Romney’s Governorship Gives Unclear Precedent
With Election Day only one week away, many voters are still unsure as to what each candidate will accomplish as president of the United States.
For President Obama, voters can look back on the past four years and reflect on whether or not they agree with the decisions he made. For Mitt Romney however, voters have to look at Romney’s service as governor of Massachusetts.
One of the biggest indicators of what Romney will do as president, and a clear disagreement between the two candidates, is the issue of health care.
John Zaller, a professor of political science at UCLA, referred to health care as “the most important driver of change in national politics.”
Romney’s enactment of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform legislation, otherwise known as Romneycare, is a clear indication of what he intends to support as president in terms of health care.
On other issues, however, Romney has been less clear. Throughout his campaign and career as Massachusetts governor, Romney has been accused of being inconsistent.
“People who vote for Romney are rolling the dice,” said Joel Aberbach, a professor of political science at UCLA. “It is not possible to know whether President Romney will be the Romney of the Republican platform, the Romney that was governor of Massachusetts, or the Romney of one of the presidential debates.”
USA Today reported that in looking back at Romney’s career as governor, his record has proven extremely different from his current views. This change in ideas is what prompted Obama to accuse Romney of “forgetting” his earlier views and having “Romneysia.”
Yet this flip-flopping of ideas has also been analyzed as a successful and pragmatic strategy for winning over different types of voters.
“He took moderately liberal positions as necessary to win and govern in Massachusetts, moved right as necessary to win in Republican presidential primaries and has most recently moved toward the center in the hopes of winning the presidential election,” Zaller said. “One can deride this as flip-floppery or praise it as democratic responsiveness.”
One thing Romney has made clear throughout his campaign is his background not as a politician but as a businessman. This is reflected in some of the policies he encountered in Massachusetts such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. While he initially supported this policy, Romney ultimately pulled Massachusetts out of the plan when he could not ensure that there would be caps on the fees charged to businesses that exceeded emission limits.
According to USA Today, Romney had certain balance as governor. He wasn’t anti-environment but was also very concerned about the potential regulations and their effects on employers.
Romney has stood strong with his stance on health care as well as his portrayal as a businessman, however many of his other viewpoints are in question.
“He has contradicted himself a lot," Aberbach said, "and with Romney it is just really hard to know what will actually happen."
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the 2012 election here.
Reach Staff Reporter Emily Goldberg here.