By Michael Carl
BOSTON – With Mitt Romney’s move to the front of the race for the GOP nomination for president, his critics are raising questions about his history of support for Democrats, and several left-leaning agendas.
In an essay on his website, political commentator Terrence Jeffrey says Romney was open about his support for former Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Paul Tsongas’ White House bid.
Jeffrey writes in a November article in Human Events that Romney was attracted to Tsongas’ campaign because of Tsongas’ strong support for population control.
“When he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, Paul Tsongas repeatedly made it clear: He loathed President George H.W. Bush’s flip-flopping on abortion and his inattentiveness to what Tsongas perceived as the urgent need for global population control,” Jeffrey said.
“I will tell you very strongly the No. 1 environmental issue I’m going to push for when I’m president is population control around this world so we can turn to later generations and say something except, ‘Sorry, folks,’” Jeffrey wrote, quoting Tsongas.
“Two months later, Romney cast his vote for Tsongas. That Massachusetts primary was a landslide in both parties. Bush beat Pat Buchanan 66 percent to 28 percent. Among Democrats, native son Tsongas took 66 percent to then-former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s 15 percent and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton’s 11 percent,” Jeffrey wrote.
Political analyst Steve Baldwin agrees and says that Romney’s history with the Republican party is pretty thin.
“Romney’s history with the Republican Party is minimal; and much of his relationship with the GOP has been destructive. In fact, he voted for and gave money to Democrats on a number of occasions,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin added that Romney’s association with the GOP has not been particularly helpful to the Republican Party.
“As for being a party builder, his leadership as titular head of the Massachusetts Republican Party has been disastrous, with the state GOP suffering massive losses during his tenure,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin added he doesn’t believe the former Massachusetts governor has ever accepted the principles of the Republican Party.
“He came from a very liberal Republican family. His father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was a leader of the liberal wing of the GOP,” Baldwin said.
The elder Romney walked out of the 1964 Republican National Convention when Barry Goldwater made his famous declaration, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Baldwin noted.
Mitt Romney, said Baldwin, has explained that his father saw Goldwater’s statement “as a tacit approval of the effort the John Birch Society was making to influence the Republican Party.”
“Goldwater’s conservative influence on the GOP was part of the historic shift the party made to becoming a modern conservative political party, but Romney’s father saw this as a negative influence. George Romney even opposed the Goldwater platform in 1964 and refused to endorse Goldwater,” Baldwin said.
The former Massachusetts governor’s political journey took him from being an anti-Goldwater Republican to support for Democratic candidates.
“When he announced he would seek the Republican Senate nomination to challenge Ted Kennedy, Romney told the Boston Globe about his vote for Tsongas,” Jeffrey said.
“Romney confirmed he voted for former U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas in the state’s 1992 Democratic presidential primary, saying he did so both because Tsongas was from Massachusetts and because he favored his ideas over those of Bill Clinton,” Jeffrey said, quoting a February 4, 1994, Boston Globe story.
Baldwin said that Tsongas wasn’t Romney’s only preferred Democrat.
“Romney contributed to three Democrats in the 1992 primary. He gave $250 to New Hampshire congressional candidate Richard Swett, $250 to New York congressional candidate John Lafalce and $1,000 to Utah U.S. Senate candidate Doug Anderson,” Baldwin said.
“Indeed, there is no record of Romney contributing to any Republican candidates until he started preparing for his U.S. Senate run in Massachusetts in 1994, the race for which he switched to the GOP in order to run against Ted Kennedy. In fact, from July 1989 until October 1993, political contributions by Romney went only to Democrats,” Baldwin said.
The financial records verify Baldwin’s claims.
An FEC campaign finance report lists Romney’s contributions from 1992 through 2010. The report shows that once Romney began seeking office as a Republican, his contributions shifted to Republicans.
Baldwin also said that during his Democratic period, Romney even worked against the Republican Party.
“Indeed, the 1992 Swett race involved a district the national GOP was trying to reclaim but Romney did nothing to help the Republican candidate there. Swett was not a conservative Democrat; as with other Democrats supported by Romney, he was a liberal,” Baldwin said.
Columnist Deroy Murdock writes that Swett was among the most liberal in Congress.
“He had a 32 percent American Conservative Union rating, and an 85 percent rating with the hard-left Americans for Democratic Action,” Murdock writes.
Former Republican Congressman Chuck Douglas issued a statement drubbing Romney for interfering in the election on behalf of a liberal Democrat.
“Mitt Romney actively worked to defeat the Republican candidates trying to reclaim my old congressional seat. Therefore, I’m amazed that Romney would claim to represent the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” Douglas said in the statement.
“When Romney has a chance to contribute to a New Hampshire Republican, he chose to fund a liberal New Hampshire Democrat instead,” Douglas said.
Baldwin added that Romney even supported New York Democrat John LaFalce, who was rated as more liberal than Swett.
“As for Congressman John LaFalce, this was not a competitive district but nonetheless, LaFalce’s American Conservative Union rating the year Romney supported him was 12 percent, making him one of the most liberal democrats in Congress. What was Romney thinking?” Baldwin said.
It was only Romney’s political ambitions, Baldwin said, that brought the present candidate to be the GOP presidential nominee into the GOP.
“Despite his liberal Republican background, Romney was a registered independent his entire adult life until 1993 and only registered Republican when he challenged Sen. Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat in 1994,” Baldwin said.
Federal Election Commission records indicate that Romney’s checkbook followed his voter registration. The report indicates that from 2006 through 2010, Romney gave $30,500 to Republican and conservative causes.