP is beyond farcical. Will the much ballyhooed 'moderate' be able to see through Romney's cynical conniving in the general election.

    We shall see.

    Keep up the fight!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 PM  

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