WhichMitt.com: DNC launches website to mock Romney policy switches

In another sign that Mitt Romney is actually a pretty formidable frontrunner, the Democratic National Committee today launched a new website to attack his notoriously fluid policy positions. WhichMitt.com features a multiple choice quiz to identify Romney’s stance on various issues, from Roe v. Wade to the economic stimulus to healthcare reform. The answer to every question is “all of the above.”

It’s clever, really, but a bit rich coming from the DNC. Has the Committee forgotten that its candidate changes positions from day to day? Here’s a partial list:

  • On deficit reduction: During the debt ceiling debate, Barack Obama called by turns for a straight debt ceiling increase and for a so-called grand bargain. Before that, he created a deficit reduction commission — but ignored the recommendations of his own commission. He talked tough on deficit reduction before, during and after the debate even as he proposed measures (his budget, for example!) that would increase the deficit.
  • On jobs: Something like twelve pivots. That’s all. It’s always — and never — his top priority.
  • On health care: In the past, Obama has said a couple conflicting things about a single-payer health care system, as Hillary Clinton’s camp was quick to point out in the 2008 primaries. Does he “happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care system,” as he once said, or does he think “a single-payer system is an euphemism for socialized medicine,” as he also has said? Or could it be “all of the above”?
  • On immigration: In 2004, Obama said he was opposed to cracking down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. In 2008, he said, “We do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation.”
  • On education: Obama sends his own daughters to private school — but, from the minute he took office, he attacked a program that gives D.C. students opportunities similar to those Malia and Sasha enjoy. Obama ultimately let the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program phase out. (Thankfully, Speaker John Boehner successfully reauthorized the program this year.)
  • On marriage: In 2003, he said he would not support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. In February of this year, his Justice Department very unprofessionally announced it would no longer defend the legislation.
  • On Guantanamo Bay: Obama originally saw no need for military tribunals to try Gitmo jihadis — but eventually concluded the government doesn’t have to give terrorists the same protections as normal criminals.
  • On sartorial splendor: Obama even wears a symbol of his ever-shifting views on his chest. Whenever you ever see a flag pin anchored there, recall that, during the 2008 primaries, Obama disparaged the same pin, calling it a “substitute for true patriotism.” (Has he ever read George Washington’s Rules of Civility? If he has, he should know Washington firmly believed outward gestures could prompt inward conviction. When the father of our country had trouble respecting someone, he doffed his cap to him anyway, hoping eventually he’d feel the respect he expressed.)
Need I go on? Because I can. See related flip-flops: The Patriot ActThe Cuba embargo, Israel, etc., etc., etc. Will the DNC just please concede a WhichBarack.com website would make far more sense?
Sadly, rhetoric is a pretty poor guide as to what a candidate will do in office. For that matter, even a candidate’s record can be deceiving. (As Michael Reagan has pointed out about his father, his record might not have withstood modern conservative scrutiny.) That’s why the single-biggest question I wish moderators would start to ask at debates is, “Why?” It should be the follow-up to every question. When Romney promises to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office, the next question should be, “Why?” If a politician had good reason to change his mind — and explains those reasons clearly — then changing his mind was the very essence of reasonable.
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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023