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A Defense of Mitt Romney On Abortion, and Why It is Besides The Point

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[Re-published from 2008Central.net]

Marc Ambinder on Romney and abortion:

Mitt Romney is simply struggling to explain the Republican Party’s conventional pro-life position. Which is: overturn Roe v. Wade. And then, slowly build up public support for a constitutional amendment banning abortions. ETA: 30 years or more.

This is not a flip-flop.

The reason why Romney is struggling to explain the complicated two-step is that he is relatively new to the dance. Pro-life activists who have been in the trenches for years are very comfortable with the nuance and subtlely of their beliefs and know how to translate them into morsels for the media’s consumption. This measured, incremental approach — relatively new to the movement — has been successful in many ways.

He’s right – that’s not a flip-flop, and if that’s what Romney is advocating (and Ambinder is very well sourced), Romney has a fighting chance to explain himself out of it. The problem for Romney is that he’s apparently very bad at explaining himself. You can look at the discussion in the comment section in the post I made yesterday. It’s clear to people who know Romney what his position is, but the problem is that it’s not clear at all to anyone else. And if Romney can not help himself out, he’s not going to get too much help from the press.

I would think that with all the prep work that Romney has gone through in advance of all the debates that he would be more comfortable explaining his position on abortion (it’s not -that- confusing. really, it isn’t. For all the talk about nuance and subtlely, Americans deal with far more complicated issues on an everyday basis).

The challenge for Romney will be finding the discipline to clearly explain himself. Republicans claim to be pining for someone in the vein of the ‘Great Communicator’ and Democrats are tired of the Bush Administration’s dodging of what they feel are clear issues. This year is not the year to run if you can not explain your positions, no matter how nuanced they are. That’s the real lesson here.

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