What does Mitt Romney believe? What would his agenda look like as president? Is there anything he wouldn’t be willing to say or sign if it proved politically useful? These aren’t gotcha questions. These are the bare minimum specifics that voters need in order to cast an informed vote. Like everyone, I would rather not be governed by a president whose convictions are contrary to my own. But I’m terrified of being governed by a president who doesn’t have any moral convictions at all.
If you want to understand what will happen to the no-legislation assurance Romney gave to the Register yesterday, look at what happened to the assurances he gave to voters in Massachusetts a decade ago. In 2002, as a candidate for governor, he repeatedly promised to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.” After he was elected, he reinterpreted that statement as a pledge not to “change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it.” This allowed him to veto pro-choice legislation. Then, as he moved on from Massachusetts and began to court pro-lifers as a presidential candidate, he reinterpreted his no-change policy this way: “Every time I faced a decision as governor that related to life, I came down on the side of life.”