IS MARIO CUOMO PRO-LIFE? More to the point, is Mitt Romney? I don't think anyone in his right mind would describe Cuomo's nuanced position on abortion rights as being "pro-life." And if Cuomo's not, then neither is Romney.
The essence of the Cuomo position is as follows: he's personally opposed to abortion, but he also opposes efforts to outlaw abortion rights. The former New York governor discussed this as recently as last June, on The NewsHour:
[T]he question really is, are you in communion with your church if, for example, you're a Catholic who accepts the abortion teaching, as I did, and lived by it for say 50 years, which I have, but refuses to take the position that now I have to make the whole society of non-Catholics, non-believers, and even those Catholics who do not accept abortion; I have to impose the law upon them or attempt to.
Plain and simple, Cuomo is pro-choice. It doesn't matter what his or any other politician's personal beliefs are. If they support a woman's right to choose, they're pro-choice. Is this difficult? I didn't think so.
Of course, now Romney - long thought to have repositioned himself from pro-life to pro-choice for his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy - now appears to be trying to move back to being thought of as a pro-life Republican. He's doing this at a time when he is obviously becoming obsessed with running for president in 2008.
Romney set off a mild furor with his Monday-night speech in Spartanburg, South Carolina, speaking out more strongly against gay civil unions than he has in the past, repeating his opposition to embryonic-stem-cell research, and flirting with the "pro-life" phrase, which, unfortunately, is pretty much a necessity to run in the Republican primaries. Today the Boston Globe's Raphael Lewis quotes Romney as saying:
I don't really describe my position in one hyphenated word, I describe the same thing I have for some time during this last campaign, and that is that I personally do not favor abortion. I'm personally prolife, if you will. But as the governor of the Commonwealth, I will not change the prochoice laws of the Commonwealth. I will support them, sustain them, keep them in place. And we haven't changed the laws, and I will not change the laws as long as I'm governor.
Earth to Mitt: there's a word for this, and yes, it's hyphenated: pro-choice. You may not like it. Many of us who favor abortion rights have always wondered about your sincerity. But you've been in politics now for more than a decade, and you've stuck with it - so much so that, when there was a flurry of interest in your running for governor of Utah a few years ago, some of your supporters were urging you to run as a Democrat.
Romney will get a chance to show us where he's at soon enough. As David Guarino notes in today's Boston Herald, a bill making it easier for a woman to obtain a "morning after" pill will soon land on his desk.
In the meantime, let's keep in mind that no one likes abortion. That's why Bill and Hillary Clinton have talked about making it "safe, legal, and rare," and why Cuomo has always been careful to underscore his personal opposition. But the Clintons and Cuomo are obviously pro-choice. And so is Romney. So far.
BURYING THE LEAD. Check out the last two paragraphs of Jeffrey Krasner's report in today's Globe on the investigation into the tangled finances of investment charlatan/radio entrepreneur Brad Bleidt:
The receiver's report also said that Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey, who cohosted a morning show on the radio station [WBIX], filed a claim against Bleidt, one of his businesses, Asset Plus Asset Management, and an affiliated brokerage. Bailey filed his claim with the National Association of Securities Dealers, an industry group and self-regulatory body. The nature of Bailey's claims was not clear from the receiver's report.
In a Feb. 2 letter, Bailey told NASD he wouldn't pursue claims against Bleidt or Asset Plus Asset Management. Bailey declined to comment on the matter.
The Herald reports on the Bleidt blight here.
NEW IN THIS WEEK'S PHOENIX. Thoughts on Jeff Gannon and the squeamish mainstream media. Also, is the Herald for sale? And a piss fight breaks out over who's a "self-hating" Jew.