Without having compared the hardcover to the paperback myself, I’m duty-bound to add a question mark to the headline. But his spokesman is quoted in the piece and didn’t push back hard against the allegation, so I assume it’s a fair cop.
On what planet does he gain more by doing this than he loses?
In the original hardcover, Romney tried to carefully distinguish between the Massachusetts [health-care] law and the national version that was nearing passage as he wrote.
But the Massachusetts model has become Romney’s bête noire among conservatives, who loathe the national reform they call “Obamacare.” The rewritten paperback swings much harder, proclaiming that “Obamacare will not work and should be repealed,” and “Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states.”
Other additions in that section blame the Massachusetts legislature for altering his plan, and the current Democratic administration of Governor Deval Patrick for botching the implementation.
Asked about the changes, Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesperson for Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC, responded by e-mail: “The book was originally written in the months immediately following President Obama’s inauguration. A lot has occurred over the last two years, and these updates reflect those happenings.”
That’s true. Of course, it’s also true of many other topics in No Apology, virtually all of which is reproduced exactly from the hardcover.
Follow the link up top to see how he tweaked the stimulus section. For anyone else, this would be no big deal. The book’s a campaign prop, so why shouldn’t he be allowed to revise it as circumstances change? Candidates update their stump speech all the time and this is nothing more than a stump speech in paperback form. For Romney, though, whose timely pro-life flip before his first presidential run leaves him forever under suspicion that he’ll tell conservatives anything they want to hear? Just another nail in the coffin of inauthenticity.
Then again, at this point, maybe he figures that his reputation for pandering is so widely known among the base that he’s already lost everyone he’s going to lose because of it. Better to add a little red meat to his book, let the people who weren’t going to vote for him anyway get angry about it, and hope that enough newbie Republicans are pleased by the additions that it’s a net gain for him electorally. Although, in that case, it’s probably better for him to go the whole nine yards and repudiate RomneyCare, no? I’ve always thought that, if he did that, it would be the final, fatal bit of opportunism that finishes off his credibility, but as I say, maybe his credibility’s already finished with enough base voters that there’s nothing much left to lose by doing it. But then, if he was planning to dump RomneyCare, he would have added that to the paperback too, right? Stick to your guns, Mitt!