Besides his religion, what’s the number one reason people are opposed to Mitt Romney? Is it his “slick, salesman-like demeanor”? His too-perfect hair? His record as Governor of Massachusetts?
Ironically enough, the number one problem people have with Mitt Romney is his conservative positions…and how he arrived at them.
Whether it be on abortion, gay rights, gun control or signing tax pledges, many of Romney’s critics are quick to call him a “flip-flopper,” a term synonymous with John Kerry in 2004.
There’s no doubt that Romney has changed his positions. Romney himself has admitted that. But typically when I think of the term “flip-flopper,” I think of someone who changes back and forth, not simply in one direction. And in the case of Mitt Romney, his evolution has progressed in the conservative direction.
One of the first attacks I ever heard on Romney was that back in 1994, he was pro-choice as a candidate for U.S. Senator. Of course, it was true. His critics will gladly show you that infamous YouTube video where he claims that he will support the establishment of Roe v. Wade.
But in 2005, Romney claims to have changed his mind when faced with a decision on human cloning. At that point, he said he became pro-life. However, the common critique of his conversion is that it was for political gain, instead of being based on a change of heart.
Along with that, in his U.S. Senate race against Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney said he would be more of a champion for gay rights than his opponent. But now, Romney is running on a platform of supporting an amendment that would outlaw gay marriage on a federal level.
Also as a Senatorial candidate in 1994, Romney said that he didn’t “line up with the NRA,” in the area of gun control. But in August 2006, Romney became a lifetime member of the NRA.
In 2002, Romney refused to sign a “no new tax” pledge as governor of Massachussetts. But in 2007, Romney signed a similar pledge as a candidate for President. Keep in mind that one was for Massachussetts, the other is for the nation. However, some have pointed to this as a change in position.
Note the common thread in all these changes. Romney has become more conservative on all of them. He hasn’t gone back and forth as the “flip-flopper” label would indicate. Instead it was always the flip, never the flop.
As conservatives, if we don’t embrace people who are willing to share in our values, then we are declaring defeat in our attempt to change the hearts and minds of those who do not agree with us. We are surrendering to liberalism if we won’t accept those who have converted to conservativism.
And before I hear another “back in 1994,” comment, I’d like to point out some changes in myself and in America since 1994:
In early 1994, people thought that Kurt Cobain was going to be the biggest rock icon since John Lennon. And he may have been, had it not been for his death that year.
In 1994, Ace of Base was my favorite band. Needless to say, things change.
In 1994, there were less than 40 million users on the Internet. Let’s just say the amount of users has increased since then.
In 1994, a major attack on U.S. soil was over 50 years ago. In September of 2001, America changed.
In 1994, we had a Democratic president, but the Republicans won back Congress.
Folks, things change. People change. America has changed. This is something we have to understand. But in case you’re still not convinced, let me politicians who have been able to change with very little opposition.
Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, and Jesse Jackson were all once pro-life.
Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Henry Hyde were all once pro-choice.
And we know how they all turned out. Did they ever revert to their original positions? I don’t think so. Do people still criticize them for their old positions? No, unless you consider this to be criticism.
When it comes to Mitt Romney, I’m glad he has changed his positions. He has changed them so that they match mine, along with a lot of other conservatives out there. With each issue, he becomes more and more conservative, which I think is wonderful. Who am I to criticize that? Why should I feel the need to complain that he is developing the same values that I am?
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel the least bit alarmed by the fact that Mitt Romney has become more conservative. I invite his relatively newfound conservativism. And I will gladly embrace anyone else who is willing to share my conservative values. If you’re going to harp on Mitt Romney, find something else besides his so-called “flip-flopping.” That monacre just won’t stick with me.