Political Animal


August 05, 2011 2:30 PM The limitless pandering of Mitt Romney

By Steve Benen

I’d love to see a debate between Romney version 2.0 and Romney version 4.0.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has joined Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Sen. Pennsylvania Rick Santorum in signing a [National Organization for Marriage] pledge to oppose same-sex marriage on a number of specific fronts. […]

Romney, Bachmann and Santorum signed on to support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage, to appoint federal judges who don’t see a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and to back the Defense of Marriage Act.

I’ve lost count of the various right-wing interest groups demanding signed pledges, but as near as I can tell, Romney has endorsed nearly all of them.

Despite being a frontrunner, Romney just doesn’t feel nearly confident enough to steer clear of clownish anti-gay pledges like these, even when most of the other candidates haven’t bothered to sign them. Indeed, look at the company the former Massachusetts governor is keeping: Bachmann and Santorum? That’s the wing of the party Romney is comfortable with?

This from a guy who was generally supportive of gay rights during his only tenure in public office?

Some months back, Joe Klein noted, “This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner.” Specifically referencing the former governor, Klein added, “Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage.”

That was in March. Romney seems to be getting worse.

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.


Post a comment
  • st john on August 05, 2011 2:38 PM:

    How about a pledge denying adulterers and fornicators the rights that are being denied homosexuals and same-sex partners? Seems fair to me. It wouldn't knock any of these people out, would it?

  • T2 on August 05, 2011 2:39 PM:

    as I've said before, there is a reason (or two) that Republicans passed over Romney in 2008 to select a highly flawed candidate in John McCain. Understand, "maveric" label aside, McCain is one of the most disliked politicians in either party....and for many very good reasons.
    Yet the GOP tapped McMean and walked away from Romney. They would be happy to do exactly the same this time, except for one simple problem named Rick Perry. The GOP hierarchy will have to swallow real hard, but if the choice is Mitt or Rick/Michelle.....

  • Danp on August 05, 2011 2:40 PM:

    Maybe someone can get him to sign a pledge not to accept money from laundering schemes. I bet he'd sign it.

  • DAY on August 05, 2011 2:45 PM:

    There are just a few thousand GuanoNutz voters who will attend the Iowa straw poll, and that is ALL that matters, Right Now.

    Later, when embarrassing statements and pledges are mentioned, he can simply quote previous members of his party. "That statement is no longer operative." "That was then, this is now". "God has forgiven me, why can't you?"

    And, if that fails, he can turn to a line from Flip Wison: "The Devil made me do it!"

  • Gummitch on August 05, 2011 3:00 PM:

    None of those hard right nutbags is ever going to vote for you anyway, Mittens. To them, you'll always be a RINO. If you stop pandering to them and talk like a person with some sense, you might just end up in the White House.

  • Josef K on August 05, 2011 3:01 PM:

    I'm just waiting for these “vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers" to sign onto a pledge to combat Penguin Lust(!), as identified by that titan of televised religious fundamentalism: Fundamentally Oral Bill*.

    *a timely storyline from Bloom County, circa 1984 or so.

    The worst part is, I could see Bachmann and Rommey doing exactly this if someone presented them with such a pledge.

  • SYSPROG on August 05, 2011 3:10 PM:

    The thing I find most disturbing is they want to 'support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage, to appoint federal judges who don’t see a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and to back the Defense of Marriage Act.' So if the amendment doesn't pass they pledge to only appoint judges that adhere to their right wing agenda whether it's constitutional or not? Didn't we just go THROUGH that?

  • Mitch on August 05, 2011 3:16 PM:

    The one bit of hope that I have for the future is this: the Republican candidates are all worthless. Bachmann doesn't stand a chance in hell of getting votes from any except the most mindless of the Republicans. The rest are all so far off of the radar that they barely count on the national stage. Mitt is the best of the bunch, which just shows you how weak their field is for the election.

    I do not think that he stands a chance of becoming President, between his religion (which will cause major problems with Evangelical Christians) and his utter lack of consistency.

    Most of my Right-leaning independent friends do not like him because of his record as Governor, and his endless flip-flopping.

    My family and friends in my home state of Kentucky (all Tea Party-loving, ultramegasuperChristian, wannabe libertarians) simply hate him, because he is a Mormon and because of his "librul" leadership of Massachusetts. The Republican Party may collapse if he is nominated, due to the judgement of the Religious Right.

    Kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • me4texas on August 05, 2011 3:26 PM:

    Ricky "I'm not Gay" Perry signing this latest pledge would be the ultimate hypocrisy. Those who rail the most against an issue are the ones most guilty.

  • Eeyore on August 05, 2011 3:29 PM:

    I saw a piece on the 'net this morning from one of morning news programs. The talking head was speaking with someone from the National Organization for Marriage and someone from a marriage equality organization. The lead question to the NOM guy was, in short, this:

    If you want to preserve marriage, why not outlaw divorce.

    So why don't Michele, Frothy, T-Paw, and Mittens sign a pledge to outlaw divorce, enact a constitutional ban on divorce, or appoint anti-divorce judges?

  • st john on August 05, 2011 4:42 PM:

    Or, as above, criminalize fornication and adultery...along with divorce (I am thrice divorced, so in big trouble here).

  • John on August 05, 2011 8:25 PM:

    "This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party's banner."

    For once, Joke Line speaks truth to power.

    Does the loathsome Romney have any beliefs at all -- even a single one -- that aren't subject to being thrown away, reversed or otherwise "modified" (on the advice of his sixty three resident attorneys, no doubt) to fit whatever of-the-moment script he thinks will carry him into the White House? The hapless President Muffley in "Dr. Strangelove" had more spine and conviction.

    The thing is, Romney is truly dangerous. With all the other fruitcakes in the race, at least everyone (sane) knows they're crazy or flat out incompetent. If the public decides, in a final moment of suicide, to throw one of those bozos into the White House, the resultant wholesale disaster is at least a forgone conclusion. With a cheap suit like Romney, who's "ethics" seem decided hour by hour depending on who's writing the biggest check, the situation becomes less clear. Does anyone want this charlatan with his finger on The Button? Or negotiating a treaty? Does anyone think that if a nuclear standoff situation happened with, say, China, and a powerful conglomerate of Chinese businessmen promised Mittens a very lucrative post-Presidential career if he "decided properly," he wouldn't sell the country out? (At this point it's debatable whether there will still be a country left in a few years, but still!)

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  • Gov't Mule on August 06, 2011 9:36 AM:

    Steve: that limitless pandering by Slick Willard includes using Jim Crow laws to stop marriage equality from being legally enforced. Per wikipedia on the governorship of mitt romney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governorship_of_Mitt_Romney#Same-sex_marriage)

    "On the first day that same-sex marriages came into effect in Massachusetts, May 17, 2004, Romney instructed town clerks not to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, except for those announcing their intention to relocate to the Commonwealth by requiring the enforcement of the "1913 law" (General Legislation, Part II, Title III, Chapter. 207 (Certain Marriages Prohibited), Sections 11, 12, & 13), which prohibits non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts if the marriage would be void in their home state. The law had not been enforced for several decades. Some legal experts have argued that the original purpose of the legislation was to block interracial marriages and have noted that the law was enacted due to a public scandal over Jack Johnson's interracial marriages. Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly has stated that there in no evidence to support that claim. Those who agree with him claim that the law is meant to respect the laws of other states and has not been enforced simply because there was not reason.

    The Massachusetts legislature in 1913 passed the three laws denying marriage rights to persons domiciled out-of-state who came to Massachusetts to circumvent their own states' anti-miscegenation marriage laws. Romney was criticized for reviving a Jim Crow era piece of legislation that had avoided being nullifed by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision due to it not saying anything about race. However, in March 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared the statute legal under the state's constitution. Romney declared the "ruling is an important victory for traditional marriage". He also stated, "It would have been wrong for the Supreme Judicial Court to impose its mistaken view of marriage on the rest of the country. The continuing threat of the judicial redefinition of marriage, here and in several other states, is why I believe that the best and most reliable way to preserve the institution of marriage is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution."