Saturday, February 26, 2005

MITT'S ANTI-FAMILY APPEAL. Q: What's the difference between Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney? A: Hatch is the liberal. Check out this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, in which the Utah senator and Calvin Coolidge look-alike explains his support for embryonic-stem-cell research. Romney, of course, has come out against such research as he moves forward with his campaign for president and against the people of Massachusetts.

But the surest sign that Romney has decided not to run for re-election as governor in 2006 is his increasingly strident rhetoric about same-sex marriage, and even civil unions. It's true that Romney has never favored either one. But last spring, when the issue was being hashed out on Beacon Hill, Romney could have played a significant obstructionist role and chose not to. Good for him. Now, though, he's re-inventing himself as the Mormon version of James Dobson, and it's unattractive, to say the least.

Today, both the Globe and the Herald report on Romney's remarks in Salt Lake City yesterday, in which he called the Goodridge decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which legalized gay marriage, as a "blow to the family," and said: "America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home." Ugh.

Julie and Hillary Goodridge immediately came forward and read a statement making the common-sense observation that gay marriage has made it a lot easier for some families to attain the recognition and equality they deserve. But Romney was clearly not directing his remarks at the home-state audience. Rather, he's trying to appeal to the hardcore right-wingers who control the presidential nominating process in the Republican Party.

The Salt Lake Tribune covers Romney's remarks here; and the Deseret News here. Locally, Susan Ryan-Vollmar tears into Romney in this week's Bay Windows.

I believe it was Globe columnist Scot Lehigh a couple of years ago who first noted the phenomenon of Romney campaigning against the very state he purportedly governs. Still, until this past week, I had thought Romney would seek re-election in 2006, since a big win would probably stand as his surest credentials for a presidential run. Now it seems pretty obvious that he's decided otherwise.

By campaigning against gay and lesbian families, Romney is hurting himself with the suburban independents who elected him in 2002. If you took a survey of these people, they might tell you they don't like the idea of gay marriage, although they'd probably support civil unions. But that's not really the point. This is all about tone. Most people have a gay child or sibling or co-worker or three. And whether they love the idea of same-sex marriage or not, they're not going to like the idea of the governor they voted for publicly trashing their family members and friends.

Gay marriage has been legal for almost a year now, and the sky hasn't fallen in. By all indications, Massachusetts is becoming increasingly comfortable with it. And now Romney wants to drag us backwards. It might wow them in South Carolina and Utah, but it's not going to wow anyone here (nor, I suspect, in notoriously libertarian New Hampshire in '08).

So, see ya, Mitt. And here's a distinctly minority point of view: if Romney leaves early and Kerry Healey gets to become governor, she's going to make folks forget her predecessor in about two weeks. (I mean that in a good way.)


Anonymous said...

If a falling sky is the litmus test, then I don't understand why you're opposed to any of the president's policies. They haven't cuased the sky to fall in either.

I don't see any indication that people are getting comfortable with gay marriage in Massachusetts, I sense resignation over the fact that the legislature is going to keep them in no matter what.

Our legislature runs well to the left of the electorate. Do you think the legislature would ever have passed English immersion in our schools? Do you think a ballot question would ever ok tuition breaks for illegal aliens?

The Globe is working overtime to present the illusion that people are ok with gay marriage. They're not, and that will come back to haunt Beacon Hill from time to time.

Anonymous said...

I'm not ok with gay marriage.But I don't think about it alot. The fact that Mitt views it as a campaign talking point with which he can make key ideologial connections, is rather pathetic. I hope he stays and runs against the AG.

Anonymous said...

"If a falling sky is the litmus test, then I don't understand why you're opposed to any of the president's policies."

Tell that to the 100 Iraqi people killed today. What an idiot.

Both of the previous posters have got to get a clue. Most people don't care whether gay people are married or not. My entire office of 50 people out in the suburbs were overwhelmingly supportive of my marriage.

I'd like to hear Mitt give one way how my marriage has affected his family. Just one. I won't be holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Romney may not run again, be he won't resign after having promised that he would serve out his term. He wouldn't have to in order to get ready for a run for president either. Clinton, Bush and Dukakis didn't step down at all.