Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Romney's conversion plus

An interesting post from Mark Steyn at NRO’s “The Corner”:

A pro-life candidate who was previously pro-choice could be a great asset and a better sell than someone who’s been pro-life all along. Many people don’t think about the issue terribly much and, if they do, accept the Democrat-Supreme Court-media framing of the issue as one of "personal choice". And, if you come at it from that end, the pro-life-all-along crowd can seem the ones who are doctrinaire and absolutist.

This is an angle that Romney hasn’t played up much. As a “convert” he is, ideally, able to tell those who may be on the fence or not absolutists about what he saw that changed his mind other that his anecdotal story. Surely someone as analytical as Romney had more than a single incident change his mind. Indeed, he should explain how that was just a step in a larger process that played out for him. As of yet he hasn’t done so and that’s why holes are starting to be poked in his story.

By further explanation, he could turn a negative into a huge positive. Right now he looks disingenuous, but if he can further delve into his conversion process, he could not only carry pro-life idealists, but also more moderate voters who aren’t looking for an absolutist and appreciate that a person can think more deeply about an issue.

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Blogger Marc said...

It's an interesting take on the issue. The problems I see with it though is that Romney is not trying to convince the fence-sitters or non-absolutists at this point, he needs to convince the pro-life activists in the Republican base. I'm not sure Romney's conversion story is a plus for this core group of voters, given the National Review's Rich Lowry's take on it: "His account of how he came to change his view on abortion—through the issue of stem-cell research—isn't very compelling and he would probably be better off not talking about it at all."

11:37 PM  

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