The veracity of Romney’s conversion to the pro-life position is not the major problem, contends Massachusetts political analyst and Massachusetts Republican State Committee member James Rappaport. He says the major issue is simply having a position that can be articulated.
“Romney’s major problem is that he doesn’t really have an opinion,” Rappaport said. “He’s flipped and flopped all over the place.”
Rappaport says that Romney’s campaign position on the life issue in the 1994 Senate race was subject to the political whims of Massachusetts GOP leaders.
“He started out as pro-choice in the 1994 primary. I remember in the debate that he was talking about his mother being pro-choice and that was supposed to mean something,” Rappaport said. “Then when he got into the campaign, he became squishier on the issue.”
Fischer also says that Romney’s position on the life issue is based on what office he is seeking and where the office is located.
“He’s an almost entirely poll-driven politician. He decided to run on a pro-choice platform in Massachusetts in 1994, when he took on Ted Kennedy, because his pollsters convinced him that a pro-life candidate could not win in Massachusetts,” Fischer said. “In my judgment, Gov. Romney is a man who will say anything he thinks people want to hear in order to get elected.”
A Virginia-based political analyst who has asked not to be named says Romney’s pro-life conversion is an illusion.
“For 30 years Mitt Romney was a strong advocate of abortion. His wife, Ann, contributed money to Planned Parenthood in 1994 at a Planned Parenthood event both she and her husband attended, but she was filmed during the 2008 campaign claiming, ‘I’ve always been pro-life.’
“Moreover,” the analyst continued, “another video has appeared showing Ann insisting that pro-abortion women need not worry about her husband due to his commitment to the abortion issue. … Like her husband, Mrs. Romney has engaged in deception in regards to abortion, giving us yet another reason why we doubt the sincerity of the Romneys.
“Romney claims to have had a sudden epiphany that changed his mind on abortion, but what about Ann?” the analyst asked. “Are we to believe that his wife had an epiphany at the same time?”
Whatever happened in 2004 and 2005 was critical to the metamorphosis of Romney into “pro-life Mitt,” but Fischer believes the position shifts were calculated moves.
“My assessment is that by 2004 or 2005 Romney had already figured out his chances of reelection in Massachusetts were nil, so he began to set his sights on the White House,” Fischer said.
Rappaport agrees that Romney had determined that his re-election chances were poor, so he determined not to run. He adds that by 2005, Romney had no intention of running for reelection as governor.
“I said to a Boston Globe reporter I know, ‘You know he’s not running for re-election,” Rappaport said. “And he said to me, ‘You’re the only one who’s saying that.’”
Rappaport told the reporter that Romney’s shifting position on some issues telegraphed the fact that he had set his eyes on the White House.
“The one thing you don’t do in Massachusetts if you’re preparing to run for election statewide is move to the right on abortion,” Rappaport said to the Globe reporter. “You can move as far right as you want on capital punishment; you can move as far right as you want on gun control, but you don’t move far right on abortion.
“It was very clear that he had no intention of running for reelection,” Rappaport said.
Fischer concludes that Romney’s sincerity on the life issue is suspect at best.
“He does not mean one single word he says on the sanctity of life and marriage as matters of public policy, and people who are paying attention know it,” Fischer said. “I do not discern any core convictions of conscience in him whatsoever, especially on the issues that matter to social conservatives.”