Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mitt Amidst His Own

Last night in Stamford, Connecticut, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney verbally danced before 600 Republicans. The titular event was the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. The real event was a practice POTUS-candidate speech.

It is the state GOP's biggest fundraiser, but it was poorly attended. In fairness to our big-haired guy, this was right before a long holiday weekend. Also, last year's was even worse, maybe because the outgoing governor (John Rowland) was in disgrace.

This time, the honoree, Jennifer Blei Stockman, who is the national co-chair of the abortion-rights group Republican Majority for Choice. That didn't play too well with many who might have attended. Mitt worked that theme before his speech, but avoided messy connections like his own state's same-sex marriages.

To hear him, he was always anti-abortion. He spoke in loaded terms, both of embryo farming and sanctity of life – this from someone who elsewhere pitches himself as a social moderate. Was there something in the air that suddenly switched him into conservative mode?

His half-hour speech got a middling review from the Stamford Advocate. The Hartford Courant dwelt mostly on the sour politics surrounding Gov. M. Jodi Rell's reign. While she is a Republican, she does not play toady to the rich as much as many former governors. For example, she signed a law that taxes gifts and estates worth over $2 million, if you can imagine not letting the rich passing their wealth directly to their kiddies!

This was a tune-up for Romney. However, he'll have to do better than pretending to be highly accomplished when he doesn't have accomplishments to back it up. He'll also have to prepare to bring up same-sex marriage and his LDS background. The country associates him quite fairly with both of those, both are unusual to most Americans, and the campaign trail will not be one right-wing fundraiser haven after another.

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