Is Mitt Romney a Marxist? The multi-millionaire who believes corporations are people, too, and who is running for capitalist-in-chief, is a genuine Marxist. Groucho, not Karl.

His campaign theme should be, in Groucho’s words, “I have my principles, and if you don’t like them, I have others,” an idea that has guided his political pilgrimage from Massachusetts to the national stage.

Back in ancient history he ran for the Senate in the very blue state of Massachusetts in 1994 and vowed he’d be a stronger supporter of gay rights than the incumbent, Ted Kennedy. In 2002 he was elected governor, and enacted the nation’s most progressive healthcare reform law. But with 20/400 hindsight and short-term memory loss, the 65-year-old presidential candidate now claims he was actually “severely conservative” back in those days.

He was pro-choice back then as well. In a debate with Kennedy he said, “we should sustain and support” Roe v. Wade “and the right of a woman to make that choice.” He promised to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

But not for long. As his focus shifted to the national stage he made another 180 and declared, “I am firmly pro-life.”

Former Sen. Arlen Specter has said, “Mitt Romney has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen.”

Gay rights and same-sex marriage presented another Romney pirouette.

When Barack Obama finally “evolved” into supporting same-sex marriage (although he did nothing to legislate that view), Romney quickly declared his opposition and, as a believer in state’s rights on this and other issues, insisted that was a decision to be left to the individual states, not the federal government.

Then, contradicting himself, he called for an amendment to the federal constitution prohibiting all states from permitting the practice.

When he ran for governor he promised to defend and expand the rights of gays and lesbians despite his personal opposition to samesex marriage and civil unions, but when the first test arrived, he flunked. Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2003, and Romney immediately set about trying to block the ruling and impose his own views, in part by trying to invoke a 19thcentury state law against interracial marriage. He failed.

When right-wing homophobes in his party demanded a gay foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, get the boot because of his sexual preference, Romney did nothing to keep him onboard. Grenell took one for the team, saying he resigned of his own free will and not mentioning a gutless candidate who wouldn’t stand up to the bigots.

Mitt the Marxist insisted he does not hire people “based on... their sexual preference,” but he had a different principle when dumping them to pander to extremists like the American Family Association.

Romney’s views on climate change are a lot like the weather – continually changing. He went from saying human activity contributed to the problem to claiming he was clueless – possibly the one honest statement he has made in the past two years.

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he told contributors at a closed-door fundraiser last year. That’s not what he wrote only a year earlier in his book No Apology: “I believe that climate change is occurring.... I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.”

That led The New York Times to observe, “On climate change as on other issues, he has transformed himself, bit by reactionary bit.... Today he is a proclaimed skeptic on global warming, a champion of oil and other fossil fuels, a critic of federal efforts to develop cleaner energy sources and a sworn enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

When he ran for the Senate against Kennedy, a prominent advocate of national health insurance, Romney said he was “willing to vote” for legislation which included a federal health insurance mandate. Later, as governor, he enacted a plan with that and many other features making up the Obama plan Romney now rejects.

“Some of the best features of [Obama’s] healthcare plan are like ours,” he said in an interview with the Emory University student newspaper, including “an individual responsibility for getting insurance [a.k.a. the individual mandate].”

In 2002 Romney refused to sign an anti-tax pledge because he considered it “government by gimmickry,” but by 2007 did another U-turn and took Grover Norquist’s no-new-taxes-or-increases pledge.

When it comes to cutting taxes, Romney believes in starting at home. In 2005 he proposed, passed and signed a law cutting $78 million in capital gains tax cuts for 278 wealthy individuals, including Mitt Romney.

The self-avowed job creator actually exported Massachusetts jobs overseas while governor. At Bain Capital he helped outsource American jobs to China, which he now accuses of “cheating” and “stealing American jobs.”

He opposed the auto industry bailout – until it proved successful. Then he tried to take credit for it.

A Buffalo News editorial noted that the presumptive GOP nominee has shifted positions so much since his Massachusetts days, notably on health care reform, that “Romney appears to have developed selective amnesia as he panders to the conservative right. He wants Americans to forget his own record.”

The Etch a Sketch has become the symbol of the Romney campaign, if not the man himself.

Although Romney isn’t the first totally opportunistic politician, he may be the most prolific and consistent. But while he may be perpetually changing positions on nearly everything else, there is one consistency: his devotion to corporate America and his fellow multi-millionaires.

Romney’s changing views are neither revolutionary nor evolutionary but the cynical calculations of an ambitions man who deep down is very shallow and willing to do or say whatever it takes to garner another few million dollars or few million votes.

©2012 DouglasMBloomfield bloomfieldcolumn@gmail.com

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