Via TPM's Benjy Sarlin comes this devastating five-minute video of Mitt Romney railing against the dangers of politicians with shifting policy views. Only this was in 2004, when Romney was just the moderate governor of a liberal state, not the wannabe presidential candidate who would say whatever it takes to earn his party's nomination.
At the 2004 Republican Convention, Romney addressed the Iowa delegation and used the main GOP talking point to attack the Democratic candidate John Kerry as a politician with no inherent beliefs, one who shifts with the winds of the political moment. "This guy is different than you've experienced before. … I've tried to think why it is that he has changed so often," Romney said, "why he finds it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue, instead sort of floats between both issues—between both sides of things."
To recap, here are just a few of the issues where Romney has been on both sides since he ran his first political campaign in 1994: He was for an individual mandate when it came to Massachusetts (and was proud enough to include the bill in his official painting) but sees similar legislations as a scourge to the nation when it's passed by a Democratic president. He opposed abortion when he worked for the Mormon church, shifted to a pro-choice stance when running against Ted Kennedy for the Senate, and is pro-life now that he wants the votes of Iowa's evangelical conservatives. Just in the span of one week he attended a phone-banking operation for Ohio's Issue 2, ostensibly supporting the cause to restrict collective bargaining, said he did not in fact endorse the law, and then quickly changed his mind after he was criticized by the conservative media. He's even been inconsistent on his own name.
His actions are clearly those of a politician who lacks much in the way of core convictions but rather attunes his message to what he believes is the best strategy for winning office. And in his 2004 attack on Kerry, it is clear that Romney is well acquainted with the psychology of the wandering politican. “For those that don’t understand how he can be so vacillating," Romney said, "it stems from that fact that he’s very conflicted, that he is drawn in two different directions, very powerfully. If he’s with an audience, he wants to identify with and satisfy that audience and will say what he thinks they want to hear. And if that audience, for instance, is on one side of an issue he’ll follow that, on another, he’ll follow another.”
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