Mitt Romney: The Rational Republican Candidate?

Robert Bork

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been painted by many as the more “rational” Republican candidate for President, as compared to religious fanatics like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, and outright crazy men like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. But is Mitt really all that rational and reasonable? Not judging by his choice Robert Bork as co-chair of his “Legal Advisory Committee.”

In an interview with Lloyd Grove of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Bork said that he thinks women are no longer discriminated against.

How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? Does he still think it shouldn’t apply to women?

“Yeah,” he answers. “I think I feel justified by the fact ever since then, the Equal Protection Clause kept expanding in ways that cannot be justified historically, grammatically, or any other way. Women are a majority of the population now—a majority in university classrooms and a majority in all kinds of contexts. It seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they’re discriminated against and we need to do something about it.’ They aren’t discriminated against anymore.

Does Romney agree with that? Here are a couple more examples of Bork’s legal opinions:

I ask Bork if he still disagrees with the high court’s Griswold v. Connecticut ruling that married couples have a constitutional right to the use of contraception?

“Oh, my God, yes!”

And does he still believe that the First Amendment should be limited to political speech and not protect, as he once wrote, “any other form of expression, be it scientific, literary or…pornographic”?

“Oh yes!” he answers enthusiastically. “If you look at what they say, the First Amendment supposedly defines things like child pornography. The Supreme Court said there was a right to it. That’s actually insane.”

In the interview Bork tried to walk back his opinion of the Civil Rights Act:

Bork criticized the legislation on the ground that government coercion of “righteous” behavior is “a principle of unsurpassed ugliness.”

Now he claims that we’ve already made “the transition to a non-discriminatory society,” and he’s happy with how it all turned out.

Back in 1987, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the nomination failed, and Bork is still angry about it. Grove asked him if he had forgiven Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden kneecapping his nomination:

Even before the confirmation hearings, Ted Kennedy went on the Senate floor to describe “Robert Bork’s America” as “a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government,” and so on and so forth.

I ask Bork if he ever forgave the late Kennedy.

“I’m trying to think of how I could conceivably do that,” says Bork, a convert to Catholicism. “We’re supposed to forgive all kinds of behavior. I shouldn’t deny that I’ve forgiven somebody, or I’ll end up being assigned to the outer circles of Hell. But Ted Kennedy is a test case of the limits of forgiveness.

How about Joe Biden, who chaired his Senate hearing?

“Oh, poor Biden,” Bork says with mock sympathy. “Biden, I think, is not a very thoughtful or intelligent man.”

I think we really need some straight answers from Romney. Does he agree with Bork’s interpretations of the Constitution? If not, why did he drag this crazy man out of his well-deserved obscurity and appoint him as a top legal adviser?

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20 Comments on “Mitt Romney: The Rational Republican Candidate?”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I think the reasonable Republicans have all died or left the building.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It sure does seem that way. I hope I don’t have to end up voting for Mr. Less Horrible.

    • ralphb says:

      None of the candidates are remotely worth a vote. This is going to be the most pathetic election season ever!

      • dakinikat says:

        We have an election on Saturday and I’m not going to vote. It’s horrible! It’s all for statewide offices and they’re all running unopposed practically or being challenged by other Republicans.

        When I moved here, this was a purple state. We had a little of both. Since Bush/Cheney bussed out our population after Katrina, we now have a horrible of horrible red states. Jindal is unopposed because he has such a “good” jobs record. In the THREE years he’s been Governor, the state’s unemployment rate has doubled AND that’s basically SINCE the end of a recession. I feel occupied not part of a democracy.

      • jawbone says:

        Dakinikat — I’d like to suggest that you do go to vote, if only for one palatable candidate. Perhaps write in names for the other categories.

        Or, just vote for the one. Then, statistically, there will be at least your “undervote” for several ballot lines, which means you chose to NOT VOTE for ANY OF THE ABOVE for several offices.

        Eventually, it will begin to sink in that voters will vote, but they want choices they can support. Without them, they will ignore certain lines on the ballot.

        Just a suggestion. Not showing up? Or not voting for several lines? I don’t now which will result in the most effective message to the Powers That Be.

        What do you think? What does econ theory suggest?

  2. northwestrain says:

    Bork — what a delusional jerk.

    Women are still fighting to control their own bodies. Women have made progress but we’ve also slid back to the dark ages — when state dimwit political bodies want to claim personhood (and thus complete control of fertile women) as soon as the sperm meets the egg — follow that idea to the logical conclusion and we have state ownership of women’s uterus (or uteri.

    It does seem that the GOP candidates are trying to out do each other with their choice of “advisers”.

    • Fannie says:

      Talk about Bork the Dork, he’s crazier than all the cats.

    • dakinikat says:

      Oh for the day when medical science and reason triumph over religious nut jobs in this country completely. He’s part of the every zygote is sacred crew that immediately forgets about “precious” life the minute he wants to hang some one high who disagrees with him, or let a child starve, or a person die from lack of health insurance. It’s about nothing but turning women back into chattel and breeding cattle. Life is only sacred when they want to place a woman into involuntary servitude and forced child bearing.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Am I right? This is DEFINITELY the “Year of the Stupid” without a doubt.

    Not sure how much more I can take of this stuff before my head completely explodes and I begin “babbling” a la Palin.

    Somebody stop me before I begin my pilgrimage to Trump Tower.

    In what world does Bork live in that assumes women are no longer discrimated against?

    Oh, and a big shoutout to the Catholic Church for admitting both Bork and Gingrist into its ranks.

    Makes me want to go back.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Hillary Clinton says she will not run for president in 2016, and seems ready to get back to private life, as she expressed on the Today Show.

    “I’m very privileged to have had the opportunity to serve my country,” Clinton said. “I’m really old-fashioned. I feel I have made my contribution. I have done the best I can. But now I want to try some other things. I want to get back to writing and maybe some teaching, working on women and girls around the world.”

  5. dakinikat says:

    Ohio’s War on the Middle Class
    Burning row houses behind a church in Columbus, Ohio. Photographs by Andrew Spear

    Wherein I go home, watch public servants get axed, visit the warehouse of unbearable sorrow, hang with jobless thirtysomethings living in abandoned homes, and consider whether my generation is flat-out screwed.

    By Mac McClelland

    She owns her keep on this story.

    • dakinikat says:

      A couple of weeks ago, a poll showed the approval ratings of John Kasich, the newly elected Republican governor, at 33 percent. Once upon a time Kasich was a United States congressman, before he left in 2001 to become a managing director at Lehman Brothers, where he worked until it imploded and destroyed a bunch of lives in 2008. On the side, he hosted his own show on Fox News, as well as frequently guest-hosting The O’Reilly Factor and appearing on the Sean Hannity vehicles. He took office in January, and his approval ratings have been abysmal since March, something to do, no doubt, with the release of his proposed budget for fiscal years 2012-13.

      Anthony Rodriguez’s agency—which counsels Ohio utility consumers—faces devastating cuts.Anthony Rodriguez’s agency—which counsels Ohio utility consumers—faces devastating cuts.To Erin’s specific dismay, the governor’s plan slashes $3.1 billion from an estimated $58.8 billion state budget largely by cutting funding to city governments and services. Anthony’s state agency, the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC)—which advocates for customers in complaints, regulatory hearings, and court cases involving utility companies—is slated to lose 51 percent. The Department of Education loses 10.2 percent. A local think tank estimates that 51,000 state jobs are at stake. Local unions are panicking that the public employees who remain will have little control over their own futures, since Kasich effectively killed collective bargaining in a bill called SB 5 shortly after he took office. This is the manifestation of his campaign promise to “shine up the state.” In one of his campaign videos, he says that his parents used to say, “Johnny, make sure the place that you were is a little better off because of the fact that you were there.” He won the 2010 election, barely, on a job creation platform. His budget is called “The Jobs Budget.”

  6. Allison says:

    That’s pretty ripe that Bork thinks discrimination is a thing of the past – belonging to a church that won’t allow women to preach or get anywhere near the boyz club at the top.

    I’ve heard white men say that before – it’s a monstrous lack of empathy that creates that feeling I guess. We seem to be a nation being consumed by sociopaths and ideologues.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Well, Bork obviously has no empathy whatsoever. He’s a monster, IMO. It seems to me that some psychopaths become serial killers while some, like Bork and Cheney, choose to do their killing in more indirect but even more damaging ways.

  7. jawbone says:

    “Just in Case.” A post from Susie over at Suburban Guerrilla about Mitt’s tender advice to a 40-something pregnant Mormon woman informed by her doctors that she required an abortion due to several blood clots. If she took blood thinners, her foetus would be deeply harmed; without, she might die.

    The highest level Mormon official for her area told her he understood it was a matter of life or death for her and had no argument with her getting the abortion.

    Mitt? In his role as bishop for the area? OMG!

    So then Mitt came in to the hospital. X thought Mitt had come to be comforting because that’s what bishops do. They have a pastoral role. But she said that instead he was critical.

    He said – What do you think you’re doing?

    She said – Well, we have to abort the baby because I have these blood clots.

    And he said something to the effect of – Well, why do you get off easy when other women have their babies?

    And she said – What are you talking about? This is a life threatening situation.

    And he said – Wel,l what about the life of the baby?

    And she said – I have four other children and I think it would be really irresponsible to continue the pregnancy.

    X said she found herself arguing with Romney about her medical crisis, said he was very unsympathetic, very critical, and said that under the circumstances in no way did he condone her aborting the child. And he left.

    I think I need to bookmark this one.

    He looks reasonable — he may have done some left of Obama things as governor of MA in order to keep getting votes. BUT. He seems pretty damn patriarchal.

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG! I had no idea that Romney was a bishop! WTF?!

      What left of Obama things did he do as Gov. of MA? I must have missed those. I certainly can’t think of anything.