Romney MIA for Pro-Life Forum

Romney is playing it safe, taking advantage of the luxury of his front runner status.  Part of that means skipping tonight’s Pro-Life forum in SC.  Romney’s hubris is not unfounded.  As Social Conservatives split for Santorum and Gingrich, Romney is set to take another state with well under 50% of the vote.

Romney should be careful.  His support base includes many conservatives who are voting for him because he is the presumed nominee and they believe he can beat Obama.  So why didn’t they support Huntsman?  Because Huntsman was not a conservative on certain key issues that are non-negotiables for conservatives.  Romney is…or is he?

Romney has a history of running on both pro-life and pro-abortion platforms.  Politicians have a long established practice of flip flopping and pandering, so Romney is not doing anything radical by changing his position.  What sunk John Kerry wasn’t his flip flopping, it was the position he landed on.  Romney himself has done well landing in a solid pro-life position.  So why won’t he show up tonight?  This question is not one Romney should want conservatives asking themselves going into South Carolina.  It will be even worse if anyone on that stage mentions his absence.

Romney is coming fresh off another uncharacteristic campaign gaffe where he said he probably pays taxes at 15% (referring to his capital gains taxes on investments).  Romney failed to mention that his investment money is first subject to corporate tax rates of up to 35%.  In fact, if Romney were to add up his capital gains tax of 15% and corporate tax of 35%, the result would be much higher than Obama’s 23% income tax rate paid in 2010.  In fact, the Buffet induced myth of CEOs paying less than their secretaries is pretty ridiculous when you consider that Romney could probably have paid Obama’s entire income (including book sales) for 2010 with the taxes he paid.  But instead, Romney shot from the hip and wound up with a tax rate estimate of 15%.

One thing is for sure, this race is still far to volatile for Romney to think he can sit tonight’s debate out.  It may not be a huge mistake, but it is a mistake.  We will see if it affects him.

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