A Democrat's Illustrated Guide to Mitt Romney's Political Record
BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 12 2011
The idea that Mitt Romney is a rather, well, situational politician has dogged him for some time. It was back in 1994 that, in a debate for the Massachusetts Senate seat, sitting Senator Edward Kennedy zinged Romney on abortion by saying, "I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice."
New media consultant Matt Ortega says he took as a sign the fact that MultipleChoiceMitt.com was still available when he checked back in February. "Some people paint," says Ortega by phone. "Some people write. I design websites." The website, now live, is designed to look like an old school Scantron test, says the former Democratic National Committee staffer. Topic by topic, video clips or transcript bits capture Romney seeming to approach matters of public policy from distinct angles.
Column A has Romney, again from 1994, on the political legacy of Ronald Reagan. "Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush," said Romney during a debate. "I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush. My positions don't talk about the things you suggest they talk about." And there, in column B, is Romney at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul: "The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today!"
Ortega is clear on why he started the site. "When I was at the DNC," he says, "Romney was the one guy I really wanted to run against, because he was just so much fun. I honestly believe he's a giant phoney, and there's literally no getting around how devoid of principles this guy is. I was originally going to do ten issues," -- there are 17 now on the site --"but I just kept finding stuff, just by Googling 'Mitt Romney flip flop.'"
And as comes from Google shall go back to it. Ortega says that the site is geared towards attracting Republicans who might be Googling Romney's name. "So 'Reagan' is at the top," says Ortega. "'Abortion' is at the top." The site is also designed so that each issue area is also individually linkable, tweetable, and the like.
The Romney campaign, of course, is likely to see nuance and maturation where Ortega and others see flip-floppery. But the impact of Romney's varied stances on policy matters is compounded when they're all lined up like that, one by one -- especially so when they're illustrated by video. On that front, Ortega makes much use of archived (and presumably fair use) footage already available on YouTube; the '08 convention clip, for example, was posted by the Republican National Convention itself. "I don't have the resources to find old video, clip it, and post it," says Ortega.