How did we get to the point that some conservatives are using the former Massachusetts Governor’s name as an epithet? Mark Ambinder coined the word in The Atlantic to mean “a willingness to abandon one’s core convictions in order to pander.”
Daniel Larison writes in the American Conservative that the fact that Mitt Romney’s name is used in such a way is a reminder that Romney has “no real, permanent core convictions at all.”
What separates Romney from most pandering pols is the man’s gall. Specifically, it was the sheer gall of Romney’s sudden and complete transformation from being more pro-choice than Ted Kennedy to claiming that he was a devoted pro-lifer. In a matter of a few years, Romney went from telling us how deeply, personally affected he was by the death of a close relative who died in a botched abortion, which was why he would always and forever support legal abortion, to adopting as close to the opposite position as he possibly could. The only thing that really changed was that he wanted to be elected to the Senate and then as governor in Massachusetts when he told the first story, and then he started setting his sights higher and had to abandon that story.
Romney supporters say anyone can change their minds on issues, but Larison counters that Romney comes off as opportunistic rather than sincere.
There is something that makes Romney less trustworthy than most, and this is the earnestness with which he embraces his new positions, as if he thinks he has outsmarted his audience and made us forget that he believed the opposite just five seconds before. Romney is probably the only politician who could make me have respect for Rudy Giuliani by comparison. Giuliani at least believes what he believes and isn’t interested in changing that for a few votes.
Mark Ambinder coined the “Romneyesque” term when discussing Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and the danger he’s becoming like Romney. Larison says Pawlenty isn’t “slick or charismatic” enough to pull of Romney’s flip flop.