Normally, if you come down on the side of the right of individuals to make decisions about their lives unencumbered by the state, you’re safe in the GOP – unless, of course, abortions are involved. But we all knew that.
Yesterday Romney was interviewed by a local TV station in Ohio, and appeared to oppose the Blunt-Rubio amendment (which would have allowed ANY employer to deny contraceptive coverage if doing so violated his or her conscience; it was tabled by a mere three votes this morning).
Not so fast.
Romney claims he thought the question was about “some state law that prevented people from getting contraception.” And maybe that’s true. After all, once he realized out that Blunt-Rubio worked, on the federal level, to allow employers to make decisions about their female employees’ reproductive choices, he was all for it.
Just be warned, Mitt – there are those in your party who think states should be able to ban contraception. And not just that crazy dude from Pennsylvania – the crazy dude from Texas, too. You know – the one who does some of your dirty work for you?
Anyway, the point is this: the GOP base is getting crazier faster than Mitt’s fairly prodigious mental abilities can keep up. I’m sure, in a few day, Mitt will have an incredibly polished answer about how his position on contraception has never changed, and how he’s always believed that the rights of individuals trump all others, except for maybe a small group of people with outdated views that even their own religious followers don’t, you know, follow.
Or: all consciences are created equal, but some are more equal than others.
It’s not so much this specific issue (although I can almost see Romney’s favorables with women shrinking in real time), but the danger that every time Mitt Romney makes a reasonable argument that might be broadly popular, he’ll need to repudiate it almost instantly to stay in the GOP base’s good graces.
I used to wonder if Mitt Romney actually knew what he believed. Now I think he actually does know, but those beliefs are subservient to his primary belief, which is, as Sister Susan has put it, that he really ought to be President.
For those of you who think he’ll be more moderate in office than he has shown on the trail so far this year, I’d suggest that his priorities would make him as pliantly conservative as he needs to be to stay cozy with his base. And even if Romney is secretly planning to morph back into the guy he was in the mid-1990’s, a man with a casual relationship to his principles probably shouldn’t be near the White House one way or another.