The Fourth Possible Romney

Last week, Jason Jones wrote a piece discussing Mitt Romney’s past pro-life (or pro-choice) political record.

Jones is certainly correct that Romney’s pro-life past is hazy at best. But there is an alternative option to the “The Three Possible Romneys” that Jones puts forth.  And it’s not simply “sitting this [election] out,” as Jones recommends.

Jones offers that Romney is either an Empty Vessel (a man with a pliable moral compass), a Manchurian Candidate (lying one way or another to gain office), or a Mercenary (agnostic on the issue of abortion).

There is a Fourth Possible Romney: Convert.


People convert. It happens all the time. I’m as big a cynic as the next guy, but I don’t find it impossible to believe that Romney sincerely changed his views on life issues.

But let’s say he is either an Empty Vessel, a Manchurian Candidate, or a Mercenary, he would still be a far, far better option in the general election than Barack Obama.

Consider the following.

This is President Obama’s long and depressing pro-abortion history. He is not merely a supporter of the pro-choice/pro –Planned Parenthood/pro-abortion platform, he is an activist. This is not just a case of “following the will of the people.” It is undeniable activism.

Romney, on the other hand, was recently pro-choice and has a checkered past on the issue.  But he has changed his stance, which means one of two things: conversion or political machinations. Obviously, it would be better if it were conversion, but even if it were merely a political power play by Romney, he would have to stick his guns or he would be run out of town.

Whatever Romney is, one thing he is not is an abortion activist. And Obama, more than anything else, is an abortion activist.

As a Catholic, you can make a very educated and considered bet that Romney will, at the very least, keep the status quo on abortion and other life issues in this country. Given his recent pro-life record and platform that is heavily peppered with pro-life stances, he will likely go beyond that. Still, at the very least, the issue will remain static under Romney. And that is far, far better than electing an avowed abortion activist, who has already caused so much damage, to a second term.

We need positive change, to be sure, when it comes to abortion in this country. But we also need to stop the bleeding. Romney will, if nothing else, stop the bleeding. And that is a good first step. It is certainly better than another four years of the active promotion of abortion, Planned Parenthood, and contraception.

If your conscience tells you that Romney is bad news and you just can’t vote for him, then by all means, don’t. Not only is it well within your rights, it’s your moral obligation.

But the issue is not as simple as Jones presents it. A vote for no one, is one less vote Obama has to overcome.

Is Romney the most pro-life GOP candidate? No. Is he more pro-life than Barack Obama? Absolutely. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. And, personally, I’m not going to vote for Romney in the primary. That’s where Jones’s argument makes sense. Romney has a history of supporting big government. And his pro-life stance is not as solid as some of the other GOP candidates.

There’s a lot of ground to be made up in the abortion wars. And there are better candidates than Romney to take up the pro-life banner. For that, and other reasons, he won’t be getting my primary vote.

But we should be careful before staying home on election day if Romney gets the nomination. Given the choice to vote for Romney, Obama, or no one, Romney will get my vote.

I hope it doesn’t come to that, but Barack Obama is such a menace to the pro-life cause that anything less would be a significant improvement.

With Romney, at worst, you’re getting someone who either doesn’t care or doesn’t know what he thinks. One thing he knows for certain, however, is what his base thinks. If he’s really only angling for political power, he knows better than anyone that it would be political suicide to start promoting the pro-abortion cause once in office.

At best, he’s a true convert. It’s not unheard of. There was once a politician who was pro-choice and later became a champion of life. His name was Ronald Reagan. You’ve probably heard of him. I think he has a stained –glass window at the Republican National Headquarters.

Romney’s not Ronald Reagan, of course. But he’s also not an abortion activist, like Obama. If Romney comes out of the Republican primary with the nomination, Catholics need to think long and hard before dismissing him. Even if we can only halt the pro-abortion movement’s momentum and catch our breaths, it will be better than four more years of anti-life, anti-Catholic legislation.


After a brief career restoring timber-framed barns, Christian Tappe worked as an editor for Regnery and ISI Books. He is currently Editor of Saint Benedict Press/TAN Books in Charlotte, NC.

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