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Why Romney Should Repulse NH Republicans

05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET

Warnings are written like a billboard all over Mitt Romney. He has used his fortune to buy the most transparently shameless act of political plastic surgery I've ever seen. His blatant flip flops on a laundry list of key issues are pure calculation to win conservative votes. His loose regard for truth puts him in league with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

To measure Mitt Romney's allegiance to our party, look no further than the words of top Massachusetts Republicans who have seen him in operation over four years.

Former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci, former State Treasurer Joe Malone, former state GOP Chair Jim Rappaport, and three of Massachusetts' five Republican State Senators all oppose Mitt Romney (and support Rudy Giuliani). "I think a lot of people in the state definitely feel abandoned," said senate Republican leader Richard Tisei. "Governor Romney spent three of the four years of his governorship out of state running for president."

In 2006 Massachusetts Republicans did not even run candidates in 130 of 200 legislative seats and in 7 of 10 congressional districts. The Green-Rainbow Party put up more candidates for statewide office than Republicans. "The Massachusetts Republican Party died last Tuesday [November, 2006] ... In lieu of flowers, send messages to New Hampshire Republican voters warning them about a certain presidential candidate named Romney," editorialized the Boston Herald.

Consider the timing of Mitt Romney's flips: are they evidence of late-blooming enlightenment or political calculation?

Illegal Immigration.
In a November 30, 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, Mitt Romney called the elements of McCain-Kennedy immigration bill "reasonable proposals." By March, 2007, finger to the wind, Mitt Romney was roundly denouncing the same bill.

Casino gambling.
Campaigning for governor in 2002, Mitt Romney indicated his support for slots casinos in Massachusetts. He flipped on September 16, 2005, when Iowa conservatives threatened to boycott his campaign fundraisers.

Abortion. In his 2002 governor's race, Mitt Romney's platform stated, "The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's." In a July 26, 2005 Boston Globe op ed, Mitt Romney wrote, "I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. ... I believe that the states ... should determine their own abortion laws."

Gay and lesbian issues. "We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern," Romney wrote in 1994. Romney promised to outdo Ted Kennedy by winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, by opposing a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and by advocating gays serving openly in the military. During his 2002 campaign for governor, Mitt Romney distributed flyers at a gay pride parade reaffirming his support. Then, on December 14, 2006, Mitt Romney announced his flip on gay issues in an interview with the National Review.

Global warming.
On November 7, 2005, Governor Romney touted the thirty months and half million dollars his administration had spent shaping the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will reduce global warming gas pollution by ten percent by 2019. "I'm convinced it is good business," said Romney. On December 14, 2005, one hour before clearing the way for his presidential ambitions by announcing that he would not run again for governor, Mitt Romney abruptly pulled Massachusetts out of the agreement, saying it would be bad for business.

Health care mandate. In 2005 Governor Romney proposed and in 2006 signed into law an under-funded universal health care plan, including a mandate that all individuals lacking it buy health insurance, substantially similar to Hillary Clinton's proposed plan. On the stump in 2007, Mitt Romney reversed and now opposes his own plan and its central feature, the insurance mandate.

Republicans willing to grant Mitt Romney a full pass on his litany of flips may be more disturbed by his slick treatment of the truth. For example: "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," Mitt Romney told a gun rights activist in Keene in April. It turns out Mitt Romney has hunted only twice in his life, once when he was 15 and again at 60.

Likewise earlier this year, Mitt Romney said, "I have a gun of my own." When questioned two days later, he admitted that, while his son owned a gun, he did not.

And finally, "My father and I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Detroit," Mitt Romney told the Boston Herald in 1978. The story was adjusted as of December, 2007, when he said that he "saw" his father march with MLK. Both claims are false. In attempting to explain his way out, Mitt Romney turns ominously Clintonian: "If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of in the sense I've described."

It is impossible to determine what Mitt Romney believes. He cannot be trusted to stick with his promises or positions on the major issues. If Republicans allow Mitt Romney to win on January 8, we will have abjectly failed our single most persuasive claim to the first primary: that we are scrupulous in uncovering the real candidate and that we cannot be fooled.

The following piece is published in the Union Leader as well as HuffPost's OffTheBus.