Everyone knows that Mitt Romney is a shameless flip-flopper -- but lately he's begun to perfect a sort of insta-flip-flop. These Romney insta-flops seem less like position changes than fake position changes, which are then walked back, and perhaps portrayed as slips of the tongue. I'm not fooled -- in each case, he's trying to seem moderate to non-right-wing audiences without really being all that moderate, and without horrifying and alienating his purist right-wing base.
Back in August, Romney ventured out of his conservative-media bubble and gave an interview to a non-Fox TV journalist -- Scott Pelley of CBS News. He told Pelley this about his abortion position:
"My position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said. "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother."However, that's not true: throughout the campaign he'd never said he supported the health exception, which greatly offends right-wingers (including his running mate). Almost immediately afterward, a campaign spokesperson said that no, he doesn't support the health exception. But he'd gotten that out there to a mainstream audience, which was all that counted, right?
A couple of weeks later -- again on a non-Fox TV broadcast, Romney said this:
"I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place,” he said on NBC's "Meet The Press. "One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like."But within hours, there was this:
In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney's position and that "in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features."And this:
[Romney's] campaign later told TPM he wasn't signaling a shift in policy and was instead referring to his existing stance in favor of protections on preexisting conditions only for those with continuous insurance coverage -- not for first-time or returning buyers.And now we come to the most recent example, which concerns immigration. On Monday, he suggested to The Denver Post that he was going to leave the Obama immigration policy as it stands regarding undocumented young people:
Young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the United States under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama would not be deported under a Mitt Romney administration, the GOP presidential hopeful told The Denver Post Monday.But, um, an asterisk goes with that, too, as we learn today:
"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," Romney said.
Mitt Romney would not revoke temporary deportation exemptions granted to young illegal immigrants under an executive action by President Obama, but he also would not issue new protective documents if elected.****
These aren't accidents. These aren't slip-ups. They're deliberate attempts to deceive voters outside Romney's base. It's time we noticed that this is a pattern of behavior on Romney's part. It's time the press called him on it.