Mitt Romney, speaking on Wednesday to NBC News’ Chuck Todd, seemed to shift positions on the Iraq War.
As highlighted by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, Romney explained to Todd, “If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction, if somehow we had been given that information, obviously we would not have gone in.”
The former Massachusetts governor then gave a more detailed response:
Todd: “You don’t think we would have gone in?”
Romney: “Well of course not. The president went in based upon intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action. The president would not have been pursuing that course. But we did not know that. Based upon what we knew at the time, we were very much under the impression as a nation, our president was under the impression, that they had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was intent on potentially using those weapons, and so he took action based upon what he knew. But to go back and say, well knowing what we know now would we have gone in. Well, knowing what we know now, they did not have weapons of mass destruction, there would have been no effort on the part of our president or others to take military action.”
Chait points out that Romney previously took a much different position on the conflict. Per The New York Times, moderator Tim Russert asked Romney during a 2008 presidential debate if the Iraq War was “a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent.” Romney answered, “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.” As Chait explains, Romney’s debate answer came at a time when it was already clear that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction.
I didn’t keep the link, but a very serious conservative recently claimed that Mitt’s reputation as a fountain of flip-flops was undeserved. If political leaders should have new information, they should be justified in shifting course. We can all agree with that as a general principle. In the case of Iraq Mitt had no new information, except perhaps polls showing that running as a kind of anti-war I’m not a Bush Conservative, polled better than thinking invading Iraq was the best thing since whipped cream on a sundae. If Mitt supported the invasion of Iraq that means he supported Bush kicking out weapons inspectors who had searched hundreds of sites and found nothing. It also means that if it was informed on the subject that the administration knew from day one Iraq did not have an active WMD program.
Commander Flip-flop also thought Senator Barack Obama’s idea to chase terrorists into Pakistan was poor judgement. The consequences of course would be that Osama Bin Laden might still be alive. Wait, did the wind direction change? Did Flip-flop Mitt learn something new that made called for a principled reverse – Mitt Romney, Then and Now
Mitt Romney, Then and Now
“I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.”
– Mitt Romney, quoted by Reuters in 2008, on the United States entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.
“I think other presidents and other candidates like myself would do exactly the same thing.”
– Romney, in an interview on MSNBC earlier today, downplaying credit for Obama for ordering the raid in Pakistan that finally killed Osama bin Laden.
Did Romney see one of those political movies about a sleazy unprincipled candidate for office and say to himself, Oh yea I’m going to use him as a role model. Such are the affectations that us peasants must allow American royalty. Though a lowly duke now, Mitt might some day be king if only the other dukes and princesses are allowed to fill his coffers with as much gold as they like – Romney Wants His Billionaire Wall Street Donors To Be Able To Give Him Unlimited Sums Of Money
More importantly, however, Romney’s proposal to allow wealthy donors to give candidates whatever they’d “like to a campaign” is simply an invitation to corruption. Under Romney’s proposed rule, there is nothing preventing a single billionaire from bankrolling a candidate’s entire campaign — and then expecting that candidate to do whatever the wealthy donor wants once the candidate is elected to office. Romney’s unlimited donations proposal would be a bonanza for Romney himself and the army of Wall Street bankers and billionaire donors who support him, but it is very difficult to distinguish it from legalized bribery.
As Romney himself said in 1994, when you allow special interest groups to buy and sell candidates, “that kind of relationship has an influence on the way that [those candidates are] going to vote.” Now that Romney’s running for president on the Wall Street ticket, however, he’s suddenly unconcerned with whether or not his big money donors exert a corrupting influence.
This is a concept which has conservatives rolling on the floor in convulsions, publicly financed and limited campaigns. You get so much money, each gets equal debate time, buys about the same amount of adverting. No mysterious PACs. Campaigns would be forced to rely on the quality of the message rather than being overwhelmed with ads – a campaign season of whose ideas are best. Not to worry, we’ll never see that happen because it would be much closer to the truly democratic republicanism or egalitarian ideals of our founding framework. No one wants that, least of all Mitt and friends.
I’ve never heard of this site before, Humble Libertarian. It is natural for one to defend their side. Though conservatives and many libertarians (The Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell) disagree, I tend to think it is best to keep to the facts. HL writes, Liberal Media Racist Smear Against Ron Paul Rears Its Ugly Head Again (Video)
Ron Paul supporters should brace themselves for a lot more of this (m). Ron Paul is obviously not a racist and doesn’t condone racism and would not implement racist policies as president… so the entire racist newsletter affair is simply a smear and a distraction from the substantive issues that matter to the American people and that Ron Paul has been on the right side of for his entire career, leading to his steady growth and success this election cycle. That said, Ron Paul handled this very well until the end when he got frustrated and walked out on the CNN interview….(emphasis mine)
Smeared? A smear is a lie, a distortion or exaggeration used to bash someone. Ron Paul’s own defense of what he has said is either he was taken out of context or in the case of CNN, to storm off. Many liberals and progressives find some of Paul’s stances appealing. Taken in convenient isolation he is solid on some foreign policy and civil libertarian positions ( stances that libertarians took from the liberal playbook around the turn of the 20th century). In real life, sound bites that play well can only be seriously considered within the context of a candidates entire platform. While every voter has to make compromises since no one candidate ever represents the pinnacle of every individual voter’s policy positions, there is only so much give in that compromise. As Michael Brendan Dougherty asks at The Atlantic, in what context could these remarks be explained away as acceptable – The Story Behind Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters
Some choice quotes:
“Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
“We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”
After the Los Angeles riots, one article in a newsletter claimed, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”
One referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”
Another referred to Barbara Jordan, a civil rights activist and congresswoman as “Barbara Morondon,” the “archetypical half-educated victimologist.”
Other newsletters had strange conspiracy theories about homosexuals, the CIA, and AIDS.
[ ]…When the newsletter controversy came up again during the 2008 campaign, Paul explained that he didn’t actually write the newsletters but because they carried his name he was morally responsible for their content. Further, he didn’t know exactly who wrote the offensive things and they didn’t represent his views.
But it is still a serious issue. Jamie Kirchick reported in The New Republic that Paul made nearly one million dollars in just one year from publishing the newsletters. Could Paul really not understand the working of such a profitable operation? Reporters at the libertarian-leaning Reason magazine wrote that the author was likely longtime Paul-friend and combative polemicist Lew Rockwell.
Dougherty a little about the history of libertarians such as Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. They have a history of floating around – using various conspiracy theories that sound like they are from the far right and as political winds blow ( like the movement against the Vietnam war) to the left . Paul’s baggage is coming into the spotlight because he might win the Iowa caucus. It is only fair that Paul receive the same kind of scrutiny that Rick Perry and Gingrich have received. That is not a smear. That’s reporting.
But the questions remain. If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won’t even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?
If anyone is in the mood for some anti-Paul polemics just read this attack from the conservative right by wing-nut Dorothy Rabinowitz at the WSJ – What Ron Paul Thinks of America
It seemed improbable that the best-known American propagandist for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is.
[ ]…One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.
[ ]…The world may not be ready for another American president traversing half the globe to apologize for the misdeeds of the nation he had just been elected to lead. Still, it would be hard to find any public figure in America whose views more closely echo those of President Obama on that tour. ( This is a continuation of a right-wing myth that Obama has been on some world tour apologizing for America. never happened, but when has that ever stopped the Right from repeating something).
This is what could be considered a smear, against both Paul and the current super moderate Democrat resident of the White House – the one who has killed so many of those terrorist Rabinowitz battles with blistered fingers on her .38 magnum keyboard. To say that Iraq was a mistake is not an attack on America, it is an attack on neocon foreign policy. Rabinowitz has the typical delusional and grandiose conservative ego, feeling that conservative clusterfu*ks are the same thing as America the country.
FishbowlDC reports that an aide to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has stated that the Congressman will be contacting the office of First Lady Michelle Obama to apologize for a remark he made regarding what he alleged was Obama’s “large posterior.”
This is just another mini-outrage of the day. It is just another in a long Republican tradition of going for cheap insults based on looks – When Chelsea Clinton was still a child Rush Limbaugh made a revolting joke about her. I don’t understand the whys of conservatives even going there – do conservatives have mirrors? Do they understand that attractiveness does not equal virtue. Trim and fit alone – for which the First Lady would seem to qualify – would disqualify Jimbo and Rush. Credit to Jimbo for apologizing.
But technically, the House did not adjourn just yet. And this morning, Democrats went to the floor planning to propose a solution: allow the full House to directly vote on the Senate compromise, something which the House Republican leadership has not allowed for fear it would pass.
How did the House leadership respond?
By literally ignoring the Democratic request as it was being shouted on the House floor, slamming down the gavel, adjourning the House for two days, walking off the floor without a word, and pulling the plug on the C-Span cameras.
The blatant disrespect House Republicans have for the working Americans who pay their salaries could not be more stark.
They are not “working through the holidays.”
They are recklessly snubbing the work that other legislators put in to avoid making the middle class take an unnecessary hit while the jobs crisis continues.
One could mark up Republican actions to some clever parliamentary tactics under normal circumstances ( I don’t think this is the first time House leadership has suddenly closed down debate). These are not regular circumstances. Even Senate Republicans and Karl Rove think House Republicans are blowing it over a relatively small thing – a two month extension of unemployment benefits, the Medicare doc fix and a tax cut. Kind of a historic day, Republicans acting like petulant brats over cutting taxes and grandma seeing her doctor.