Political pundit on the latest from Washington, D.C.
Romney flip-flops his way out of climate debate
The former governor is stuck with a history of being on all sides of the climate issue.
Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 04:35 PM
(Photo:World Affairs Council of Philadelphia/flickr)
It seems there is literality no issue Mitt Romney wont waffle on. By now Romney’s political history is marked with some serious contradictions, and his latest turn-about has been on the issue of climate science.
"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is," Romney said in a Reuters report, adding, "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans." Fair enough. I mean let’s be honest, Romney has a serious credibility problem with the far right of the Republican party. Furthermore, the denial that the emissions that humans produce during industrial and other processes contributes to a warming planet has become a staple of the right wing over the past few years. So the fact that Romney is telling people that he’s not sold on the idea isn’t really a surprise; it’s just what he is going to do to get elected.
He has a history of doing this. When seeking a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, Romney was a pro-choice candidate. By the time he began seeking the Republican nomination for president, Romney had a change of heart. When tasked with improving the healthcare realities in Massachusetts, Romney crafted a system that was the model for what the Democratic-lead Congress put into place in 2010. Now Romney runs away from his policy.
Now, with Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) out-preforming Romney in the most recent polls (presumably because he leaves no doubts about his conservative credentials), Romney is faced with a choice. He can either try to double down on his conservative credentials, or he can try to carve out some space in the moderate part of the party. The problem for Romney is that he changes his mind so much it’s hard to tell if he is flipping or flopping. The climate science issue is no different.
Let’s not forget that Romney, who recently said “I'm not willing to spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to," was one of the leading voices behind creating a carbon trading market among states on the East Coast. In true flip-flop fashion, he pulled Massachusetts out of that agreement after the other states jumped on board. So when former Governor Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) scored some political points by making the outrageous claims that he was both a believer in evolution and climate science, Romney was unable to capitalize. Romney will never be able to out-flank Perry within conservative circles because of his history of being on all sides of the issue. This could prove politically fatal if someone like Huntsman gains popularity because Romney will no longer be able to go back to the position he once had.
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