Kathryn Lopez

Mitt Romney did something oddly appropriate during a post-Thanksgiving interview with Fox News host Bret Baier: He got peeved.

It's been, in many ways, a thankless run so far for the former Massachusetts governor. He does everything he's 'supposed' to do and typically does it well. And yet, not only is he failing to attract passionate support, this 64-year-old grandfather who has been a pillar to his family, community and country gets to listen as he's called 'weather vane,' a craven tool of the prevailing political winds. It's no wonder Romney looked like he'd rather be home drinking hot chocolate with his wife instead of doing another interview about his 'X Factor'-like competition to be the guy everyone wants to have beer with.

This is what the pre-primary game has become: Stick to script, stay on pitch and you won't get voted off by the chattering class this week. It's not exactly the optimal way to determine who will make the best commander in chief.

And while Romney has changed his position on issues over the years, some of his shifts should come as welcome both to conservatives and other discerning general-election voters.

Romney has said that he came to realize that the Roe v. Wade case and the cultural shifts it brought in its wake have cheapened the value of human life. In this way, his conversion story happens to be true to where we are in history: legal abortion has had a dehumanizing effect on our lives.

For instance In a New York Times Magazine article published in August, a woman explained the relative ease with which she 'selectively reduced' one of her unborn twin children: 'The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.' Even with the best of intentions, human life is becoming just another yes/no option in the marketplace of life.

On these and other issues, my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru makes the case that Romney is not someone conservatives should be depressed about supporting. It's true that Romney took a sharp right turn when he moved from state to national politics. But it's also true that in 2008 he was the candidate behind whom Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, among other conservative notables, said that the conservative movement should rally in order to stop John McCain from getting the nomination. He has not moved left since that time. His positions on policy questions are almost all the same as they were then. On a few issues he has moved right: He now favors a market-oriented reform to Medicare, for example.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.