Romnesia: Misconceptions about Romney's record

Romney is often mocked for being inconsistent. In reality, he has been consistent in a way that would be difficult for most of us. Photo: Josh Reynolds/AP

OHATCHEE, Al., October 21, 2012 Some non-Obama voters are still not convinced that Mitt Romney is conservative enough to earn their vote. Why?

People have been so busy disliking Romney that they’ve forgotten to learn who he is.

It’s easy to sloppily dismiss a candidate without doing thorough research when you want him out of the way so the favorite you have in mind can make it to the top. Ever since the GOP presidential candidate search began, through the era of the never-ending-debates in which contenders argued over who got mentioned in Ronald Reagan’s diary, people have analyzed Romney’s quirks and supposed identity crisis more than his record.

Romney has always been personally pro-life, as his days of pro-life counseling in his church in the early 1990s testify. The Stericycle garbage (no pun intended) promoted by some left-wing media outlets has been debunked.

However, like many Americans, Romney was uncertain about the role government should play in the abortion debate, and thus for awhile was politically pro-choice, accepting Roe v. Wade as the law of the land that had to be acknowledged until the Supreme Court decided otherwise.

When Romney became governor, he fully realized the limited authority he had on the matter.

In 2005, Romney vetoed a bill that would authorize an abortifacient drug even without parental consent. “Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor,” Romney explained in an editorial.

“I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it…I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife…Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state’s democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.”

That is the way a chief executive speaks.

Dr. John Willke, “known as the founder of the pro-life movement” endorsed Romney for president in 2007, saying “Governor Romney has a record of action in defending life.”

Still, some are deterred from Romney due to his belief in the legal abortion exceptions for rape and incest along with the standard exception for the life of the mother. While I and Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan agree that those exceptions are illogical, opposing Romney because of this is just as illogical.

Do you refuse to use a disinfectant that kills 99% of germs because it doesn’t kill 100%?

Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen recently addressed Christians on Facebook, saying, “if you are not voting because Romney was not your first choice, or you’re not voting because of his stand on exceptions for abortion: have you forgotten that he has pledged to protect 99% of the unborn? I wish he could see the wisdom in protecting all, and maybe he soon will. But to sit home, insisting on our own way, throwing away a vote that has been dearly paid for, or writing in something akin to ‘Mary Poppins’ might make your point, but you will also help to ensure the slaughter of millions of children, and other innocents.”

ABORTION SURVIVOR SUPPORTS ROMNEY: Gianna Jessen, pro-life activist and musician, survived a saline abortion 7 1/2 months old in the womb. (GiannaJessen.com)

But what about Romneycare? Chances are most everything you have heard about Romneycare is inaccurate.

To make the long, complicated story of health care reform in Massachusetts short, the legislation that served as a model for Obamacare and is currently being implemented in the Bay State is not the legislation Romney worked to enact and execute.

To deal with the mess Massachusetts was in after previous reform efforts, the Democratic state legislature thought more government intervention was the solution, while the Romney administration tried to balance this with market alternatives.

“Governor Romney was not responsible for a comprehensive health-care scheme that is in any way comparable to Obamacare,” writes Mario Loyola, director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies Texas Public Policy Foundation.  “He was trying to fix the problems created by a scheme that was comparable to Obamacare, namely the ill-advised 1996 reforms.”

NOT WHAT YOU THINK: Romney’s conservative contributions to Massachusetts health care reform were rejected by the Democratic legislature. It was their preferred implementations and other schemes preceding them that inspired Obamacare. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Romney vetoed eight provisions of the healthcare bill, including the employer mandate, non-citizen immigrant coverage, a powerful bureaucracy known as the Public Health Council, and limitations on improving Medicaid.

The only individual mandate Romney had in mind required the purchase of catastrophic medical insurance similar to the automobile insurance requirement (and he supported a mandate escape).

Romney’s vetoes were easily overridden by the 85% Democratic legislature, which along with the succeeding Democratic administration of Deval Patrick expanded the healthcare plan to suit their ideology.

As governor, Romney had to work with both a liberal legislature and a liberal judiciary. When the courts legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts, Romney opposed it, “making the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician,” according to Maggie Gallagher, then president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

Romney was concerned about the generational effects redefining marriage would have on children, but knew the limits of his role as an executive.

“We need an amendment,” he testified before U.S. Congress, “that restores and protects our societal definition of marriage, blocks judges from changing that definition and then, consistent with the principles of federalism, leaves other policy issues regarding marriage to state legislatures.”

Romney is often mocked for being inconsistent. In reality, he has been consistent in a way that would be difficult for most of us. 

Imagine a Democrat governor elected in a state that is 80% Republican who then proceeds to pander to the liberal desires of 20% of the state that shares his party. We would label him a tyrant.

Yet Romney as a Republican governor made some concessions (without much of a constitutional choice) to the liberal electorate he served and we dismissed him as unprincipled.

Do you see what we have done to this man?

The liberal Democrats we will always have with us, and at least Romney knows how to deal with them in their native language. He has yet to experience being a chief executive with even a remotely conservative legislature!

Governing the most liberal state in the union (beyond Reagan’s California), Romney was submerged in the toxic political atmosphere that spawned the likes of Barney Frank, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and this year, Elizabeth Warren. But rather than submit to becoming a liberal or retreat as an ineffectual conservative martyr, Romney chose to offer his executive skills to the state of Massachusetts in the strict role of governor – without drawing a salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was at 5.6 when Romney came to office, and dropped to 4.6 by the end of his term.

Romney wanted to serve his state as best he could, and he did well, including annually balancing the budget and gaining a surplus without raising taxes (his tax cuts were rejected by the legislature).

Romney may not have been many conservatives’ first choice. Ironically, he may very well be their best choice for the presidency at this dire moment in history. 

This concludes the second article of the pamphlet ofStrain out a gnat and swallow a camel: How reverse statism endangers the republic“.

The first article was But Mitt Romney’s a Mormon! (Fear not)“.

The third article will explore third-partyism in America.

 

Amanda Read is a political columnist for the Communities at The Washington Times. A professional writer and researcher, Amanda is also a Christian homeschool graduate, unconventional college student, military daughter, and eldest of the nine Read children at Fair Hills Farm. Find more of her work at www.amandaread.com.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Amanda Read

Amanda Read is a columnist for the Communities at The Washington Times. Trained as a historian, skilled as a writer, and aspiring to be a filmmaker, Amanda investigates the ideas behind contemporary culture and politics. A professional writer and researcher, she is also a Christian homeschool graduate, unconventional college graduate, military daughter, and eldest of the nine Read children at Fair Hills Farm. Find more of her work at www.amandaread.com

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