Reader Keith made a great point via e-mail about some of the recent garbage clouding the presidential race:
I think all of this shows that liberals (within the GOP and without) see Mitt as the genuine conservative threat in the race. If they thought he still believed the stuff he said in 1994 they would be the ones trying to hush it up.
I would just add that–as we have said previously–most of Governor Romney’s 1994 platform was quite good. Sure, he’s shifted on abortion. And as for gay rights, I think reader Ryan argues pretty persuasively that the ground around Governor Romney has shifted more than he has:
Romney has always been opposed to discrimination against gays in hiring, in the military, in terms of hospital visitation rights, and more. He still is. He’s always been opposed to gay marriage. He still is. Where’s the flip-flop?
In reality, the only thing that has changed is the political realm’s area of focus. Gay rights in 1994 used to be about the former issues, but almost everyone’s on board with those issues now. In 2007, gay rights is all about gay marriage. (Of course this change of focus now makes Romney sound more opposed to gay rights because gay marriage the one gay right he has always opposed that is now on center stage.)
In light of the above, it is not surprising that Romney in 1994 supported ENDA for gays (Employment Non-Discrimation Act). He now opposes it because of (among other reasons) the flood of litigation it would create. (Isn’t this his only gay rights “flip-flop?”) I suspect Romney’s “change of heart” on ENDA was due mainly to his experience (or battle) with activist judges during his time as Governor. I suspect the activist judges gave him a whole new perspective on ENDA wherein he probably concluded that his continued support for ENDA would eventually undermine his opposition to gay marriage.
In my opinion, this isn’t a flip-flop at all when all factors are considered.