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Open Letter To RedState, Part III: Various Misunderstandings

In Part I and Part II of this open letter, we discussed two concerns at length, health care and abortion. I want to thank all who have read and commented. I value each of your thoughts, as I hope you value mine. In this third “chapter,” we will continue discussing the issues. Much of the information provided comes from WhyRomney.com, which I co-founded. Additional sources and information are available at that site.

With the recent buzz about whether or not Mitt supported John Kasich’s effort in Ohio, this seems like a good place to start. None of us can read minds, but we can certainly do detective work and try to see what happened.

Mitt came under fire for telling reporters, “I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues.” My first reaction was to consider that Sarah Palin also avoided answering reporters on her recent bus tour, and I applauded her for that at the time.

But then Politico pointed out that Mitt had already expressed support for Kasich’s laws, back in June. That fact, combined with the fact that Romney made his statement while visiting a phone bank where people were making calls in support of Kasich’s reforms, made me curious.

Then, the next day, Romney gave this explanation: “What I was referring to is I know there are other ballot questions there in Ohio and I wasn’t taking a position on those.” He added that he supports Kasich “110%.”

There are two other initiatives, making three total. If Romney’s explanation is true, then he was not refusing to take a position on the collective-bargaining measure but was only refusing to take a position on the other two initiatives.

And when we look at his original statement in context, he indeed implied he was talking about only two of the three initiatives. He said: “I’m not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives.”

Here’s more context:

“I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s efforts here.”

So we can see his original statement is not only consistent with his claim that he was talking about only two of the three measures, but it also shows him expressing support for “the Republican Party’s efforts here,” and “the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government.” If that’s not expressing support for the collective-bargaining initiative, then it would be unclear what he was expressing support for.

If someone wants to argue that Romney’s explanation is a lie, I’d like to hear their evidence.

Let’s move to another issue that recently received buzz:

Romney’s Illegal Immigration Record

As most people know by now, Romney did not hire illegal immigrants. He hired a lawn-care agency. But some people are bothered that Romney told the owner of the agency he can’t have illegals on his property since he was “running for office.” However, the illegals were already gone when Romney had that heart-to-heart with the owner. The context of the discussion was the owner asking for a second chance. Romney gave him that second chance, but explained the political reality that people would try to blame him if it happened again. And they have.

Some people think Romney “waited” until his last weeks in office before authorizing state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws. But the word “wait” is misleading, because Romney was waiting for the federal permission. In June of 2006, a number of illegals were found to be working for contractors hired by the government of Massachusetts. When Romney found out, he sent a request to the federal government for permission to tell state agents to enforce federal immigration laws – since the laws in Massachusetts were insufficient and the attorney general was not cooperative. Romney ended up waiting 6 months to hear back from the feds, which is why antagonists claim Romney didn’t tell state troopers to act until a few weeks before he left office – even though he had put in the request much sooner.

Some charge that Mitt Romney supported McCain-Kennedy in 2005 and as Governor instituted sanctuary cities. The reality: sanctuary status was instituted on a city level outside Romney’s purview. With a liberal legislature, no bill outlawing sanctuary cities would have passed. Romney did not endorse McCain’s bill in 2005; in an interview with the Boston Globe he explicitly refused to endorse it. Romney did say in the same interview that the bill was “reasonable,” but the 2007 bill is very different from the 2005 bill; the provisions Romney most strongly objects to, like the z-visa, were not in the 2005 bill. Accordingly, his position did not change when he opposed the 2007 bill, but the bill itself had changed.

Some claim Romney changed his position on illegal immigrants, since he once said that some illegal immigrants should begin a process toward application for citizenship. However, Romney was not proposing that any illegal immigrants should receive a special pathway to citizenship which is not available to people waiting in line in their home countries. Instead, Romney was proposing that some illegal immigrants, because of criminal history or other circumstances, should be barred from applying for citizenship, while those who are paying taxes and not receiving any government benefits should be allowed to get in line along with people in their home countries. Romney clarified, “I am going to tell them to go home, but they start by beginning the process of applying for citizenship. But I do not believe — or applying for permanent residency. They’re not going to be barred from doing that, but they do not get any advantage by having come here illegally.”

Fees

Some people believe Romney’s increases in fees are identical to taxes. On the contrary, Romney saved millions of tax dollars by ending the taxpayer subsidizing of fees. A fee covers the cost for a special good or service provided to an individual by the government; when a fee is not high enough to cover the cost of the service provided, taxpayers end up subsidizing. Romney shifted the burden from the community onto the individual who benefits from the service provided.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, for instance, has accurately stated that he has not raised taxes. He has however raised fees by several billion dollars.  Every state raises fees to keep up with the cost of service. In MA, some fees had not been raised in a very long time.

Some fee-related concerns people have expressed are addressed as follows:

Fuel fee. Romney updated an already existing per-gallon gasoline fee to offset state costs in managing underground fuel storage leaks. At the time, Romney faced a backlog of cleanup claims for the underfunded state program. It is true that in the years since this increase, the fee has generated more revenue than Romney had anticipated. The initial costs, caused by the backlog of claims, were not representative of future costs, due to improved storage tank quality. So that was a mistake, however I think the important thing is that Romney did not spend the surplus but tried to return it to the people. Romney turned a 3 Billion dollar budget deficit crisis into a surplus. He put the surplus in a rainy day fund and tried to give back to the taxpayers most of the 240 million which he estimated had been raised by fees, starting as soon as he began to turn around the economy, prompting the liberal Boston Globe to complain after Romney’s first year in office, “The first signs of life appear in the Massachusetts economy and the governor calls for a $225 million tax cut” (“Romney’s Real Agenda.” The Boston Globe 11 May 2004).

Parking fee at state parks. The taxpayer was paying for the parking space. One parking space costs over 20,000 dollars, not including upkeep, re-pavement, snow removal, security etc. Facing a budget crisis, Romney realized the state could no longer subsidize public leisure. To provide the service, the cost shifted from the taxpayer to the individual who chooses to use the service.

Gun permits. First, when Romney did his update it only raised the fee to $75. The legislature later brought it to $100, which Romney partially compensated for by ordering that people not be charged for replacing of lost or stolen permits, and signing a law allowing permits to expire after 6 years instead of 3. The reason for the fee increase was the MA gun control act of 1998 which declared that the licensing authority is only allowed to keep half of the fee, and the rest goes into a new record-keeping fund. The act also institutes a number of other changes which raise overhead and impacted costs. The people are ultimately responsible for this new fund and all the new regulations and overhead, since they elected their representatives. Thus, the people collectively chose the cost of providing the service, before Romney was Governor. Inflation was also relevant, but unlike most of the fees Romney updated, inflation was only a secondary factor for the increased gun permit costs.

Tax Loopholes

You might be asking, “When Romney closed business tax loopholes, did it not have the same effect as raising taxes?” No, level competition ensures maximum value for the consumer. The law as originally written did not intend for the tax “breaks” in question to be legal. They were oversights. So closing the loopholes does not have the effect of raising taxes but has the effect of applying tax rates evenly, which is a fundamental principle of capitalism. If one business is paying less in taxes because of a loophole, the state is giving them an unfair advantage over their competitors. Because of this unfair advantage they do not need to offer as high of a quality of product or service in order to compete, which means the state is interfering in free market competition, and capitalism suffers. Romney repeatedly proposed tax cuts in MA, but the legislature wouldn’t go along with it. Lower tax rates are good, but applying tax rates evenly – without loopholes – is also good.

Ronald Reagan explained that tax loopholes “should be corrected”:

Mr. Weisman. But in addition to that, you’re also talking about loopholes, tax breaks, whatever you want to call it.

The President. I hesitate, I won’t answer that now, as to what all will be in the study. We are, as I said before, in our present proposal, we are changing some that we believe, while they were undoubtedly well-intentioned, they have led to some taking an, getting an advantage that is denied to others. Where that is true, then that should be corrected, whether you have a deficit or have a tax reform or not.

Taxes

Some have claimed the total tax burden in MA went up under Romney. This falsely implies that Romney raised taxes. In truth, some communities in MA chose to raise property taxes at the local level which Romney had no control over. Romney did reduce state aid to local communities, but conservatives understand that raising taxes is never necessary.

Some people assert that Romney raised capital gains tax rates. In truth, the tax increase was enacted before Romney was elected governor but took effect during Romney’s term after having been tied up in court for several years. Critics are unable to point to any tax increases from Romney. Moreover, they fail to note that Romney repeatedly proposed tax cuts, which were shot down by the Democratic MA legislature, starting as soon as he began to turn around the economy, prompting the liberal Boston Globe to complain after Romney’s first year in office, “The first signs of life appear in the Massachusetts economy and the governor calls for a $225 million tax cut.”

Global Warming

Here’s a sample of what Romney said, in his hardcover, pages 227-230:

“I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control. I do not support radical feel-good policies … Of course, there are also reasons for skepticism. The earth may be getting warmer, but there have been numerous times in the earth’s history when temperatures have been warmer than they are now … If developing nations won’t curb emissions, even extreme mitigation measures taken by the United States and other developed nations will have no appreciable effect on slowing the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Clearly, Romney opposes cap-and-trade and any other economically harmful actions. He favors expanding natural gas and nuclear power, and other actions to make us energy independent.

Some may have jumped to a false conclusion about Romney’s position because Romney acknowledges that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and therefore contributes “some” to warming, but he says he doesn’t know how much. See more details here. http://www.whyromney.com/qanda.php#globalwarming Everyone seems to acknowledge that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, including Rush and Glenn Beck.

At the Reagan Library debate, Rick Perry also implied that mankind has some impact and he does not know how much:

Perry said, at the Reagan Library debate:

“The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we’re going to put America’s economics in jeopardy.”

On this issue, Mitt uses more “honey” than “vinegar” in his rhetoric, but the substance of his position is solidly conservative.

Gun Control

Too many misconceptions exist on this issue to cover here, but I highly suggest this page for information.

On that page you will find, among a great deal of other sourced information, praise for Romney from the NRA and other pro-gun groups, including praise for his so-called “assault weapons ban” which was actually a downgrade to the previous Massachusetts law.

The clip on Youtube everyone has seen is actually in the context of Romney answering a question about a MA gun law he opposed, so despite the phraseology he used in the answer, he wasn’t expressing support for all Massachusetts gun laws. He is guilty of couching his support for the right to own guns in “hunting” language, though not exclusively, so you could accuse him of waffling by omission by not revealing the extent of his pro-gun views which earned him so much praise when he actually governed.

Panelist: “Massachusetts recently passed what was advertised as the most restrictive gun-ownership law in the country. If a repeal of the 1998 gun law was to reach your desk, as governor would you sign it or veto it?”

Romney: “Well, I likewise did not support that legislation, and likewise felt that having individuals that previously had been convicted of felonies have the right to purchase firearms was not a good idea. I likewise support the right of law abiding citizens to be able to purchase firearms for hunting purposes and target practice and so forth. We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they help protect us and provide for our safety, but I want our law abiding citizens likewise to have the right to purchase and use a weapon for hunting and other purposes.”

Death Penalty

Some people charge a “flip-flop” on the death penalty because, while Governor, Mitt Romney did not execute any criminals. The truth is, Massachusetts does not have the death penalty. Executions would have been illegal. Romney actively fought for a death penalty, filing before the state legislature on April 28, 2005, “An Act Reinstating Capital Punishment In The Commonwealth,” however the legislature voted against the act, House Bill 3834.

Social Security

Some accuse Romney of changing his position on social security because he is now considering reforms to social security yet in 1994 he said, “I don’t think you go back and rewrite the contract the government has with people who’ve retired.” However, not only have circumstances changed since 1994, but Romney’s positions are not contradictory. Guaranteeing promised benefits to retired seniors does not mean social security cannot be altered for those who are not retired, such as through personal accounts or changing the retirement age.

More recently, some have accused Romney of hypocrisy for criticizing Rick Perry over his social security views, because Romney allegedly called social security a “criminal enterprise.” However, it was not Romney but Perry who used those words  in describing Romney’s position.

It’s very different to attack Congress for hurting something than to attack the thing itself. Romney has consistently defended social security.

What Romney actually said:

“To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their social security. In 1982, the government raised social security taxes with the intention of creating a surplus that could be set aside in some fashion for the baby boomers when they retired. But for the last thirty years, the surplus has been spent, not on retirement security, but on regular budget items.

“Let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing. Suppose two grandparents created a trust fund, appointed a bank as trustee, and instructed the bank to invest the proceeds of the trust fund so as to provide for their grandchildren’s education. Suppose further that the bank used the proceeds for it’s own purposes so that when the grandchildren turned 18, there was no money for them to go to college. What would happen to the bankers responsible for misusing the money? They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to Congress every two years.” (HC, p. 157-58)

To those who say Romney’s position of trying to save social security is not conservative, I quote Ronald Reagan:

“There is no more important domestic issue on which we have to have a national consensus than social security … I am determined that we put social security back on a sound financial footing and restore the confidence and peace of mind of the American public in its social security system … I believe in the social security system. I believe that it will survive and keep its promise to this generation of beneficiaries and those to come.”

Ronald Reagan

Some express concern over Romney’s views on Ronald Reagan, because Romney was an independent during the Reagan-Bush era and said in a 1994 debate that he was “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush,” but later became a big fan of Reagan. However, Romney, who is not a career politician, was involved in the private sector and in raising his family during the Reagan era.

Romney’s political involvement and focus on political issues came later, not unlike many Americans who do not have fully formulated political views. Ronald Reagan himself was a Democrat until the age of 50 when he switched to the Republican party. Like Romney, when Reagan was involved in the private sector he largely stayed out of politics. The more involved Reagan became in politics, the more conservative his views became. For example, Reagan changed from being prochoice to being prolife.

We might also point out that Rick Perry was not an Independent but a Democrat during Reagan’s presidency, and supported Democrats for the Presidency.

Vietnam

accuse Romney of “flip-flopping” because he said in 2007 that in “many respects” he had longed to represent his country in Vietnam, but in 1994 stated that it had not been his desire to serve in Vietnam. However, each quote was made in reference to a different context. The 2007 statement was in reference to himself in the ’60s as a single young man serving as a missionary; the 1994 statement was in reference to himself as a married man with a new child in the ’70s.

In the context of the 2007 statement, Romney was a single young man on a draft deferment for missionary service in France. In the other context, five years later, Romney was married with a new child; his deferment for mission and school had ended and Romney entered the draft lottery. When quoting Romney’s statements, critics leave out the parts of the quotes which contain the context. What Romney actually said in 2007 is: “I really don’t recall thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France. I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”

In 1994, this is what Romney said, in context: “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft. If drafted, I would have been happy to serve, and if I didn’t get drafted I was happy to be with my wife and new child”

Note that when Romney said it had not been his desire to serve in Vietnam, he also explained, in the line critics leave out, that he would have still been “happy” to serve if drafted. In addition to the other context critics leave out, they also fail to mention that Romney’s father publicly dropped his support for the Vietnam war while Mitt was on his mission. When Mitt left on his mission, his father was an avid supporter of Vietnam. When Mitt returned home, his father avidly opposed the war, thereby lessening Mitt’s enthusiasm for serving. Of final note is that the reporter who quoted Mitt in 1994 blundered by asserting, falsely but forgivably, that Romney’s statement about his wife and child was in reference to his “missionary days.”

Bank Bailouts

They claim Mitt Romney changed his position on the bank bailouts, because in Romney’s Feb. 2009 speech at CPAC he said they were “necessary,” but in a Value Voters Summit speech in September 2009 Romney said they were “reason to be alarmed.” However, in context these statements are not contradictory even though they can be made to appear so.

When Romney said they were necessary, he had seconds earlier set up the context for why they were necessary by explaining that Washington politicians had allowed the abuses at Fannie and Freddie which led to the financial crisis, and that “in some cases they encouraged those abuses for political gain.” This is entirely consistent with his later statement that the bailouts were reason to be alarmed. Moreover, when Romney said the bailouts were “reason to be alarmed,” he was listing them as part of a trend of government actions which show the government is not learning but continuing in the wrong direction. Romney has consistently held that the bank bailouts were unfortunate but necessary and the auto bailouts should never have happened and were an abuse of the TARP money.

Minimum Wage

They accuse Romney of changing his position on the minimum wage. However, Romney’s position has been consistent. At one time Romney said the minimum wage “ought to keep pace with inflation” and at another time said that “raising the minimum wage excessively” should be avoided. These two statements are not contradictory even though they can be made to appear so.

Martin Luther King Jr.

They claim Romney fabricated seeing his father march with Martin Luther King, Jr. However, Mitt is not the only one with this impression. Others have taken it further, claiming Mitt’s father, George Romney, and King marched side by side.

Eyewitness Ashby Richardson says she was “only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were.” Another eyewitness, Shirley Basore, recalls, “They were hand in hand.” Wilma Wood Henrickson wrote in her 1991 book “Detroit Perspectives” that “Governor George Romney and Walter Reuther were among the prominent whites marching with Reverend King.” David S. Broder wrote in his 1967 book, The Republican Establishment, that George Romney “has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit.”

Critics claim there are no official records of the two marching together in person. However, the question is not whether Romney actually marched with King but whether King and Romney left the impression they had marched together. Clearly, they did. In addition to Romney giving outspoken support for King, and King commenting favorably on the prospect of Romney becoming president, residents had reason to make a visual association between the two because Michigan television showed both leading marches, with stock footage montaged together. Thus people “saw” them marching together, consistent with the impression expressed by Romney, who was a young teenager during the 1963 March.

Gay Marriage

They claim Romney flipped on gay marriage. The fact is, Romney has consistently opposed gay marriage. When asked in 1994, Romney said: “I line up with Gov. Weld on that … he does not feel at this time that he wishes to extend legalized marriage on a same-sex basis, and I support his position”. When asked again in 2002 if he supported gay marriage, Romney still answered “no.”

Critics also point to Romney’s disagreement with a proposed constitutional amendment concerning gay marriage, House Bill 4840, which was both proposed and shot down prior to Romney becoming governor. However, Romney’s disagreement with the amendment was not over its clause which banned gay marriage, but over a separate clause, which Romney feared “would outlaw domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.” The problem with the amendment is that it falsely implied that Massachusetts law itemized “benefits or incidents exclusive to marriage,” which the amendment prohibits in non-marital relationships. Without itemization in the law, the prohibition was without limit.

When gay marriage came before the MA Supreme Court, Romney fought against the decision which made gay marriage a right. As governor he had to enforce the ruling, which some have faulted him for doing, but critics do not apply that standard to other issues, for instance faulting Pro-Life governors for enabling abortions in their states because of court decisions legalizing abortion.

Civil Unions

They say Romney changed his position on civil unions. In truth, Romney said he opposed civil unions but “would look to protect already established rights and extend basic civil rights to domestic partnerships.” Critics who fail to distinguish legally between a “domestic partnership” and a “civil union” have falsely characterized Romney’s statement as a support of civil unions while neglecting his answer about civil unions in that same questionnaire.

The only instance in which Romney considered civil unions was as a possible downgrade from same-sex marriage as imposed by the state high court. At the time, Romney stated he would prefer to not have either one but felt it was a necessary compromise in order to prohibit gay marriage, which redefines family. In Romney’s exact words, “If the question is: “Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?” I’d say neither; if they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage.”

Gay Rights

They claim Romney has changed his position on gay rights, citing a Romney 1994 statement supporting gay rights. However, the term “gay rights” had a different meaning in 1994 than it does today. Moreover, critics falsely paraphrase Romney’s statement, based on headlines rather than the actual quote from Romney, as a claim that he would be further to the left on the issue than Ted Kennedy.

In fact, what Romney actually said was that Kennedy would be less effective because he is viewed as too extreme: “when Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as a centrist and a moderate.” Critics also cite a letter Romney wrote to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, claiming that Romney said he would not only match but surpass Kennedy’s “record” on gay rights, implying that Romney took the same positions as Kennedy and would take them even further.

However, critics falsely paraphrase Romney, who in reality made his statement in reference to Kennedy’s “considerable record in the area of civil rights,” speaking of civil rights in general terms, not gay rights exclusively. Only then did Romney go on to argue that part of achieving civil rights goals is to “make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” stating that he could do what Kennedy “cannot do,” because “the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party.” Romney said he could “be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts,” which Kennedy clearly could not do.

Gay and Lesbian Youth Groups

They accuse Romney of instituting a Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth which funded speakers and activities for high school children. In truth, Massachusetts had the Commission long before Romney took office. While Romney had power to dissolve the Commission, the people of the state overwhelmingly wanted the Commission; dissolving it would have been a violation of their trust and would have created gridlock.

In the past, the Commission had funding as high as $1.6 million dollars, but Romney brought the funding down to $125,000, which the legislature doubled and Romney the next year settled on the $250,000. Romney explained some of what he liked about the Commission, saying, “The work that they’re doing to prevent suicide and prevent violence is important work, and we support the work which they’re doing.”

In May of 2006, MassResistance presented evidence to Governor Romney which showed that the Commission had been sponsoring inappropriate activities. Upon learning of this, Romney decided to dissolve the Commission, but after a few hours reached a compromise, saying that he would only dissolve it if they did not focus on their “original mission.” This prompted the state legislature to immediately craft a new Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth which the governor would have no power to dissolve, and inserted it into the state budget the following month. Romney vetoed that proposal, but the legislature overrode the veto.

Same-Sex Adoptions

They accuse Romney of not allowing the Catholic Church to exclude gays and lesbians from adopting children through its adoption service. However, Romney disagreed with and fought the decision which caused the imposition on Catholic Charities. After the court legalized gay marriage, Romney had no authority to unilaterally protect the Catholic Church from anti-discrimination laws. Romney had his staff draft a bill to exempt Catholic Charities, but the bill did not pass.

Some have criticized Romney for not taking action against the state Department of Social Services when they named a same-sex couple as “parents of the year” in 2006. However, after the court legalized gay marriage, the same anti-discrimination laws which prevented Romney from protecting Catholic Charities also prevented Romney from penalizing the employees who were involved in determining the “parents of the year,” or from ordering them to only consider opposite-sex candidates.

Boy Scouts

They claim Romney wanted to force the Boy Scouts of America to admit gay scouts. In fact, Romney actually said, “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” but added that he personally believed “all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Critics claim that Romney banned the Boy Scouts from participating in the 2002 Winter Olympics because of their stance on homosexuals. In reality, Scouts were not banned, and according to a local paper, Boy Scouts received “a list of volunteer opportunities they are eligible to participate in,” although they could not serve as regular volunteers due to “the minimum age requirement of 18 years.”

Judicial Appointments

Some claim Romney is not conservative because he did not have a Republican litmus test in his selection of judicial nominees. However, almost all of Romney’s appointments, 30 out of 36, were to lower court positions where judges deal directly with criminals at the district and magistrate levels. Rather than political affiliation, Romney looked for effective prosecutorial experience and a record of being tough on crime. As Romney explained when asked about it, “people on both sides of the aisle want to put the bad guys away.”

Romney also explained that even though he had only a few chances to appoint judges to higher courts, and no chances to appoint anyone to the MA Supreme Judicial Court, in those cases the criteria changes to include “strict construction, judicial philosophy,” which he adhered to in those appointments. In all, only 12.5% of registered voters in Massachusetts are Republican and Romney’s 9 Republican nominees count for 25% of his total judicial appointments, representing Republicans twice as well as they are represented in the general voting public. But more important than political affiliation, Romney’s appointments represent the relevant conservative qualifications.

Remember, Rick Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president, even though Giuliani is pro-choice. “Appointing” someone to the Presidency is far more significant than a low level court position.

Bush Tax Cuts

They accuse Romney of opposing Bush’s tax cuts. In fact, Romney never opposed the Bush tax cuts. In negotiations with a heavily Democratic legislature, Romney chose not to “weigh in on federal issues,” including the cuts.

The false claim was based on speculation in an article for the liberal Boston Globe which cited a quote from an anonymous “observer” at a private meeting but did not seek either a response or clarification from Romney with regards to that quote. Romney maintains that he has always supported the Bush tax cuts, a fact which does not contradict his decision to not distract from where his impact would be most effective, saying as governor: “I see my role as helping do a good job for the people of Massachusetts, and so I’m not going to be playing a political role outside of that.”

Romney, who evidently was never asked by Bush to endorse the tax cuts, never said he would refuse to endorse the tax cuts. The word “refuse,” used by the writer of the article, initially came from a political antagonist, liberal Democratic Representative Barney Frank from MA, whose statement, calculated to weaken Romney, is not an objective characterization.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading my open letter. I look forward to your responses.

Part I and part II

Sincerely,

Ryan Larsen

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