by Rich Abete
In our previous incarnation as JWAD, we had a similar feature which highlighted GOP hypocrisy which was called Hypocrite of the Week. As one can easily imagine, the Republican presidential primary season provided endless fodder for our posts. In fact, every major candidate running earned the title HOTW over a several month period, with one glaring exception: Mitt Romney. The reason Mr. Romney was excluded from the fun certainly wasn’t because he was not a hypocrite. Apparently, it was just a matter of saving the best for last. Now that he has the Republican nomination in the bag, it’s even more urgent that folks realize what a pathological hypocrite he actually is. With that, I give you Mitt Romney, Hypocrite of the Month.
According to Dictionary.com, hypocrite is defined thusly:
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some undesirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
According to the above definition, Mr. Romney is such a perfect hypocrite that his picture, as they say, should appear next to the word in the dictionary. It seems that just about every position that he has stated publicly, belies or contradicts a position he publicly held previously. There is a difference between one’s opinions evolving around an issue and straight up pandering. As I have previously written, Mr. Romney is a political shape-shifter and a chameleon (sans the darting tongue). How can one lead without consistent public beliefs, never mind core convictions?
Let’s begin with an obvious example: Mr. Romney’s position on Universal Healthcare and the so-called individual mandate. While the governor of Massachusetts only a few short years ago (2003-2007), he signed into law a version of market-based (no, not socialism) universal healthcare coverage that included what has now become anathema in GOP politics, the individual mandate. Mr. Romney (and many Republicans) was as recently as a 2009 op-ed piece an enthusiastic proponent of the law and the mandate…that is, until President Obama lifted the Romney plan to use as a blue-print for the Affordable Care Act (incidentally, also market based and not socialism) and signed it into law. Mr. Romney has now made his pledge to “repeal Obama Care” a central theme in his campaign.
Mr. Romney once advocated a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he lurched so far to the right to pander to the rabidly right-wing Republican primary electorate that he put his fellow xenophobes…um…Republicans, to shame. He actually strayed so far from what had been his consistently moderate view on immigration, to actually advocating self-deportation of the more than 12 million folks that are in the U.S. illegally.
On the issue of climate change, the former governor of Massachusetts once espoused a mainstream and commonly held view that man was contributing to the change in climate, once popularly referred to as global warming. He probably arrived at this reasonable assumption based on the conclusions of 98% of climate change scientists. However, once stepping into to world of Republican primary politics, Mr. Romney quickly adopted the position that climate change science is just theory and may even be a hoax. His 2011-2012 primary opponents, of course, all concurred.
In 2002 while campaigning to be governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney stated, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.” In order to be a viable presidential candidate for the Republican Party and appeal to the Republican electorate, he is now predictably ardently Pro-Life and believes that abortion should be illegal. Unlike many in his party, however, Mr. Romney does acknowledge that there should be an exception for rape and incest victims who become pregnant.
Because Mr. Romney has been lately engaged in a knock-down, drag-out Republican primary battle with veritably every one of his right-wing GOP opponents nipping his heels at one time or another, the public positions of the former moderate governor have all predictably lurched far to the right as outlined above. The question becomes, did he hypocritically pander to become the governor of the bluest of blue liberal states in 20002-2003 and lie about his personal beliefs to get elected, or has the real hypocrisy taken place in his five year quest to reside at Washington’s most exclusive address? Perhaps not even Mr. Romney knows what he truly believes anymore. I suppose we’ll never find out unless…I can’t even bring myself to write it. I’ll leave it at this: Get out and vote in November!
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