Political Animal


June 09, 2011 10:00 AM Romney, climate, and consistency

By Steve Benen

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raised a few eyebrows by sounding half-way sensible about climate change. “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he told a New Hampshire crowd. “It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”

Upon closer inspection, it appears Romney recognizes the problem, but doesn’t actually want to do anything to address it. Still, the fact that he even acknowledged reality in public was a pleasant surprise.

Of course, it’s 2011, and GOP presidential candidates are generally punished, not rewarded, for fleeting moments of sanity. The Washington Post reports today that the “reviews from the right are not positive,” and that Rush Limbaugh, after playing the clip of Romney’s comments, told listeners, “Bye-bye, nomination…. Another one down. We’re in the midst here of discovering that this is all a hoax. The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, and we still have presidential candidates that want to buy into it.”

So, Romney has a problem with his base. That’s not new. What is new is the hilarious spin from the former governor’s campaign team.

“The fact that he doesn’t change his position … that’s the upside for us,” said one Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign. “He’s not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party.”

This quote is about Mitt Romney.

We’re talking about a man who’s practically a flip-flopping legend. Romney has demonstrated a willingness to flip-flop like no other American politician in a generation.

Romney was a pro-choice supporter of gay rights, gun control, and comprehensive immigration reform. He’s reversed course on everything from economic stimulus to health care, the auto-industry rescue to foreign policy.

Mitt Romney is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.

“He’s not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party”? In reality, that’s pretty much the only thing Mitt Romney does.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • Mudge on June 09, 2011 10:14 AM:

    So, Rush says, "The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, ...". I didn't get that memo. Not wrong, hoax. A conspiracy. I have no idea who Rush's authority on this issue is.

  • T2 on June 09, 2011 10:15 AM:

    Sure, lots of people recognize there is a problem with the climate, but doing anything about it would cost Big Corporate and Big Oil money. That is forbidden in the GOP, so we'll not be seeing anything done about it. Each and every GOPer pres candidate that has addressed the issue in a positive way previous to the TeaParty Revolution has retracted their statements and switched to the "it's all just fake science" mentality.

  • Danp on June 09, 2011 10:19 AM:

    Mitt Romney is like a box of chocolates

    OK, you try one first. I'm predicting it's not going to be anything sweet.

  • bleh on June 09, 2011 10:24 AM:

    Mitt Romney recognizes that one thing that is always constant is change. The economy changes, the world changes. Look outside -- the weather changes! And Mitt Romney is not afraid of change! That's why, just like the economy, and like America's role in the world, Mitt Romney's mind also changes. Because he's in tune with change. And America needs change right now. Spare change.

    Mitt Romney: changing for America!

  • stormskies on June 09, 2011 10:26 AM:

    Rush Limbaugh, I would suggest, is a major cause of global warming relative to the amount of methane coming out of his asshole .. err mouth ............

  • c u n d gulag on June 09, 2011 10:28 AM:

    He's such a flip-flopper, that if Romney were an actual Baseball MITT, he'd come with two thumbs, so that he could play either left or right handed, as needed.

  • Matt on June 09, 2011 10:40 AM:

    In reality, that's pretty much the only thing Mitt Romney does.

    And now he's not even consistent about THAT!

  • T2 on June 09, 2011 10:42 AM:

    MSNBC is running a story giving 5 reasons why Michelle Bachmann is a contender. Conspicuously absent from the story is any of her Extreme positions on a wide range of topics. The main point of the story is that she is a TeaParty favorite and will step into the vacuum created if Palin doesn't run....setting aside the fact that TeaPartiers make up a small fraction of the overall electorate. It's on Rick Perry.....if he gets in he takes the TeaParty vote away from Bachmann....but it looks like everyone has decided Palin isn't running.

  • Jon on June 09, 2011 10:43 AM:

    Mitt needed a token issue that he hasn't flip-flopped on. Climate change is an odd choice to stand pat on, but maybe he figures that the base ultimately hates liberals, poor people, gays, colored people, and immigrants more than it hates scientists.

  • kindness on June 09, 2011 10:55 AM:

    I understand why Roger Aisles would love Rush Limbaugh but I can't understand how the other powers of the Republican party don't see they are hurting themselves by allowing the most extreme part of their party dictate the party's positions.

    Sure, the Kochs love it because fossil fuels are their bread and butter but not every Republican is so tied at the waist to pollution. So I don't understand the short term trade offs to the longer term viability.

  • MFA on June 09, 2011 12:43 PM:

    Mitt's flip-flopped on whether he'll flip-flop on this. That frickin' meta.