” In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man.”

Should a good journalist decide to start ask a dozen RNC convention delegates where Romney stands on women’s reproductive rights, they probably get a half-dozen different answers. This is just another area where Romney has taken just about every policy position. So if you’re a Republican voter, capable of the kind of cognitive discombobulation that conservatives have become infamous for, you just mentally cling to the position you liked the best to justify your vote. Romney campaign denies Romney’s claim that he supports health exception for abortion

Mitt Romney in an interview released by CBS News this afternoon:

My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother.

That’s not true—Romney was against all abortion until last Monday, when he decided to support abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life was in danger. But he didn’t support abortion in cases “merely” involving health—that exception was entirely new. Never fear, though, Greg Sargent reports Romneyland has already walked that back.

But there is no shift, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul tells me. She emails:

“Gov. Romney’s position is clear: he opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is threatened.”

That means no health exception.

So now the question is which side is telling the truth: Mitt Romney … or his campaign?

And there lingers another important question. In the interview, Romney said that he believed the legality of abortion was a settled issue and shouldn’t be a political topic. “The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years,” he said, “but this is a matter in the courts. It’s been settled for some time in the courts.”

This part of that post, “That’s not true—Romney was against all abortion until last Monday” is true only within the context of the beginning of this election cycle. In the past Romney was pro-choice – How Newly Pro-Life Romney Betrayed a “Dear, Close Family Relative”

Say what you will about the ultra-hardline reproductive politics of Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, but at least those two have always been true believers. Mitt Romney, not so much. As his former strategist Michael Murphy put it in 2005, “He’s been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.” But Romney’s public transformation from an “unwavering” supporter of Roe v. Wade into a strong backer of the GOP’s all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights isn’t just rank opportunism. To accomplish that extremist makeover, Mitt Romney had to turn his back on a “dear, close family relative” who died 50 years ago of a then-illegal abortion.

If this tragic incident and the story Romney told about it to sell Massachusetts voters on his moderate pro-women’s reproductive rights credentials was not so moving and memorable in its original telling Romney could make the i flip-flopped because of carefully weighing new information. As it is, his sudden conversion and choice of Ryan ( shadow of Todd Akins) as his running mate, makes it all seem like very cynical pandering. If he’ll sell women down the river to win the presidency, he has the kind of morally corrupt world view that does not bode well for good governance. For those who have not already made up their minds who read Romney’s actual agenda, he is a member of the same ideological swamp as Todd Akins (see here, Paul Ryan claims rape is a “method of conception”) and here, Why Mitt Romney Is a Threat to Women’s Health

Gov. Romney would repeal the Affordable Care Act and take no-cost preventive care away from the 20.4 million nonelderly adult women who have already gained access to such care through the Affordable Care Act.

Family planning

Title X is our nation’s family-planning program. Title X clinics provided contraception to 4,683,290 women in 2008, which helped avert an estimated 973,000 unintended pregnancies. That same year there were 5,047,030 women under the age of 20 alone in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Every year Planned Parenthood provides contraception to 2.2 million patients. Contraception accounts for one-third of the services its health centers provide.

This hatred of contraception, which is  a symptom of the conservative campaign against women having dominion over their own bodies and reproductive choices has always created a contradiction for conservatives who say they want fewer abortions. One easy practical way to achieve a lower abortion rate and respect women as having the full rights of citizenship, is to make access to contraception and health care as easy as possible, not as difficult as possible.

Jonathan Chait notes an odd coincidence, Ryan Budget, Constitution Turn Out to Be Same

One of the odder mental pathologies that has emerged over the last few years on the American right is the belief that the Republican Party’s current preferred economic program is the sole legitimate claimant to the tradition of the U.S. Constitution. (“Current” is the key word here — the belief system leans heavily on the unstated premise that policies advocated by the party up until three years ago, like the individual mandate, are wildly unconstitutional.)

Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti has a column in the Weekly Standard that offers an entertaining window into this form of madness. It begins with broad paeans to liberty and the Founding Fathers and so on. Then Continetti embarks on the task of establishing the vital role played by right-wing economic policy.

[   ]…And so, by the following paragraph, the reader is prepared for a full-on litany:

Here is what independence might look like: A responsible budget would tame the debt by addressing the unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare through a combination of increasing the retirement age, tying benefits to longevity and inflation, and introducing premium support. Medicaid would be block-granted. Its maintenance-of-effort regulations would be liberalized.

Of course! Even a cursory familiarity with the views of the Founding Fathers makes it perfectly clear that they wanted a national old-old pension system to cover those over the age of 67, not 65, and that the federal government should provide health insurance to the elderly only, via subsidizing private insurance vouchers rather than direct reimbursement of medical providers, which they would have regarded as utter tyranny.

As much admirable ideals as one can find in the writings of Founders such as Madison, Jefferson and Adams they provided for a government run by and for white males. Jefferson had regrets about that his entire life, but it was what it was. One of the very first issues to face the new U.S.A. was the Whiskey Rebellion – “in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who sold their grain in the form of whiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly resented. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton’s program to pay off the national debt.” The modern conservative movement would be ready for pitchforks, tar and feathers to go after Washington. Not paying taxes has become the highest order of patriotism for the Right. An ideological rigidity not shared by THE Founding Father.

Paul Buchheit does the math. We could go the radical conservative route and punish the working poor and middle-class with more taxes, higher retirement ages for benefits, take away health care from low-income women, sell off all the national parks to the Koch brothers or we could get people like Sheldon Abelson to pay their fair share of taxes – Taxes Avoided by the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit

2. Corporate tax avoidance is between $250 billion and $500 billion.

There are numerous examples of tax avoidance by the big companies, but the most outrageous fact may be that corporations decided to drastically cut their tax rates after the start of the recession. After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, they’ve paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes. Worse yet, it’s a $500 billion shortfall from the 35% statutory corporate tax rate.

3. Tax haven losses range from $337 billion to $500 billion.

The Tax Justice Network estimated in 2011 that $337 billion is lost to the U.S. every year in tax haven abuse. It’s probably more. A recent report placed total hidden offshore assets at somewhere between $21 trillion and $32 trillion. Using the lesser $21 trillion figure, and considering that about 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals are Americans, and factoring in an annual 6% stock market gain based on historical records, the tax loss comes to $500 billion.

Conservative sugar-daddy Adelson is a good example of the wacky and yes, deeply un-American priorities of the far Right – GOP Casino Baron Sheldon Adelson Pledges $500,000 To Buy A Single House Seat

Sheldon Adelson, the multi-billionaire casino mogul who already spent at least $5 million to help keep Republicans in control of the House next year, reportedly pledged $500,000 to just one House candidate, New Jersey Republican candidate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

While half-a-million dollars sure sounds like a lot of money, it is chump change to Mr. Adelson. The casino czar’s net worth is just shy of $25 billion, or more than the gross domestic product of nearly two dozen nations put together. Indeed, Adelson is so rich that if he decided to give half a million dollars to every single Republican nominee for every House and Senate seat in the country, and to do so every single election cycle until his vast fortune ran out, he would have enough money to fund the GOP’s election machine for the next 186 years:

GOP Casino Baron Sheldon larger graphic

Conservative billionaires are happy to spend millions buying politicians and election rather than pay less than that on their fair share of taxes. Adelson has given about $9.9 million to the pro Romney PAC Restore Our Future, you know so he can get Paul Ryan’s proposed tax cuts. Does having extreme amounts f money rot the brain? Exxon Mobil paid $138 million in lobbying expenditures on a ten-year period. In 2009 they paid zero taxes and got a tax rebate of $156 million. It is paying more in lobbying than it is on taxes. Bank of America employees contributed $11 million to federal political campaigns from 2001 to 2010. They paid  $24 million for lobbying during the same period. BoA pocketed $4.4 billion in profits in 2010 while receiving a tax refund of $1.9 billion. According to Romney, Ryan, the Republican party and every radical conservative web site corporate America has such a terrible tax burden they cannot afford to hire workers. Maybe they could hire more workers if they paid less to lobbyists.

Marble statue of three suffragists by Adelaide Johnson in the Capitol crypt, Washington, D.C.

Anthony, Susan B.–(Susan Brownell),–1820-1906
Mott, Lucretia,–1793-1880
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady,–1815-1902

The first picket line – College day in the picket line. 1917 Feb. Women protesting for the right to vote.

“The more women at work the sooner we win! Women are needed also as […] See your local U.S. Employment Service.” WW II era poster from the U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943. Office of War Information. Bureau of Public Inquiries. 1943.

Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony.

Frederick Douglass was an antislavery advocate, but he was also an advocate for the right of women to vote,

Born into slavery in 1817 or 1818, Frederick Douglass (1817?-1895) became one of the most outspoken advocates of abolition and women’s rights in the 19th century. Believing that “Right is of no sex, truth is of no color,” Douglass urged an immediate end to slavery and supported Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other women’s rights activists in their crusade for woman suffrage.

“In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express our conviction that all political rights which it is expedient for man to exercise, it is equally so for women. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being, is equally true of woman; and if that government is only just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in making and administering the laws of the land. Our doctrine is, that “Right is of no sex.” ( Douglass speech to the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. 1848)