Friday, December 2, 2011

Washington Post Columnist Kathleen Parker Explains Mitt Romney’s “Sincere” Change on Abortion Rights

A Change that Luckily Coincided With His Presidential Aspirations

As noted here (ad nauseum) the Washington Post employees a number of Conservative columnists in an attempt to curry favor with the Republican party.  One of the better of these is Kathleen Parker who sometimes writes intelligent and thoughtful pieces.  But Ms. Parker is also a Mitt Romney supporter and so uses her space to promote his campaign among fellow Conservatives.

Mitt Romney has changed his position on a number of issues, but the really big one is abortion rights.  While running for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in the 1990’s Mr. Romney was not just for abortion rights, but very strongly, unequivocally for abortion rights.  After being elected Governor of Massachusetts and starting to eye the Presidency Mr. Romney became not just against abortion rights, but very strongly, unequivocally against abortion rights.  Now Ms. Parker explains how this was not a conversion for convenience but a principled decision of Mr. Romney’s after careful consideration.

Romney’s own change of heart evolved not from personal experience but rather from a purposeful course of study.

And how does Ms. Parker know this.  Well it seems she knows and has talked with the gentleman who caused Mr. Romney to change his mind.

I know this because I know the man who instructed him in 2005 on the basics of embryonic life during the stem-cell research debate then taking place in Massachusetts

And she talks about Mr. Romney’s taking the courageous, non popular position on stem cell research

The politically expedient choice was obvious, but Romney took a more thoughtful approach and sought to educate himself before staking out a position. Enter William Hurlbut, a physician and professor of biomedical ethics at Stanford University Medical School. For several hours, Hurlbut and Romney met in the governor’s office and went through the dynamics of conception, embryonic development and the repercussions of research that targets nascent human life. It was not a light lunch.

And somehow out of this conversation Mr. Romney became, magically, anti-abortion rights.

The result of that conversation and others was a pro-life Romney, who kept his campaign promise to honor the state’s democratically asserted preference for abortion choice but also began a personal path that happened to serve him well, at least theoretically, among social conservatives. Was his conversion sincere? No one can know another’s heart, but Hurlbut is convinced that it was.

Wow, here was a man who was heavily committed in one direction, a man of obvious intelligence and education who abandoned his deeply held belief after just one lunch. And in an incredible stroke of good fortune, that change just happened to allow Mr. Romney the ability to make a viable run for the Republican Presidential nomination, a run that would have been precluded had he not changed his position.

Now let’s not be naïve here.  A column like Ms. Parker’s does not just happen.  As a friend of the campaign she would certainly have been given information about how Mr. Romney changed his position and who was involved and be very deftly encouraged to write about it, not to boost Mr. Romney’s campaign of course, but as a public service, you know, getting out the correct story.

It may well be that Mr. Romney is a principled man, a man who does change his position when given new information or when he thinks intensely about the issues.  But with all of Mr. Romney’s changes, every one has been in the direction of making him more acceptable to the ultra Conservative base of the Republican party.  Mr. Romney has not had a single change of position which would demonstrate independence, or integrity in that the change would make him less acceptable to Republicans. 

If Mr. Romney truly placed principles above politics, at least one time in his political career one would find him taking an unpopular position, a position to which the base of the Republican party would object.  That he has never done so can only lead to the conclusion that Mr. Romney’s beliefs are sincere, that is sincere with respect to the idea that he will take any position to further his Presidential ambitions and that both the Republican party and the electorate as a whole are ignorant enough to let him do so.  He may well be correct on that point.

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