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Romney Dissembles On Abortion


Foley, Gray, and Carmon have this covered. Unlike his outright lying about his tax plan at the debates, his abortion shuffle is a little more cleverly misleading: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda” could even be true. What it is, though, is meaningless. Because here are the salient facts:

  • Romney would sign any bill restricting abortion that Congress puts on his desk.  If Republicans control both houses of Congress at any point during his presidency, it’s entirely possible that this will happen, and whether there’s anything in his agenda that he’s pushing is beside the point.
  • The biggest impact that a president has on abortion policy is his judicial nominees.   Unless you think that Democrats could plausibly serially block Romney’s Supreme Court nominees (and only one but not two pro-Roe justices leaves during his tenure), Roe may not survive one Romney term and almost certainly wouldn’t survive a second.    Any generic Republican circuit court judge is almost certain to be anti-Roe.

Romney’s statement, in other words, is neither here nor there and doesn’t reflect in change in the Republican Party’s agenda to restrict reproductive freedom.  Any pundit who claims that Romney is “moving to the center” or some such on abortion is someone you should permanently ignore.

…even Saletan’s not buying it.

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  • I know, and I don’t know why he isn’t asked point blank if he would sign a bill restricting repro freedom- of course he will. He is really quite terrible.

    • RedSquareBear

      Why do you have any confidence he wouldn’t lie (or at least dissemble) while winking at the fringe and stage whispering “I’M LYING TO THEM”.

      Like he’s been doing for months now.

      • Barry

        “Why do you have any confidence he wouldn’t lie (or at least dissemble) while winking at the fringe and stage whispering “I’M LYING TO THEM”.”

        Because (a) not signing such a bill would cause trouble, and (b) signing such a bill would gain support which he could use on money/ego items.

        What puzzles me is why somebody thinks that a Republican President with a GOP Congress would for some odd reason *not* sign any anti-abortion legislation they put on his desk.

  • mark f

    The biggest impact that a president has on abortion policy is his judicial nominees.

    I made this point regarding Scott Brown the other day. It may be true* that he would vote against abortion-restricting legislation because of his (or his constituents’) position on choice, but there’s no way Scott “my model justice is Scalia” Brown is ever going to vote against a Republican president’s SCOTUS nominees.

    *I certainly don’t take for granted that it is, but he says it is and it may be.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Though remember, Scott Brown likes ALL the Justices…he’s just that independent and bipartisan!

      • mark f

        That was the only entertaining moment in what was a very frustrating debate.

        Q: Can you name your model Supreme Court justice?

        Brown: Uh . . . uh . . . Supreme Court? . . . Scalia. Kennedy! Roberts! Sotomayor!

        Q: Just one to be the ideal model.

        Brown, like a junior high kid admitting he tagged up the bathroom: Scalia.

    • Joe

      Yes, and meanwhile the he is considered “pro-life” enough for certain groups.


  • mds

    So, the upshot is, not a dime’s worth of difference between the two candidates, then?

    • rea

      What, you think Obama’s apointments are antichoice?

      • Scott Lemieux

        I think your sarcasm detector needs new batteries.

        • RedSquareBear

          I blame Skittles ads for the loss of my battery’s charge. It’s sapped my purity of essence.

        • rea

          Well, but Scott, I beleive some on the left actually were saying that about Sotomayor and Kagan

          • Murc

            … for seriously?

            There are legitimate points to be made that Sotomayor and Kagan (especially Kagan) aren’t liberal enough, but anyone who thinks they aren’t two rock-solid voted for a constitutional vision that includes Roe is out of their goddamn minds.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Well, but Scott, I beleive some on the left actually were saying that about Sotomayor and Kagan

            [cites omitted]

            • Holden Pattern

              Don’t worry. JfL will have some cites for that.

              • Holden Pattern

                Well, knock me over with a feather.

          • There were a lot of dumb things written about the two figures Obama elevated to the Supreme Court, but I don’t remember that.

            • John

              Some of the dumb things were written on this very site.

              • Warren Terra

                Indeed, I was going to post that same link. One of the dumbest posts I’ve ever seen on a blog a like.

                • John

                  Indeed, although it’s not as though I read this blog for Campos.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    This is another transparent Romney evasion / lie. Not hard to refute (as you and others have shown). Now it’s up to the Obama campaign to do so.

  • S_noe

    It’s starting to look like Romney’s 47% spiel was more than just badly parroted Randianism – it’s his frickin’ electoral strategy! And his contempt for that 4-5% in the middle is shining through with this kind of pandering.
    Seems like a daaaangerous game to me. Three weeks is a long time to not fuck it up.

  • Joe

    What the heck does his “agenda” entail? If his foreign policy pablum is anything to go by, it is somewhat hard to tell.

    The links note that it will be on the agenda of Republicans in Congress. That is enough. Also, there is a usual dance on funding for international planned parenthood type groups each January when a new President comes in. What is his stance there?

    Anyway, there was a recent study showing how contraceptives cut down on abortions as does better health care. His “agenda” is to overturn the PPACA with its contraceptives mandate, right?

    • Hogan

      It’s not so much an agenda as a default setting. “The Egyptians will do what I tell them to, or I’ll fire them and hire new Egyptians.”

    • mark f

      Romney’s foreign policy agenda is to be the loudest guy chanting “Yankees suck!” at a St. Patrick’s Day Dropkick Murphys concert.

      • mds

        According to Juan Cole’s estimate, Mitt Romney’s speech effectively promised to get us embroiled in five wars. Talk about doubling down on the Bush years.

        • BigHank53

          Donald Rumsfeld personally assured him that starting five wars would be easy.

          You may have noticed that Rummy didn’t hang around for the end of his little adventures, either.

          • Murc

            I’m perhaps being entirely too fair by half to Rummy, but I always sort of respected the fact that he knew VERY quickly he was in over his head and tried to resign multiple times in response to his fuckups.

            It’s just Bush wouldn’t let him. He and Cheney seemed really convinced Rummy was the man for the job. And if you’re in Rummy’s position, well, when your President asks you to hang around…

            This isn’t to say I don’t think Rumsfeld was an evil little troll. But there was a soupcon of integrity floating around in there.

            • avoidswork

              No, there was never a soupcon of integrity within “go with the Army you’ve got” Rumsfeld.

              Just as the mortal body of Richard B. Cheney has never/will never encounter a soul.

              Just as Romney has never had a position he wasn’t willing to compromise in his entire life.

            • Anonymous

              Rumsfeld never offered to resign because he wasn’t up to the job. He threatened to resign to get what he wanted. He was arrogant, not humble. That’s not the way he tells it now, but he wouldn’t, would he.

              He always thought he was the smartest guy in the Bush administration, and he may have been, though that’s not saying much. He formulated an invasion plan which was not consistent with the administration’s goals, assuming they would eventually change their minds and defer to him. When they didn’t, he offered to resign, knowing they would not accept before the election. Rummy was a true believer in “no more nation building”. He wanted to crush Iraq and leave. Bush and Cheney wanted to stay in Iraq permanently.

    • Anonymous

      His “agenda” is to overturn the PPACA with its contraceptives mandate, right?

      Oh, heck, no. According to his just-released meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board:

      My own view, by the way, is that an employer should say to an employee, “We’re going to provide to all of you, let’s say, I’ll make up a number, $12,000 worth of coverage, and you can use that to choose the policy of your choice. And you can choose a very expansive policy, comprehensive, or you can choose a narrower policy, and you keep the difference. And you can use that to cover your other expenses or health care as you feel appropriate.”

      And yes, this is the same Mitt Romney who supported the Blunt Amendment. The Romney campaign really do think the American electorate is composed of illiterate idiots with dementia. Will they be proven wrong?

      • Joe

        “I’ll make up” sounds about right.

  • Joe
    • As I mentioned over there, these people do not care what Romney says on abortion. They know they have to vote for him if they are going to get that [insert racist epithet] out of the White House. He could say just about anything and they will still be his rabid supporters. That, more than anything else, is what sustains the Romney/Ryan campaign.

      • Joe

        Yeah, the “National Right To Life Committee” etc. are actually just a bunch of racists.

        It isn’t that Romney will obviously do various things as President that will advance their cause as to abortion. No no no. Even if he was the reincarnation of Harry Blackmun, they would pick him because they are racists.

        This oversimplification of what is driving people is as tedious as it is counterproductive. We are dealing with people of a certain ideological sentiment, including those who want to deny women rights. It gives Romney too much credit to make it about the racism of his supporters.

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