Getting Our RomneyFacts.com Straight
Christmas came early for liberal bloggers around the country today, as the Massachusetts Democratic Party launched a new site, RomneyFacts.com. The compilation contains quotes, horrible PowerPoint presentations, and financial disclosures from Mitt Romney’s dark time in Massachusetts, and is supposed to provide fodder for “citizen journalists” to take further shots at Romney. We are both citizens and journalists, so we took a look around.
RomneyFacts.com has no aspirations to be a neutral site, with a boring “flip-flop” t-shirt for sale and it goes a little overboard in trying to stir up controversy in the “Romney’s Rap Sheet” category. The site points out some minor brushes with the law in Romney’s past, and tosses in some barbs at “known associates” Jay Garrity and Alan Fabian (no quip yet about Larry Craig).
The best thing about the site is that it makes primary sources available to bloggers who typically rely on the mainstream media’s reporting. While none of the documents are revolutionary, it’s nice to finally see the infamous Planned Parenthood questionnaire from Mitt’s 2002 gubernatorial bid in which he says he supports Roe v. Wade, state-funded abortions for low-income women, and sex education that teaches contraception. Ironically, the question about sex-ed includes the phrase “age-appropriate” that Mitt was horrified by when Barack Obama used it in July.
It’s also fun to watch some of the horrible PowerPoint presentations Mitt’s staff put together during his governorship, including this confusing Pennet Square that predicts what would happen if Mitt Romney and Beacon Hill, uh, mated. Good hair? Recessive liberal bias? We don’t quite understand it without the doubtlessly thrilling narration that went with the “Big Dig and Beyond” slideshow.
One of the downsides to the site is that the footnotes in the text aren’t hyperlinked to the citation, and most of the citations aren’t hyperlinked to their source. While bloggers generally don’t pay to view archives, there are certainly some (primarily conservative) bloggers who would like to see the quotes and facts the Democrats dug up in their original context without searching for it themselves.
Perhaps a determined blogger with a mind for finance will make a significant find in the documents RomneyFacts.com posted, but the attention-grabbing contradictory quotes on the home page won’t hurt Romney much. As his spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told Boston magazine, Mitt’s change from a pro-choice to pro-rights candidate happened before he announced his bid for the presidency:
“. . . [I]t happened two years ago. He had a change of heart that was sincere and heartfelt.” Indeed, as Romney has told the story, he changed his mind on abortion following a November 2004 meeting with a Harvard stem cell researcher who told the then governor that his research was not a moral issue, “because we kill the embryos after 14 days.” It was that encounter that led Romney to conclude that “the Roe v. Wade mentality has so cheapened the value of human life that rational people saw human life as mere research material to be used and then destroyed.”
RomneyFacts.com also calls Mitt out for raising fees and taxes on Massachusetts residents while he was governor, but that won’t hurt Romney either since he’s campaigning on the fact that he brought Massachusetts out of debt by “cutting spending, without raising taxes” which is a matter of semantics Mitt can adeptly argue.
It’s a great idea to put damning evidence online about a front-runner for president, but as it is now, RomneyFacts.com won’t be the bomb that Massachusetts Democrats were hoping for. Keep looking for the cigar and the intern, Democrats.