Romney's Global Warming Views Could Hurt In Primaries But Help Beyond

Jun 9, 2011

Phillip Rucker and Peter Wallsten of the Washington Post write that Mitt Romney is getting flak from some conservatives because he says is persuaded that the earth's climate is warming and that humans are contributing to it.

A Romney advisor quoted in the story indicated that it was a plus for the former Massachusetts governor to stand his ground, despite having the likes of Rush Limbaugh cross him off the list of suitable potential GOP presidential nominees. Why? It contradicted Romney's reputation as a political chameleon.

"The fact that he doesn't change his position . . . that's the upside for us," said one Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign. "He's not going to change his mind on these issues to put his finger in the wind for what scores points with these parts of the party."

And while the advisor, whoever he or she is, was quoted as saying this, Romney's global-warming position also puts him in a position to expand his appeal beyond Republicans in a general election, assuming he gets the Republican presidential nomination.

A Gallup Poll from earlier this year indicated that Americans were less concerned about global warming than a few years ago. Still, many Americans trust the scientific evidence that global warming is real and that humans contribute to it.

Romney's views on global warming would mark him as a GOP candidate willing to think differently than many people in the Republican base. That could make independents and even Democrats more willing to hear him when he makes the case for why he should be president.

For Romney, it's not the first time as a candidate for the GOP White House nomination that he's dared to express views beyond the orthodoxies of his the evangelical Christians in his party's base.

At a debate in Iowa in 2007, when the Republican presidential candidates were asked to raise their hands if they didn't believe in evolution, Romney didn't raise his. He later explained that he believed in a creator who likely used evolution to achieve the human body.

Which leads me to a witty headline I saw when I during a Google search. It's from a post by Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Mitt Romney Must Believe In Evolution; He's Still Evolving." Ouch.

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