The Corner

My Take On The Romney Thing

As you’ll read in the Globe today—and hopefully in NR shortly thereafter–Mike Murphy gave our John J. Miller a rather indelicate quote about Romney’s position on abortion. I tend to agree with the Ron Kaufman read in the Globe piece:

But Ron Kaufman, the Republican national committeeman for Massachusetts and a powerful Washington lobbyist, said he doubted that Murphy was targeting a particular voter bloc. Rather, Kaufman speculated, Murphy was probably saying, undiplomatically, that Romney may oppose abortion, but has kept his word as a governor.

”[I] spent a lot of hours on that campaign three years ago, and on this issue, the governor was focused, disciplined, and consistent that if elected governor, he wouldn’t change one comma on the laws surrounding life,” Kaufman said. ”That was always his answer, and he’s kept his word. He’s not faking anything.”

Romney said he wouldn’t change the laws of Massachusetts on abortion. Love him or hate him for that, he kept his word there. In fact, to the extent that he fought the legislature to the end when they went ahead and decided to change the definition of life during the course of the recent embryonic-stem-cell-research/cloning debate. So if you’re looking for a guy who takes a stand for life when it’s an actual issue before him. That debate wasn’t about abortion, but it showed a respect and understanding for the dignity of human life (despite my disappointment he didn’t go all the way–but even his frozen embryo position served an educational purpose, I thought, as I’ve explained).

Romney, as I’ve maintained, is going to have to get into this more if he wants to run for the White House, but I don’t fault him too much for “faking it” as a pro-choicer if that’s what he did to some extent. He was running in Massachusetts. He was not going to win as a pro-lifer and he was not going to succeed in changing laws in the state. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing lying here–I’m just trying to be realistic about the political realities in the Bay State–and yeah, think conservatives–and pro-lifers–should not discount this guy.) But, you know, when push came to shove and he could take a stand against a radical new state-okayed destruction and production of human life, he put his foot down, against all odds. He lost, but he fought, and put himself on the record pretty clearly–and educated some people in the process (as I’ve said, rarely has a politician spoken so clearly and passionately on the issue). I’ll judge him in the present and future and we’ll see where he goes.

So, anyway, I don’t think the Murphy quote is as big of a deal as it is being made out to be. But, of course, as a loyal team player, I’m always happy when people are taking about us, so I’m not complaining. Though the good governor & co. must love that a positive profile in NR has become a blowout about one ill-advised comment.

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