Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Romney's Bitter Pill

Partly in an effort to reduce speculation that he's playing to an audience outside of Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney has graced us with the reasons he came back from his vacation in New Hampshire to veto the emergency contraception bill in a Boston Globe Editorial.

I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state's democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.
Not attempted to impose his own views? What was vetoing the emergency contraception bill, then? His veto is an attempt to halt the very democratic process he says he respects, particularly since the bill passed by
veto-proof majorities in both houses. Sure, governor Romney is himself part of that process too, but during his campaign he said he favored emergency contraception, so if anyone voted for him on the basis of this issue, they were misled.

The only thing that this veto accomplishes, as far as I can tell, is that it gives Romney the chance to highlight how he's different from most people in Massachusetts. While this may play well to a national Republican audience, it certainly can't be good for his re-election chances. With the makeup of the Supreme Court tilting more to the right, the position of the governor on reproductive rights is more and more important. "I won't change existing law" only goes so far with voters on either side for whom this is an important issue.

Kerry Healey once said that there wasn't "a dime of difference" between then-candidate Romney and his 2002 Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien when talking about reproductive rights. I guess Yogi Berra had it backwards; a dime ain't worth a nickel anymore.