Jim Antle over at the Spectator has a good article on the political gymnastics of everybody’s favourite overrated Masschusetts governor, Mitt Romney. In it he describes the recent furore over reminders that he was once very much in favour of gay rights and is now, well, rather less enthusiastic, all of which leaves no one on either side of that debate particularly satisfied…except perhaps for those of us who want to see the Romney bubble pop and disappear forever. What is striking is how eminently flexible a desperate social conservative leadership can be: not only does Romney’s church affiliation not bother Falwell, Bauer and the boys, but now we find that it is to be expected and admired that Romney has grown and changed his views. Of course, it’s true that everyone changes over the years. It’s just that few people happen to change so dramatically so quickly at the most politically convenient moment as Romney has done, and it is not normally considered desirable to be so rudderless that you can hold diametrically opposed positions in the same debate in the span of a decade.
The trouble with being progressive or “independent” on the Republican side is that ambitions for higher office inevitably require a certain, shall we say, tweaking of certain important symbolic issues in order to make it in the primaries. Thus John McCain doesn’t think Falwell et al. are a disgrace to Christianity any longer; he thinks they’re just swell. He spoke against the agents of intolerance before he spoke at their commencement ceremony, which makes everything okay…provided that the voters are senile. Give Giuliani credit for this much: he is Clooneyesque in how “out of touch” with Republican voters he is on hot-button social issues, but at least he doesn’t insult everyone with the claim that he suddenly cares deeply about a culture of life or the institution of marriage. He doesn’t, and he can’t be bothered to pretend that he does. That isn’t what he’s interesting in talking about, and it’s a good thing for him that he isn’t.
Insulting our intelligence will now be Mitt Romney’s job.