Political Animal


October 17, 2012 2:44 PM “Moderate” Compared To What?

By Ed Kilgore

I mentioned in the Lunch Buffet post that the Romney campaign is running an ad suggesting that the attacks on Mitt for extremism on abortion are untrue and unfair because there are extremist positions he has not embraced. He’s not, after all, demanding a ban on every single abortion, and he’s not advocating a ban on contraceptives, either.

Nor, I might add, has Romney come out for jailing OB/GYNs who have performed abortions—or pharmacists who have dispensed contraceptives. And if they were being jailed, Mitt Romney’s not on record saying they should be tortured.

Who cares?

The reality is that after his big flip-flop on abortion back in 2006, Mitt Romney has never for a moment wavered in supporting steps to reverse Roe v. Wade and after that find ways to ban the 99.9% of abortions that do not involve rape, incest, or the live of the mother. On contraception, he has made a big deal this year out of categorical opposition to an Obama administration insurance mandate requiring coverage for contraceptive services without copays, and has supported the Blunt Amendment that would give any employer an exemption from the mandate on any stated grounds of religion or morality. So in Romney’s perfect world, you might have a right to buy contraceptives—but no right to have it covered under a standard employer-based health insurance policies. And that’s separate from the murkier question whether Mitt buys the argument his conservative-Catholic and conservative-evangelical allies present that many if not most forms of contraception are actually “abortifacients” that should be excluded from an insurance mandate and eventually banned entirely.

Compared to some wingnuttier folk, Romney may seem “moderate” on these issues. But compared to the status quo, he’s quite the radical, and the landscape for reproductive rights in a Romney administration—which would, by the way, be virtually certain to make the Supreme Court appointment that would tilt the Court into a reversal of Roe—would be very different.

This “not as crazy as I could be” posture for Romney is not limited to reproductive rights. Last night he defended his “self-deportation” position on undocumented workers by reminding voters that, after all, he’s not in favor of putting these folks in cattle cars and sending them south of the border. How moderate of him!

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Fess on October 17, 2012 3:17 PM:

    Did you notice in that ad that the woman says that Mitt doesn't oppose contraception, why he's even OK on abortion under certain circumstances? The problem here is that no one considers abortion a form of contraception. The word itself means to *prevent* a conception. This kind of a screw-up can only come from someone who's never actually given the subject more that a cursory thought.

  • gregor on October 17, 2012 3:28 PM:

    If you preface the title of every post on the Romney campaign this: Another Romney Fib: the rest of the title, that will be very helpful, and will have the added benefit of being completely correct.

  • Ron Byers on October 17, 2012 3:29 PM:

    If you are a personhood supporter you necessarily oppose the pill and the IUD because of the way they work. They cause "abortions" in the first hours after conception.

    Todd Akin and Paul Ryan are the go to Republicans on this issue. They have the courage of their convictions, and if they had a chance they would convict every woman who uses the pill of at least attempted murder.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on October 17, 2012 3:48 PM:

    It doesn't make Romney a moderate on the issue just because he has never explicitly embraced the teapublican extremist stance on family planning. But it does make him a PUSSY*, considering that during the GOP primaries he never took a firm policy stance in opposition to the GOTea. Instead he opted to graciously genuflect before the likes of Limbaugh during the Sandra Fluke tirade. When he was asked to comment, what did he say? "It's not the language I would have used." No, he may not be as extreme as the teapublicans (so he says), but he was too busy trying to court their votes with his "severly conservative" schtick to note his moderation.

    *I hate to confer upon Romney a name that I generally associate with womanly wonderfulness. But in GOP-speak, it's all that is unclean, unholy (irony?), and unmanly. So I use it in the strongest of GOP terms. Just sayin'...

  • Peter C on October 17, 2012 3:59 PM:

    Mitt tried to sound like a "Moderate" on immigration - complaining that Obama said he would 'reform our immigration system' but failed to deliver. But, in 2010, when the house passed the dream act with the support of only 8 Republicans, but was not able to overcome a filibuster in the senate because only 3 Republican Senators supported it. So, 'Moderate Mitt' clutches his pearls and bemoans that Obama couldn't fix a problem when all but 11 Republicans fought tooth and nail to stop him passing the least contraversial portion of it.

  • Mimikatz on October 17, 2012 4:37 PM:

    All women have access to contraception--it's called abstinence. Works in all cases but rape and incest, which is also rape. In addition, as long as there are men and STDs, condoms will be available. So there. That these all require the cooperation of the male partner is not coincidental.

    What women need and want is easy access to safe and effective means of contraception that are und their control, with no need to ask for permission or financial aid. That's what Planned Parenthood provides and why severe conservatives hate it. It's why the ACA provisions are so important. Romney is being duplicitous and weasely as usual.

  • Frankie Gamwell on October 17, 2012 4:49 PM:

    I'm all for contraception coverage in the AHCA but what's this "without copays" stuff. Why shouldn't they pay a standard copay.

  • J-NC on October 17, 2012 5:16 PM:


    It is because contraceptives are considered "preventive care," per the HHS Department. ACA eliminates copays for all preventive care, not just contraception.

  • Mimikatz on October 17, 2012 5:58 PM:

    Of course contraception is preventive care, and preventing childbirth is one way to reduce medical costs, reduce education costs and reduce population pressure on resources in the future. It is something conservatives ought to favor, except that emancipating women through control of their own sex lives is just too upsetting and frightening.

  • Hue and Cry on October 17, 2012 10:01 PM:

    A woman has the absolute requisite right to control her reproductive future as one of her most private and intimate rights~~~ and it is so uncomfortable that Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan *even speak* of that right- which is so very subjective, personal, confidential and precious-- in a country where there is to be separation of church and state.