Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let's ignore his religion, and just focus on Mitt Romney, the person

According to his official biography, Mitt Romney "received his B.A., with Highest Honors, from Brigham Young University in 1971. In 1975, he was awarded an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School." (There's no mention of his childhood, so we'll assume he was unremarkable prior to this.)

From 1978 to 1984, he was a Vice President at Bain & Company, Inc., "a leading management consulting firm." In 1984, Mitt founded Bain Capital, a venture capital and investment company.
Bain Capital helped guide hundreds of companies on a successful course, including Staples, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Domino's Pizza, Sealy, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority. He was asked to return to Bain & Company as CEO several years later in order to lead a financial restructuring of the organization.
A more accurate description might be that he was brought in to replace the scandal-plagued Bill Bain in a time when the company's fortunes were on the wane.

Following an unsuccessful bid for the Massachusetts Senate in 1998, he took over as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee of the 2002 Olympics in 1999, where he "erased a $379 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, galvanized community spirit and oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization just months after the September 11th attacks, leading to one of the most successful Olympics in our country's history." (Yes, he managed to work 9/11 into his biography, too. I think that it's a Republican Party rule.)

In 2002, Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts, where he claims all the usual gubernatorial successes (balancing the budget, better education, decreased unemployment). But he also had some unusual political views, for a Republican.

In a 1994 debate against Ted Kennedy, he stated:
"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it."
His mother, Lenore Romney, as an unsuccessful candidate in 1970 for the US Senate in Michigan, had apparently made similar, if more restrained statements. (Politics, you see, are a family tradition among the Romneys. His father, George Romney was also a politician, as the elected governor of Michigan, failed Presidential candidate and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Nixon.)

With regards to abortion, Mitt Romney stated more recently that he was in a "different place" than he was in 1994 (when he was a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade), and that his view in 1994 was shaped by the abortion-related death of a relative in the 1960s. Apparently, with the additional decade, he gained some perspective, because he is now pro-life, and supports the rights of states to decide whether abortion should be legal. (Except, of course, that he also supports a national ban on abortion. Tricky position, that one.)

His position on gay rights is somewhat nuanced. His campaign platform as governor was fairly clear.
All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation. While he does not support gay marriage, Mitt Romney believes domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship.
But he has since stated that he opposed both gay marriage and civil unions, but supported civil unions if they were the only alternative (except that his support for gay unions has apparently evaporated completely, to the point that in 2006, he requested that a ban on gay marriage be placed on the Massachusetts ballot if the legislature did not vote on the question before going into recess).

And although he has never completely repudiated his 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans expressing his interest in equality, he has not actively supported gay rights in any noticeable way during his political career.

His position on gun control is equally nuanced. Although Romney now states that he "support(s) the right of individuals to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution," and he joined the NRA in August of 2006, that doesn't really match his earlier rhetoric.
In his 1994 US Senate run, Romney backed two gun-control measures strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups: the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales, and a ban on certain assault weapons.

"That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA," Romney told the Boston Herald in 1994. At another campaign stop that year, he told reporters: "I don't line up with the NRA."
And the list goes on and on.

Of course, you have to admire somebody willing to stand up against the Religious Right and tell them that "no President could possibly take orders or even input from a religious leader telling him what to do." On the other hand, he was actually trying to reassure people that they shouldn't worry about the fact that he's openly Mormon, but would that statement relieve James Dobson's mind?

There's more that needs to be mentioned about Mr. Romney, but it's late. I didn't talk about his position on animal rights (which is apparently on top of a speeding car), his continued conflating of Obama/Osama, or his weird record on guns and hunting ("I own a gun... OK, maybe my son owns a gun that he lets me use to go hunting... OK, I hunt but I don't get a license for it, because I mostly shoot varmints and the like.") But let's ignore that for now, and just consider his shifting political stances on... well, on every major political position on record.

In fact, the more you dig into Romney's shifting political stances, the more you have to wonder one thing: Is there a real Mitt Romney, or just a creature of political expediency?

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

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