THE STUMP OCTOBER 26, 2011
Well, that didn't take long. One day after being ridiculed for showing up at a phone bank in Ohio that was making calls on behalf of upholding Ohio's Senate Bill 5, the new law aimed at public employee unions, but refusing to actually endorse the law (as he did back in June), Mitt Romney has flipped back again. On a visit to Virginia today, he declared that he was "110 percent" for the Ohio ballot issue to uphold the law.
"I fully support Gov. Kasich's Question 2 in Ohio," Romney said. "I'm sorry if I created any confusion there."
No, no confusion at all. Rather, the episode has provided a great deal of clarity about the dilemma that principled conservatives have on their hands, with a candidate leading the Republican pack who can't be counted on to endorse a major element of his party's current mission -- reining in public employee unions -- as soon as the issue starts to look like a political loser, as it has in Ohio.
Actually, Romney's explanation today does produce some more confusion about an entirely different issue, the new health care law. Romney said he did not weigh in on the union measure because he was not familiar with the other measures that the phone bank was making calls on and uncertain how he stood on those. But the other big measure that the volunteers were promoting was Issue 3, which would allow Ohioans to opt out of the individual insurance mandate in the new health care law. That mandate, of course, is modeled on the Massachusetts health care law that Romney signed in 2006, which be believes has worked wonders for his state but which he says should not be forced on other states. By that logic, he should be foursquare behind that Ohio ballot measure as well, right? Why was there any need to waffle on that one either?
Ah well, just wait another day and there may be a new answer. (Existential query: what comes after a flip-flop? Another flip? A flap? A flup?)