Saturday, February 12, 2011

Is Romney the Anti-Palin?

He's certainly no Reagan Conservative
That's what his supporters at CPAC are saying. We don't think so. Sarah Palin is the anti-Obama, so the anti-Palin spot is already occupied by default. But the contrasts between the two former governors could not be more sharply defined than by their relative positions on three key issues:

Romney says that his views on abortion have "evolved and deepened." He was for it before he was against it. His changing stances on the issue are chronicled here.

Sarah Palin has always opposed abortion. Period. As Deacon Keith Fournier wrote at Catholic Online in 2008, "Sarah Palin is a woman who lives what she proclaims. She is truly pro-life."
Second Amendment:
As on life issues, Romney's position on Second Amendment matters has evolved.

Sarah Palin has always been a strong defender of the Second Amendment. She is a lifetime NRA member who has been honored by that organization. As governor, she signed Alaska on to a multi-state amicus brief authored by the State of Texas in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.
Reagan Conservatism:
Romney tried to distance himself from Ronald Reagan before he praised him. Byron York recalled the debate between Romney and Sen. Ted Kennedy during the 1994 Senate campaign: "In the debate, Kennedy tried to portray Romney as a turn-back-the-clock conservative, and Romney took exception, essentially disavowing Reagan." The former Massachusetts governor sings quite a different tune now.

Sarah Palin is a solid Reagan Conservative, and she has always been so. That's why the Young Americas Foundation chose her, above all others, to keynote the opening banquet of its recent Reagan 100 Celebration. Andrew Coffin, Vice President and Director of the Reagan Ranch Center, wrote of Gov. Palin on her visit to the ranch, "Everything about the Ranch reflects the great American, and, particularly, western ideals that Ronald Reagan cherished: hard work, responsibility, stewardship of the land, freedom, and opportunity. It was clear on Friday that Governor Palin is a leader cut from the same cloth—it is these great western ideals, and the way they could be seen at the Ranch in small but telling details, that she viscerally connected with. And I have to admit, it was fun to see up close how genuine that connection was."
In each of these three examples, the difference is consistency. Sarah Palin has been remarkably consistent and principled in her beliefs, whereas Mitt Romney seems to have modified his stance to appeal to different political constituencies. While it's somewhat encouraging to see him move away from the left on some key issues, we find the ease with which he has done it to be more than just a little opportunistic. We're reminded of the famous quote, first attributed to the famous Presbyterian minister (and twice Chaplain of the U.S. Senate) Peter Marshall, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

Romney many not be the anti-Palin, but it's clear that he's no Ronald Reagan... nor is he in any way the Reagan conservative that Sarah Palin has proven herself to be.

- JP

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