Which is why after months of quiet — or at least anonymous — stewing that Romney was brazenly taking shots at McCain’s conservative credentials, Jones and others were delighted to see their candidate use the Fox News-sponsored debate to throw an elbow in the direction of the smooth talker who, they loved to point out, was until fairly recently a conventional New England moderate.
In point of fact, I like Jonathan Martin (who wrote that) a great deal. He’s probably my favorite reporter covering ’08. But it’s just not accurate to say Governor Romney governed in Massachusetts as a “conventional New England moderate.” That is a myth, spawned by months and months of factually-challenged attacks, mostly from the very same leftists who were utterly outraged when Governor Romney undertook the conservative reforms he did–but now pretend they never happened. Even worse, reporters like Martin and, more importantly, voters, are starting to believe the myth that Governor Romney is some kind of Lincoln Chafee or Jim Jeffords wearing a Reagan mask. But the truth is that Governor Romney–well, let me just quote from EFM’s founding principles:
He was elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic state and went on to cut spending, reform taxes, and enact a revolutionary, market-based health care plan. And he accomplished those things while simultaneously fighting intense political battles over some of the most controversial social issues of the day. Gov. Romney led Massachusetts out of the economic wilderness at the same time that he held the line on same-sex “marriage,” opposed Democratic efforts to dramatically expand embryonic stem cell research, and resisted attempts to expand abortion services in the state.
More from that same page:
Gov. Romney does not just say he supports traditional marriage; he has defended traditional marriage at great political cost. In 2003, through a breathtaking act of judicial activism, Massachusetts’ supreme court imposed same-sex “marriage” on the state. If not for Gov. Romney’s swift intervention, this action may have led to a national constitutional crisis. Same-sex couples from across the U.S. could have come to Massachusetts, gotten “married,” and then demanded that their home states honor the “marriages”—creating a national wave of litigation and conflicting decisions from state to state. Instead, Gov. Romney and his staff vigorously enforced a little-known 1913 law that prevents out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would be illegal in their home state, keeping Massachusetts from becoming, as he called it, “the Las Vegas of ‘gay marriage.’” He followed this stand with a dynamic and articulate response to Democratic efforts to dramatically expand embryonic stem cell research.
Yes, I know. He’s a convert on the abortion issue. We’ve addressed that many times. Yes, I know, he joined the NRA after he was governor–but he also worked with the NRA and Massachusetts’ gun-rights group while in office. And yes, I know, he’s changed in other ways since 1994, and even since 2002, just as Senator McCain, Senator Thompson, Mayor Giuliani, and every other reasonable person in the world have. And it’s fine to acknowledge that. But to say he did not govern as a conservative on a whole host of key issues–including immigration, marriage, and yes, even abortion–is ridiculous.
There’s more on the actions Governor Romney took in office on our “Issues” page. I’d also commend to your attention the open letter from pro-life and pro-family leaders in Massachusetts. And I’m glad to see that after months of stuff so utterly annoying that–well, I’d probably have to call Congressman Boehner to get you a good word for it–the campaign is hitting back in a big way too.