My daughter Annie told me I should have labeled Friday’s post as satire, lest people think that Mitt Romney had actually said all the things I attributed to him. Because I clearly need to polish my ironic tone – or “satirony” as George Bush famously might have said – let me clarify. All Romney’s quotes from the past were verbatim, while those in the present tense, he has not said . . . at least not yet, for Mitt Romney shifts his positions radically and unapologetically to appeal to the audience of the moment. In 1994, when he ran for the United States Senate against Ted Kennedy, he denied any connection to the Reagan and Bush presidencies and took enough positions on social issues that Kennedy said, “I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice.”
In 2004, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney declared: “Deadly assault weapons . . . are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.” Two years later he became a life member of the NRA.
In the Republican presidential primary, all the other candidates attacked Romney as a closet moderate, prompting him to insist, “I was a seriously conservative Republican governor” in one of the rare times he mentioned his relationship to Massachusetts.
In last week’s debate he wrapped himself in the mantle of bipartisan effectiveness for passing universal health coverage with a legislature that was 87% Democratic, Ted Kennedy’s help, and the requirement of an individual mandate.