So it's tempting to dismiss reports of a certain plank in the GOP's 2012 platform as red meat for the chumps. We''ll call it "the Todd Akin plank."
The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for "a human life amendment" to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday.
"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the draft platform declares. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
This runs counter to Mitt Romney's supposed position that abortion should be legal in instances of rape -- I say "supposed position" because Romney swaps policy stances as often as he changes his socks.
Mitt's current position on abortion is actually his fourth. As a senatorial candidate and later liberal Governor of Massachusetts, Romney was vocally pro-choice. When it became clear that a pro-choice candidate could never be nominated for the presidency by today's Republican party, Romney became as anti-abortion as it was possible to be, endorsing the very constitutional amendment spelled out in the plank above. As always, Romney's position depended on what his audience wanted to hear, so he also took to saying that the issue ought to be left up to the states -- which contradicts the amendment position, since a constitutional amendment would ban abortion nationwide, states be damned.
Now, Romney says he'd make an exception for rape -- which also contradicts his earlier support for the "human life amendment." You've got to write this stuff down to keep it straight.
As I've said, Romney's position depends on what his audience wants to hear. Right now, his audience is national, the nation is outraged at Todd Akin, so Romney is very, very disappointed with Rep. Akin as well. But at the convention, Mitt's audience will be red meat Republicans -- many of whom are so "pro-life" that they'd execute doctors for performing abortions (yeah, I'm not sure they actually understand what "pro" means when applied to the word "life") and many of whom believe Akin is a hero. Whose butt do you think he'll spend most of his time kissing then?
Again, normally a political party's planks are a joke -- but normally a party nominates someone who's demonstrated even the tiniest shred of leadership. Mitt Romney has not. Romney's idea of "leadership" is to be led, either by public opinion or political pressure or both. What he says now -- what he promises now -- is completely irrelevant. The word of Mitt Romney is as strong a bond as wet Kleenex.
Mitt Romney believes what Mitt Romney is told to believe, so pay attention to what the GOP base are telling him.