Mitt Romney has been taking a lot of heat, and deservedly, for his refusal to sign the Susan B. Anthony List‘s 2010 Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge. This was a pledge almost tailor-made for Romney to sign–as Penny Nance over at Concerned Women for America‘s blog notes, Romney had much to gain and little to lose:
I understand pledges may not mean much when it comes right down to it, but Mitt Romney especially stood to gain a lot with a show of support for basic pro-life principles. Many social conservatives view his candidacy with skepticism because he was against pro-life freedom before he was for it. Not to sign the pledge is a strategic error on his part if he means to solidify his support among pro-life Americans, a number that is growing.
After all, the four promises in the pledge are very predictable policy goals that anyone who knows anything about the contemporary state of pro-life politics would be unsurprised to find there. An already wishy-washy candidate like Romney, who claims to be pro-life while supporting the abortion of children conceived through rape and incest, is given a lot of cover by a pledge that sticks to basic, near-term policy goals rather than asking for definitive ideological commitments. Not only does Romney’s refusal to sign the pledge re-ignite concerns about his views on abortion–it makes it seem that he is no longer even concerned about appearing it be pro-life.
Romney’s flat-out opposition to some of the provisions in the pledge indicates that may be the case. Top Romney adviser Jim Talent had this to say to FOX News about the SBA pledge plank “to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services”:
Talent went on to say that Romney’s decision was based on what the campaign said are overly broad requirement of the pledge that would prohibit the consideration of any pro-choice appointee, even if that appointment is for a non-health-related position.
“He (Romney) doesn’t want to say he’s disqualified from considering people who may not agree with him on everything on that issue for a job like FBI director, ” said Talent.
That’s pretty damning. An admission from the top levels of Romney’s organization that Candidate Romney wants to appoint pro-aborts to the Department of Justice–in leadership roles like director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, no less. The FBI is the division of DOJ that in a pro-life administration would be responsible for investigating Planned Parenthood.