Another Day, Another Romney Betrayal

Another Day, Another Romney Betrayal October 30, 2012

Romney Surrogate Sends Loud and Clear Message Only Delusional Prolifers Can Fail to Hear:

Yesterday, former Republican Senator Norm Coleman told a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Ohio that when it comes to Roe v. Wade, pay no attention to those men in black robes. “President Bush was president eight years, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed,” Coleman said. “It’s not going to be reversed.”

If you believe one ounce of Romney’s bushwah about his “conversion” to a “prolife” position you deserve every bit of the disappointment that awaits you. The entire message of his campaign is “I have to say this prolife crap to satisfy my base, but don’t worry. I don’t really mean it.”

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  • rachel

    Yep, that’s about right :(. I have tried to point this out to several conservative, pro-life Catholics including my own dad and they refuse to see it. To them, the choice is “clear” that Romney is “pro-life” and therefore they will vote for Romney. They see this as a very grave matter, life and death. For me, I’m done with it. What ever happens is God’s will. If Obama is re-elected then Deus Vult. If Romney is elected, Deus Vult. I will not vote for either one.

  • Bobby G
    Hey, I agree that Romney is a very wiggly fish, but Norm Coleman’s comment says more about Coleman than Romney. He’s obviously trying to temper Romney’s clear statements about what he will do as President vis a vis life issues (more clear and concrete that just about any of his positions) by a little rhetorical misdirection. And I’m not saying I approve of it or that it doesn’t reflect poorly in an indirect way on Romney. But he’s essentially telling them even though Romney will be, (however imperfectly), a ‘pro-life’ president, he won’t be able to get Roe overturned. And he says it in a way that allows those who are willing to go along with that idea to fill in the gaps such that they can sooth their own ‘consciences’ when they vote for Romney.
    The title of this blog post is similarly misleading. Romney did not change his current position and, in fact, he did not even himself issue a statement as the title suggests.
    To which standard do you think Romney will be held, the written statement he made himself, or comments made by Norm Coleman to a Jewish group?

    I will hold my nose and vote for Romney not because I think he is pro-life, but because I think he will have no choice but to govern in a FAR more pro-life way than Obama has (and more pro-marriage, and less anti-religious freedom). Obama has been the most anti-life president in history. He has been thuggish in his protection of planned parenthood. He has to go.

    Deus Vult though. Amen to that!

    “These hidden dynamos of prayer, the cloistered men and women, are doing more for our country than all its politicians, its labor leaders, its army and navy put together; they are atoning for the sins of us all. They are averting the just wrath of God, repairing the broken fences of those who sin and pray not, rebel and atone not. As ten just men would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah, so ten just saints can save a nation now. But so long as a citizenry is more impressed by what its cabinet does than by its chosen souls who are doing penance, the rebirth of the nation has not yet begun. The cloistered are the purest of patriots. They have not become less interested in the world since leaving it; indeed, they have become more interested in the world than ever before. But they are not concerned with whether it will buy and sell more; they care-and desparately care-whether it will be more virtuous and love God more.”
    – Venerable Fulton J Sheen

    • Mark Shea

      A “pledge” from Romney is absolutely totally and completely worthless. The *only* thing Romney can be counted on to do is the expedient thing for gaining and maintaining power. He is a complete moral void. Roll the dice, take your chance if you feel you must on the theory that, in his utter cynicism, he has no principles and so might accidently do the right thing in response to prevailing winds. But for the love of heaven stop appealing to his latest “pledge” or promise as though it is worth a tinker’s damn. Or at least, have the grace not to be surprised and hurt when he stabs you in the back. Coleman’s purpose is to signal Romney’s real intention while Romney maintains the fakery for the benefit of prolife suckers who insist on lying to themselves.

      • Irenist

        I’m not voting for Romney, either, and don’t trust a word he says. But I do think that he will find it expedient, if elected and then given the chance to appoint a SCOTUS justice, to appoint an anti-Roe justice. Stalin was a far worse man, but FDR and Churchill could trust him to fight Hitler as hard as they were, because fighting Hitler was expedient for Stalin. Even (and especially) a liar can be trusted to further his own self-interest as he sees it. Again, not that I’m voting for Romney, just that I think the versions of that argument I’ve read from other commenters here are reasonable and honorable, so I thought I’d stick up for them.

        • Irenist

          Wow. Really needed to close the italics on “Roe” there. Sorry about that.

      • Bobby G

        Yes, I will roll the dice in the Pres election and then continue to support front line pro-life activities on the ground where I live. I will not be surprised or hurt ‘if’ he ‘stabs me in the back’. I’m curious (actually sincerely curious – not looking to win debate points) if you can point to a similar pledge that Romney has violated. I am skeptical of all politicians and the best I ever hope for is that they will be ‘forced’ to honor ‘pledges’ they make to various groups like the SBA List. Yes, he may make a political calculation that he can get away with not fulfilling the promise made in his statement. In the aggregate however, I prefer the moral void of Romney, guided by prevailing winds, to the viscerally anti-life (and anti-family and anti-religion) Obama. Really though, voting for President is the minimum one can do to be involved in ‘the process’. Of course, we must vote according to our hopefully well-formed consciences but I do believe that the general election presidential choice is a binary one. Given the actions and stated ambitions of the 2 candidates, I will simply vote Romney and direct my energy toward prayer and pro-life work rather than agonize over the relative value of rejecting the binary choice and not voting.

  • Bobby G

    And, ironically the left is trying to say the real Romney is a crazed, misogynist, zealously pro-life, religious nut.
    “Indeed, Romney was so agitated about the matter that he confronted Sheldon’s parents about her decision as well. According to R. B. Scott, author of the insightful Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics, Romney’s only concern was for the unborn fetus.”

    What he is is an ideological shape-shifter who has painted himself into a nominally pro-life position that is far better that that of the current administration.

  • Irenist

    I’m much more sanguine about the odds that Ginsburg or Breyer might retire and that Romney would appoint an Alito-esque justice to appease his base, thereby making the overturning of Roe a real possibility. The hitch that’s been bothering me lately is this: if Roe were to be overturned, and the abortion issue were to be returned to the states, then abortion would remain legal in California, New York, and other blue states, and thus also legal within driving distance of most red states. I’ve seen many estimates that say that the rate of pregnancies ending in abortion would drop (which of course is a huge deal even if only one life is saved) but not by much. One estimate is that the nationwide abortion rate would only drop from 19.6% of pregnancies to 16.7%. Only Congressional legislation or a constitutional amendment could drop it further than that. Even if abortion were banned, though, I imagine we’d just see more trips to Canada, just as Irishwomen seeking abortions travel to the U.K. In other words, while I don’t deny that overturning Roe is necessary, it will prove to be completely insufficient if we don’t build up a culture of life in this country such that abortion is not just illegal, but unthinkable. For that, we need not politics, but discipleship.

    • Michael in ArchDen

      Irenist, are you familiar with the work of Justice For All? They are a ecumentical group that is committed to, as you say, making abortion “unthinkable” rather than illegal. Link here:

      • Ted Seeber

        I really want to know what they mean by “without compromise”.

      • Ted Seeber

        Ok, I ordered the book, and I want to thank you for posting this. This will help my marriage.

        • Michael in ArchDen

          You are welcome, Ted. Sending prayers for you and your wife.

  • What a shame that there’s a lot more discussion of Coleman than of Mourdock. Coleman’s tacking close to the electoral sweet spot in his state, a quintissentially “moderate” GOP tactic. Mourdock swallowed hard and right before the election very publicly staked out a pro-life stand that is both close to the Catholic position and a horrible tactical risk in terms of politics. He’s a pro and he decided for the truth and for honestly laying out his position. If he gets elected, laying things out as Mourdock has will improve the prospects of the pro-life cause because by speaking of his beliefs openly prior to the election, he will have created a mandate to pursue those policies in the Senate.

    Prior to the brouhaha Romney endorsed Mourdock and cut a commercial for him. This sort of action is the stuff that the left uses to toss brickbats at Romney on life issues. Shouldn’t Romney at least get credit for what he’s doing right as well as the deserved drubbings when he does something wrong?

    • Mark Shea

      Bravo to Romney for supporting Mourdock until Mourdock’s integrity made him a political liability and he cut him loose and struggled to distance himself from him, sending surrogates like Coleman out to reassure everyone that he doesn’t mean any of that crap he tells his base.

      How’s that?

      • Funny, I just did a quick search for the word Mourdock in your link and didn’t find it, nor Richard or Indiana. I did independently find a lefty Huffington Post story that confirmed that Romney still supported Mourdock, did not ask Mourdock to pull the Romney ad, but reiterated that the Romney position on abortion (rape and incest exception) hadn’t changed and didn’t match Mourdock. Normal people don’t call that distancing in the political field. That’s just agreeing to disagree, one of the many ways you assemble the political sausage called legislation and get it passed by a majority.

        This is incredibly weak tea in terms of “distancing” activity as it is generally used in the political field.

        Again, I do not agree with Romney on this issue. He does not take the Catholic position. But he *is* willing to work with and support those who do take a stronger stand. When Romney acts correctly, he should be as praised with the same enthusiasm the brickbats come at him when he acts incorrectly. I’m detecting a certain asymmetry in begrudging a bit of praise.

        I’m not sure you’ve even covered Mourdock’s full frontal reveal (in a late election debate no less) of a strong, decent pro-life position. If you have, give a link because I missed it and would like to read it.

        • Mark Shea

          Oh. That’s because you looked in the wrong link. In this link, I’m simply pointing out what is obvious: that Romney cares about abortion insofar as it affects his will to power and not one ounce more.

          • There are a certain number of your posts that I skip due to the title. That was one of them. Thanks for pointing it out so I could read it.

            Currently, US popular opinion on abortion and US policy on abortion are mismatched. We have more abortion legal in this country than the majority would like to be legal. Any opportunist politician can see that on net they can add votes to their total by restricting abortion and eliminating the mismatch. Anybody who believes this mismatch exists and that Romney is a crass opportunist is logically compelled to also believe that Romney will take advantage of this electoral dynamic to his personal benefit. Romney will, for his own reasons and to his own benefit, move abortion policy towards life vs current policy.

            If I were to assume that you saw this too and yet still campaigned against Romney, you would be acting as an all or nothing activist in a political arena where your cause would make it far more likely that you would get nothing on abortion, saving no lives, when saving some lives, perhaps even a considerable number, could be had for the price of a vote.

  • Has anyone found a version of the larger context of hist statements? So far, every link I’ve followed goes back to the same piece, and it stops right after this. He’s clearly saying something, and in the process of saying something, when the clip ends. I’m not saying he’s doing anything other than what is mentioned above, though depending on where you are pro-life-wise, it does seem that interpretations differ (as Bobby G points out above). Still, before I march forward, I would prefer to see the comment in context, knowing how a cut off statement can really mean something entirely different when put in its place.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    It’s a “tinker’s dam”. A small dam of tin and lead built up to hold solder in place back in the days before electric irons. Tinkers, or Irish Travelers, get their name from the job of mending damaged tin pots, aka tinkering.

  • FdS

    Hey Mark,

    It’s hard to argue that this is a betrayal when Romney was never really much of a pro-lifer in the first place! Instead, it’s just more of what he’s always been — someone who tries to plays both sides of the issue and who tailors his message to his audience. So what would he do as president? Who knows?

    But just as Republican True Believers deceive themselves into thinking Romney is authentically pro-life, I think you’re too quick to conclude that he is somehow an agent of the pro-aborts. (You’ll note that the article you have linked to makes precisely the opposite point.) In reality, as has been the case throughout his whole career, he’ll probably be with us about half the time, against us about half the time, depending on his needs of the moment. He’ll never go one way or the other, though, because he knows his interests are best served by keeping his position in play.

    So, are we willing to settle for half the loaf over 100%-against-us Obama? Mercifully, I live in a bright blue state where my vote is utterly irrelevant. I can happily back some third-party yahoo. But if I lived in a swing state, I’d consider “sucks less” a pretty compelling argument — especially when the alternative is “sucks massively.”

    • Ted Seeber

      An argument in case Obama wins:

      The Church is best at times when it is most oppressed. Nothing speaks for a cause better than martyrdom.

      • Having lived in a section of the Church that within living was a martyred Church, I can say with confidence that martyrdom, at least organizationally, is overrated. Its distortive effects are seldom examined and can long outlast the persecution.

  • FdS

    On second thought, a better description of O would “sucks absolutely.”

  • Richard Johnson

    I can see where this logic is heading. Fast forward to some Presidential election in the next 20 years. We’ll have the Democrats putting up their usual pro-abortion, anti-religion candidate. Meanwhile the GOP, having seen just how little backbone the religious pro-life voter has, will put up a candidate (likely a governor who was moderately pro-abort while in the statehouse) whose pro-life credential is their verbal support for mandatory counseling prior to an abortion.

    Pro-life Republicans will hail this candidate as being “far better than the Democrats, who have absolutely no regard for life whatsoever”. Those who question this candidate’s commitment and record will be told to hold their nose and vote GOP, otherwise you get “their lizard”.

    And once again, pro-life Christians of all stripes will, for the most part, fall in line. Why? Because we are sheep and we operate out of fear.

    Meanwhile, the GOP (and Democrats) will have perfected torture and essentially removed it from discussion. They will have thousands more on death row (those who they actually bother to put into the legal system and not just “dissapear”) and will continue their policy of blaming the poor for being poor.

    And thus the beat goes on. After all, what are our choices? Voting third party is a waste of our vote, and goodness knows we cannot afford to waste that vote, can we?

    • Mark Shea

      The day will come when prolife Christians will be urging us to support the GOP because, while they do command we offer sacrifices to Divvus Caesar, they still allow us to worship (quietly, in our homes, for half an hour each week). Unlike the intolerant Dems who only let us worship for 15 minutes. We in the Age of Self-Esteem have a lot less self respect than ancient Christians.

      • FDS

        For the record, I voted 3rd party in ’08 and, living in CA, I’ll likely do the same this year. I also pushed (unsuccessfully) for a solidly pro-life candidate in the primary. But if you live in a swing state, a vote for Mitt now is the best way to defeat a tyrant who has declared war on the Church. Does that make him an ideal, or even a good, candidate? No, but “stopping a tyrant who has declared war on the Church” does seem to qualify as a “proportionate reason” to vote for him, no?

        • Richard Johnson

          Which tyrant? The one who declared war on the Church in Massachusetts when he was governor, or the one who declared war more recently from the White House? And what assurances do we have that the first tyrant will change his ways when he gets into the White House? His word???

          • FdS

            Yep. Tyrant #1 says he won’t persecute the Church. He may well be lying, of course, but then again, maybe not. And that, seems like a safer bet than Tyrant #2, who has made Church persecution THE centerpiece of his campaign.

            It’s a crappy situation we’re in, no doubt about it. But shouldn’t we take whatever small steps we can to (possibly) minimize the damage?

    • I’ll keep saying this until I’m blue in the face. Work the roots of the organization and what will rise up will be healthier nominees. Richard Mourdock is not a johnny come lately republican. He’s an organization man and a testament to the work of Indiana pro-life.

      If you don’t want to see the dystopian future you describe, don’t go to sleep after the election but rather find out who your committeemen are and evangelize them into the pro-life cause if they aren’t there already. If they are not persuadable, replace them. Work up the hierarchy in the party and you’ll find that the moderates simply fade away as strong primary choices for the Presidency.

  • LV

    2 points:

    -Bush’s 2 nominations replaced one anti-Roe vote (Rehnquist) and one pro-Roe vote (O’Connor) with two presumably anti-Roe votes (Roberts and Alito). That’s a net pickup of one anti-Roe vote, essentially reversing the net pickup of one pro-Roe vote during Clinton’s terms (Ginsburg in place of White) and still leaving the Court with the aftermath of “Robert Bork’s America”–Kennedy and Souter–one vote away from overturning Roe.

    (In that regard, we’ve been relatively lucky the last four years. Obama has had two Supreme Court nominations, both of which were replacing pro-Roe votes–Stevens and Souter–with other pro-Roe votes–Sotomayor and Kagan–leaving the Court still one vote away from overturning Roe. If Obama is re-elected, we’re unlikely to be so fortunate again.)

    -The article you link to draws the exact opposite conclusions from you, both on the question of what Romney’s positions would be and on the question of whether the pro-life movement gained anything during the Bush years.

    That’s not to say that they’re right and you’re wrong–it IS an article in Salon, after all–but take that for whatever it’s worth.