Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mitt Romney's Achilles' Heel

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Although Mitt Romney has defended RomneyCare as a fitting solution to the medical insurance problem in Massachusetts, he has yet to face another issue which may very well be his Achilles' heel and make his nomination impossible. That is his support of gay marriage and the gay agenda in the schools of Massachusetts.

Amy Contrada, a conservative activist in Massachusetts, has written a 600-page book, Mitt Romney’s Deception, documenting the former Governor’s stealth support of gay rights and gay marriage. She shows how he has worked closely with gay activists and pro-gay rights advisors in his administration. She excoriates him for implementing the controversial gay marriage decision handed down by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, ignoring the call to remove the judges who voted for it.

Contrada carefully documents the pro-homosexual and pro-transgender actions of Romney’s Department of Social Services (DSS). But apparently this trend started before Romney became Governor, which will no doubt be his defense. Contrada writes:

Long before Romney became Governor, adoptions to GLBT "parents" were well established in Massachusetts. In 2006, The Home for Little Wanderers, which works closely with the DSS, told the Boston Globe, "We have successfully placed children with gay and lesbian families for over a decade."

But she criticizes Romney for not making changes in the DSS so that all adoptees would have the opportunity to be adopted by a normal mother-and-father family, which Romney had said was best for the children. “Why didn’t he insist,” she writes, “his DSS carry out his deeply held belief when he had the power over the agency?”

She criticizes the Governor for funding and promoting the GLBT program of indoctrination in the public schools through his Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and his Department of Education’s “Safe Schools” programs. Contrada writes:

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Mitt Romney expects conservatives to believe he is “one of them” on the issue of gay rights. He hired Hugh Hewitt to author a promotional book, A Mormon in the White House? 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney (2007). Intended primarily to defuse any doubts about Romney’s Mormon faith, it also includes this strange argument:

Even Romney’s long and strongly held beliefs on the necessity of treating gay and lesbian Americans with the dignity and respect that is owed all our fellow citizens — thought by his opponents to be a certain momentum killer — turned out to mirror the feelings of most conservatives regarding the appropriate approach to take towards the private lives of all Americans. Romney’s long-standing and consistent record of acceptance for gay Americans made his vigorous fight to preserve the traditional definition of marriage all the more credible as a defense of constitutional majoritarianism rather than bigotry.

Do Romney’s views “mirror the feelings of most conservatives regarding the appropriate approach to take towards the private lives of all Americans”? That is the conservative dilemma which CPAC had to face. Actually, conservatives are not as concerned with the private lives of Americans as they are about their public behavior.

So far, none of this has been an issue during the debates. Romney is trying to give the impression that he is a conservative Republican, but these social issues may very well derail his campaign for the nomination.

The simple truth is that Romney is a run-of-the-mill, country-club Republican, much like his father, who is willing to compromise on all the important social issues, and shows no inclination to carry out an agenda that would please conservatives, including the Tea Party movement.

The whole issue of gay rights and gay marriage has divided Republicans and libertarians. When a conservative gay group was permitted to participate in the CPAC conference, several socially conservative groups pulled out. Libertarians are much more tolerant of gays, and as far as I know the Tea Party movement has not taken a stand on this issue. I doubt that they would turn anyone away if he or she were gay. The Tea Party is more concerned with issues of economics and individual freedom than such divisive issues as gay marriage. (However, A University of Washington poll of 1,695 registered voters in the state of Washington reported that 82% of Tea Party supporters do not believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry.)

The economy will be the central theme in the coming election, and social issues will take a back seat. While the conflict between Republicans and Democrats in Congress is on such ongoing problems as the deficit, taxes, Obama’s stimulus proposal, and national healthcare, it is not surprising that social issues have not been given much attention during the debates.

But of all the Republican candidates, Romney is the most vulnerable on these issues. Whether or not he will be asked about his record as governor on these issues is still to be seen.

In any case, Amy Contrada has left no stone unturned in her aim to give the Governor virtually no wiggle room to squirm out of this heavily documented exposé which may well put an end to his campaign for the nomination.

But now conservative voters in Massachusetts are faced with a new problem. The man they elected to the Senate to replace Ted Kennedy, Scott Brown, has turned out to be an independent Republican who now welcomes support from the gay community. He agreed to speak to Log Cabin Republicans and receive the organization’s Spirit of Lincoln award on the same day that marked the end of the ban on gays serving in the military.

The group, which represents gay and lesbian Republicans, honored Brown for voting in favor of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Obviously, this is Brown’s way of gaining support for his reelection campaign. He assumes that all conservatives will vote for him anyway. But that is still to be seen. He also voted for the Finance Reform Bill, which Republicans opposed, and many conservatives resent his making compromises with Democrats such as Harry Reid. But most Massachusetts Republicans will probably come to the conclusion that half a loaf is better than none. Meanwhile, Brown will have a lot of explaining to do on the campaign trail.

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