Earlier today Mitt Romney refused to take a position on either of the two big ballot initiatives coming up for a vote in Ohio, even though he was visiting Ohio to meet with conservative supporters of the proposals:
It was an absolutely mystifying hedge, but for Romney, par for the course. And Greg Sargent reports
, it reminded at least one conservative group why it doesn't trust Mitt Romney:
Now Romney’s reluctance on the issue has drawn a harsh response from a powerful conservative player: The Club for Growth. A spokesman for the group, Barney Keller, pointed out that Romney did in fact support right to work legislation in New Hampshire last year, despite his current stance on Ohio, and offered this scathing response:
“The big problem many conservatives have with Mitt Romney is that he’s taken both sides of nearly every issue important to us. He’s against a flat tax, now he’s for it. He says he’s against ObamaCare, but was for the individual mandate and susbidies that are central to ObamaCare. He thinks that collective bargaining issues should be left for states to decide if he’s Ohio, but he took the opposite position when he was in New Hampshire. This is just another statement in a long line of statements that will raise more doubts about what kind of President Mitt Romney would be in the minds of many Republican primary voters.”
Brutal indeed, because it goes to the core problem with Mitt Romney: You cannot trust anything he says because he'll say whatever he thinks it will take to win. And Dave Weigel reports that FreedomWorks was equally damning of Romney:
"I’m not happy with Romney about his silence on Issues 2 and 3," said Brendan Steinhauser, FreedomWorks's director of state campaigns, in an e-mail, "but then again, I’m not surprised. He doesn’t believe in what we believe in –- nor is he willing to fight for these ideas. We are working VERY hard in Ohio for these campaigns and he is only interested in his own ambition to be president. Kasich = Courage and Romney = Empty Suit."
The really strange thing about Romney's decision to hedge this morning is that in the past he has explicitly endorsed at least one of them. Check out his Facebook page from June as captured by ModernEsquire at Plunderbund:
Better Ohio is the group behind the campaign seeking to preserve Ohio Governor John Kasich's union-busting SB5 through ballot issue #2. But even though Romney explicitly endorsed them and their position in June, today he took the fifth, saying that he hadn't had enough time to review the measure's fine print. Either Romney is lying about that or in June he endorsed something he didn't understand. Whatever the case, the whole purpose of his visit today was to thank the volunteers who were pushing Kasich's position, and he said he supported Kasich's reforms. So even as he refused to take a position, he was actually sort of taking a position.
If this all sounds confusing and strange and weird, well, that's because Mitt Romney's handling of this is confusing and strange and weird. In fact, the only thing that's clear about it is that Mitt Romney never really means what he says.
3:10 PM PT: Rick Perry jumps aboard the bash Mitt Romney bandwagon.