Jane Swiftboats Romney

1197399100“When are you going to stop picking on poor Mitt Romney?” That’s the question our mother usually asks us when she talks about our work for Boston Daily. (Then she asks where she went wrong with us, but that’s another story.) We explain to her that we’re not so much picking on the former governor, but that he keeps making so much news that’s ripe for commentary.

The trend continues. Not only are Mitt’s poll numbers sliding, but former acting governor Jane Swift is trying to, um, swiftboat him.

In an op-ed for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Swift details Romney’s dark past as a social liberal (link via Boston.com). Much like her time in the corner office, the op-ed isn’t very effective, but you can tell she’s trying.

Flash back to 1994 and 2002, and you’ll see a very different candidate. Then, he was a typical Massachusetts Republican—conservative on fiscal issues, progressive on social issues. He pledged to be more effective than Ted Kennedy on gay rights. He backed the Brady Bill Assault Weapons Ban. He even supported the so-called “morning after” pill. Invoking his trailblazing mother, Romney made an ironclad commitment to Roe v. Wade.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to the White House. Today, Mitt Romney is campaigning on his record as governor; yet he has become unrecognizable to the citizens who voted him into office.

Sure, it’s all old news to us. But if the news that a negative op-ed was written by a former Romney pal goes national, it could bring some unwanted attention to his Massachusetts record. Which could be damaging to Romney’s claim that he never raised taxes during his governorship.

Mitt Romney looked like a winner committed to the principles that had put Massachusetts back on track.

Once elected governor, however, Romney began his transformation of consciousness. His flip flops on social issues are well documented. But Romney also raised taxes—more than $700 million per year in increased fees and corporate taxes. A 2003 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that Massachusetts imposed the highest fee hikes in the country.

Oh Jane. Our Mom is going to have some strong words for you after she sees you’ve been picking on Mitt. But hopefully she spares you the guilt trip about why you don’t call her very often.