by Jared Skye
There is growing concern in the GOP field that two of its star players may be having some issues staying with their own narratives. Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are two very likely candidates for the Presidency of the United States, however there has been noted criticism of the “back and forth” nature of their stances. Whether you call it being disingenuous, “flip-flopping”, or anything else, the fact remains that they haven’t exactly stayed on point with some key issues.
For both Romney and Gingrich, the biggest pieces of ammo against them have been their fluctuating stances on healthcare, abortion, and immigration. During his time as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney oversaw a healthcare plan that had a very heavy government involvement. In fact, many policy analysts have seen very strong comparisons between Romney’s healthcare history as a legislator, and the one that President Barack Obama has put forward in recent years. Despite his advocacy of similar policies in the past, Romney has come out strongly against the supposed “Obamacare” initiative with scorn and derision.
In terms of Gingrich’s policies on state-funded medical coverage, he has shown a prolific level of flip-flopping on his beliefs. On one hand, he has come out in the past as an enemy of the public option, however he has recently come out in support of Paul Ryan’s medicare proposals. The most contentious of these proposals is Gingrich’s support of so-called “block grants” that would be given to states so they could design public healthcare options of their choosing. While some would say this is consistent with a position on strong state’s rights, others contend that it is an obvious show of support for public healthcare.
Romney’s stances on abortion have also changed greatly over the years. For example, in 2002 Romney was a supporter of state sponsored abortions. He advocated care when discerning the situations under which abortion should be considered, but he was still supportive of it in both speeches and in his “Romneycare” initiative. However, he has recently come out strongly as a “Pro-Life” candidate, especially when the Iowa straw-poll was coming up.
Gingrich has shown a similar willingness to consider abortions as a reasonable practice under certain conditions. He has in the past supported federal funding of abortions in certain cases, and has openly supported stem-cell research in the past as well. Even now, he breaks with the “consistency” of his party’s general beliefs on abortion. While many in the GOP field believe that life begins at fertilization, Gingrich has stated that he believes it happens at “successful implantation”.
In reality, the one area where Romney and Gingrich really differ from each other is the arena of immigration. Romney was once a supporter of amnesty plans in the middle and late parts of the last decade, however he has shifted to a much more hard-lined stance recently. He has stated that all immigrants in this country illegally should be forced to leave, no matter how long they’ve been here or if they pay taxes. Conversely, New Gingrich has stated firmly that he believes that a more open approach is required on illegal immigration. He has stated that he would support a measure to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the US if they can prove they’ve been here for at least 25 years. The idea, according to Gingrich, is that it would simply be inhumane to break up children of illegal immigrants from their parents– after all, these children would themselves be citizens and not subject to deportation with their parents. On both counts, Romney and Gingrich have shown waffling on this subject, and this has led many in their party to question the validity of their positions.
No matter how you characterize it, it’s a change in stance. Whether this is indicative of their “evolution” on the issues or kowtowing to the pressures of their party remains to be seen.