Which is the real Romney?
There has been a lot written about how former Massachusetts Governor Romney has shifted to the right to woo more national conservative voters who would be otherwise put off by his Massachusetts pedigree. Although I didn't vote for Romney when he ran for governor, I didn't think he would do a bad job. He is a venture capitalist and had done a good job on big projects, such as the Salt Lake City Olympics. When Romney focused on something, such as the collapse of the Big Dig tunnel ceiling, he got results. Maybe he should have had more competent people monitoring the Big Dig all along, but that project was a mess for a long time before he got into office.
Anyway, once Romney decided to run for President, he has tried to portray himself as more conservative. The contrast in the Scott Lehigh column referenced above is very illustrative. For me, the most important (and most elusive) trait a candidate can have is integrity. I want to vote for someone who has some core beliefs, tells me what they are, and then follows-through on them after they are elected. Even though I never voted for Reagan, I always felt that he told America what he was going to do, and then did it. Pretty rare these days.
Not only has Romney pulled a major U-turn on social issues, he has tried to discredit Brian Camenker, a conservative activist who has taken Romney on. Camenker has highlighted that Romney hasn't always described himself as a conservative. I am no fan of Camenker. And in this Press Release which has been removed from the index of Mitt's Web site, Romney doesn't like hearing what Camenker thinks of his record.
The funniest aspect of the Press Release is the link to this video in which the Daily Show's Ed Helms interviews Camenker and pokes fun at his stridently conservative social views. But, are these views different than the ones that Romney is trying to embrace? Maybe this vicious circle is why Romney removed the de-bunking of Camenker from his web site. Even Romney is confused about whether or not he should align himself with this staunch conservative. To the old Romney, the answer would be clear.