[Political Morning After] In the few hours since Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race, a seasoned politician I know recounted to me a conversation he had a year ago with Don Stirling, one of Romney's early campaign consultants.
Stirling was ticking off a list to this politician of tactics the Romney camp planned on using to make over Romney's image as moderate Massachusetts governor to stalwart conservative intent on winning the presidency.
Stirling mentioned how the team would help Romney redo his positions on some of this country's biggest hot-button moral issues, namely, abortion, stem cell research and gay rights.
The politician tells me he advised Stirling it would not work. Particularly on the matter of abortion. Romney had taken a pro-choice position in his campaign for governor and while in office; suddenly and voila!, after his announcement to run for president, he was solidly pro-life.
"There is never a way to change a position on abortion and come out ahead in a race," the politician says he told Stirling. "Once you make a public statement on your position, that's it. If you change your mind, the people who first supported you will not forgive you. And the people you're trying to win over will never fully trust you."
So, as I'm listening today and scrambling around for online posts about what exactly happened to the Romney juggernaut, those words make a heap o' sense. Romney fans are blaming Mike Huckabee for undermining Romney with his cheap shots toward Mormonism. Here in Utah, especially, Romney supporters would like to paint the end as the result of--what else--persecution against Mormons.
It it were only that simple. The fact is, Romney never was working from a firm philosophical foundation, and he couldn't build a whole political platform on ethical sand. We are suckers in America, and we fall for glitz and show and yep, lies. But this time, most Americans saw Romney as the unabashed political chameleon he is. They wanted none of it. (Holly Mullen)