Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romney Sells Out Congressional GOP - Comes Out Against Conscience Clause Bill Protecting Employers from HHS Contraception Mandate [UPDATED]

THIS is the REAL Mitt Romney:

Here's how Greg Sargent at The Washington Post is calling it:
Jim Heath, a reporter for ONN-TV in Ohio, just Tweeted a remarkable piece of news: Mitt Romney told him he does not support the Blunt amendment, which would empower employers and insurers to deny health coverage they find morally objectionable.

I just got off the phone with Heath, and he graciously played me the audio. Heath asks Romney if he’s for the “Blunt-Rubio” amendment, and defines it. Romney replies:

“I’m not for the bill. But, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
That’s pretty remarkable. If Romney knew what he was saying, the Senate GOP caucus, which is set to vote on this amendment tomorrow, may feel as if Romney has pulled the rug out from underneath them. And this has become an important issue for conservatives. So it’ll be interesting to see how the base reacts to this, particularly since the GOP primary is anything but over and Rick Santorum — who’s perceived as a more reliable social conservative — is likely to use this to attack Romney, who will be under continued pressure to connect with social and religious conservatives.

Perhaps Romney now feels confident enough in victory in the GOP primary that he’s willing to risk some ire from the base in order to begin his pivot to general election mode in advance of winning the nomination.


UPDATE III: The Romney camp now says he’s for it:

“Regarding the Blunt bill, the way the question was asked was confusing,” a spokesman told TPM. “Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith.”
You can see that all the RINOs [LIARS!] are trying to spin this by explaining that Mitt was confused about which bill they were talking about. Bull!!! DO NOT let the post-interview spin fool you. Romney's initial reaction is what he REALLY believes, and the spin is the Romney campaign scrambling to clean up another one of his messes. Here's how you can tell:

Notice how easily Mitt adopts the language of the left in describing the bill. Notice how he uses this opportunity to get to the left of Santorum and try to paint Santorum as some sort of "bedroom police" - again utilizing the rhetoric of the left.

And then recall how comfortable Mitt was in getting to Rick Perry's left on Social Security and adopting the language of the Democrats in essentially arguing that Perry was going to force Grandma to eat dogfood, or worse, was going to push Grandma off a cliff. Romney seemed like a natural in making those arguments, just as he seems like a natural in his arguments against the Blunt bill and criticizing Santorum's support of it.

Now, contrast those two instances of Romney feeling comfortable in his own skin with those many, many, many times during his campaign in which Romney seemed ill-at-ease and downright uncomfortable trying to sound like a "severe conservative" in his attempts to appeal to grassroots conservatives (i.e. the base of the GOP).

Why is that? I'll tell you why: Because, as Romney has said on multiple occasions, he can't be who he is not, and can only be who he is. Well, THIS is who he is. The Romney in that video - selling out Congressional Republicans trying to do the heavy lifting of overturning the HHS mandate - is who Romney is. Should he win the nomination, we will have an entire campaign season of Romney being who he is to the chagrin of conservatives. And in the unlikely event he were to defeat Obama, we would have an entire 4 years of Romney being who he is and the Republicans in Congress going along with him, again much to the chagrin of conservatives. And in 4 years, he'd be running for re-election, being who he really is, again much to the chagrin of conservatives.

DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS MAN. Not in the primary, and not in the general election. Because I believe in my heart of hearts that the Romney in the video above, and the Romney who demagogued Rick Perry on Social Security, is just the tip of the iceberg of who Romney REALLY is, I will NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EVER vote for him.

And neither should you.

Even Romney sycophant Britt Hume notes the opportunism evident in Romney's answer to the question, as he seemed downright gleeful at the opportunity to get to the left of Santorum:
I thought Romney skipped past the question, to seize a chance to stick it to Santorum on contraception. Not a considered answer.
It may not have been "considered" in the sense that Romney let his mask slip, but make no mistake: the answer Romney gave reveals the TRUE core of Mitt Romney. Romney's core impulse is to run to the left of his opponent - that's his comfort zone. Heck, he even ran to the left of Ted Kennedy for crying outloud. If you want to get Romney off his game, force him to have to run to the right; but he's on his turf when it comes to taking the discussion leftward.

Lisa Graas has more, including the response from the Santorum campaign:
Verona, PA – Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed legislation that would prevent the government from forcing religious institutions to provide services against their faith doctrine. Today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he would oppose it. When Mitt Romney had the chance, he forced Massachusetts Catholic hospitals to go against their private beliefs and provide morning after abortion pills to patients. All the candidates are entitled to make misstatements here and there – but this is a much deeper issue.

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: “As Governor, Mitt Romney has a clear record of taking away the freedom of religion. We all know Romney’s liberal record on this, so when he’s asked a question about a bill that would protect our religious freedom – and Romney’s gut reaction is to say he’d oppose it – we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised.”

“On the other hand, Rick Santorum was asked the same question, but he wasn’t confused because Rick Santorum has consistently supported religious freedoms.”

UPDATE #3 (1 March)
New York Daily News: "Mitt Romney accused of flip-flopping on GOP-backed Blunt amendment on contraception".

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