This is what makes Mitt Romney so hard to understand and like. If he can find two opposing ways to explain his position, then he will do it. It is already well known how he has changed his position on abortion and health care. Although his current position on gays in the Boy Scouts is not a turn around from his past, it still raises questions because of its ambiguity.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul expressed that Romney still supports his view from his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy. In that race, Romney said that gays should be able to serve in the Boy Scouts. Yet that 1994 statement also said that he supports the right of the Boy Scouts to make their own decision.
“I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” Romney stated during the debate. “I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Romney is trying his best not to offend people. He wants to keep his focus on the economy so he didn’t even take a position on the Chick-Fil-A matter. Nevertheless, he can’t continue to sidestep issues and try to campaign for votes, especially when he is a slight underdog.
Romney’s problem is that his evasiveness is going to cost him votes from true conservative believers who think he is wishy-washy. Yet if he comes out fully for gay rights, then he risks alienating some of the independents and conservatives needed for victory. If he opposes gay rights, he risks offending independents who are critical to victory.
In the process, Romney has created an image of a dispassionate candidate who fails to connect to the average voter because he is trying to avoid controversy. This isn’t the way for a candidate to win the presidency. More and more, Romney’s campaign is looking more like the failed one run by Michael Dukakis than the personableness that marked those run successfully by Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton.