Curiously overlooked, though, is just what a shift this rhetoric is from the approach that Romney took on the issue of gas prices while governor of Massachusetts. Befitting his profile as a moderate Republican who cared about the environment, Governor Romney responded to price spikes by describing them as the natural result of global market pressures and by calling for increases in fuel efficiency-the same approach that he now derides Obama for taking as president.
At moments, Romney went so far as to make high gas prices out to be a welcome reality for the foreseeable future, one that people needed to learn to live with. When lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, a fellow Republican, called for suspending the state’s 23.5 cent gas tax during a price spike in May 2006, Romney rejected the idea, saying it would only further drive up gasoline consumption. “I don’t think that now is the time, and I’m not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline,” Romney said, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger’s report at the time. “I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”
Romney’s response to high gas prices while governor fit into his broader effort to promote “smart growth” policies in Massachusetts-a focus that is rare among Republican leaders but that he took up with alacrity…
Is this the “severely conservative” governor Romney now describes himself as, or is this an example of a formerly liberal/moderate, northeastern Republican who was pro-choice, pro-GLBT-rights, pro-clean-energy and pro-environment? What happened to that Willard “Mitt” Romney? Did the giant “Etch-a-Sketch” in the sky simply swoop down and erase him, or what? More to the point, why would anyone believe somebody who has been all over the map, for no discernible reason other than to say whatever it takes to win elections, from liberal to moderate to conservative to Teahadist to Bircher to…god knows where he’ll go next (Marxism, perhaps? He hasn’t tried that one yet, as far as I know.).