Since Mitt Romney announced that he would seek the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, the inconsistencies between his current and former political positions have been glaring. Romney’s changing ways became evident at a 2007 press conference, where he, in no uncertain terms, declared his disdain for allowing illegal immigrants to gain legal citizenship in the United States. ‘My view is there should be no advantage for those that are here illegally in pursuing a course of permanent residency,’ Romney said.
However, if you rewind to 2005, you will find a world of difference in his opinion. In response to a question about the then-George W. Bush-backed citizenship pathway proposals, Romney replied, ‘I think those are reasonable proposals.’
Romney’s shifting stance on illegal immigration is not an isolated incident. When the conversation turned to Bush’s 2007 decision to increase the number of troops in Iraq at the Jan. 5 Republican presidential debate, Romney attempted to uphold his position as Bush’s staunchest supporter by noting his constant backing of Bush’s surge.
Oddly enough, Romney had a different outlook on the situation just three months after the surge in January 2007. When asked by ABC News how he would react to the Iraq situation if he were president, he seemed far from demanding more forces immediately. ‘I would certainly sit down with [State Prime Minister of Iraq] al-Maliki as well as his government, plot out a series of milestones, timetables as well [and] measure how well they’re doing,’ Romney said.
Perhaps the most comforting aspect of ‘President Romney’s’ reactions to such issues as illegal immigration and the Iraq War is that they are hypothetical. Romney’s success on the campaign trail is evident in his victories at the Republican presidential debates according to response polls taken by the Drudge Report, Franklin Pierce College and Fox News. However, his failures in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary have left Romney far from the frontrunner of his party.
Unfortunately for Massachusetts, but fortunately for the rest of the country, Romney has governorship experience by which to judge his political expertise. Throughout his term, one issue that Romney has consistently opposed is same-sex marriage. Although Romney’s defeat in prohibiting gay marriage can be chalked up to popular opinion, his reaction to the passage of gay marriage in the state is distressing.
On May 17, 2004, Romney asked town clerks to enforce Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 207, Section 11. Newspapers like the Boston Globe quickly labeled the law as ‘the 1913 law’ in reference to both its year of origin and the last time it was enforced. The law prohibited people from marrying in the state of Massachusetts if the marriage was illegal in their home state, closing Massachusetts’ matrimonial doors to those seeking same-sex marriage as long as it was not legally sanctioned in other states.
Romney’s detractors claim that ‘the 1913 law’ was originally devised to discriminate against interracial couples and appropriated by Romney to discriminate against gays. However, the reason this law is distressing is that if Romney really thought that same-sex marriage was terrible enough to be banned and insulted ‘traditional’ marriage enough to necessitate a constitutional amendment, then why would he choose to protect the citizens of every state except the one he was elected to serve?
Regardless of Romney’s shortcomings, the man knows business. According to the Economist the former ‘His Excellency’ faced a deficit of over $1 billion when he was elected. By the end of his term, the state had a surplus of about $700 million. This was accomplished with reduced state spending, increased fees and relatively little taxation. Such an admirable trait may make a good presidential aide, but not necessarily a good president.
Daniel Johnson is a third-year film and media studies and literary journalism double-major. He can be reached at email@example.com.