During the primary season, Mitt Romney was frequently derided by his Republican opponents as a “Massachusetts Moderate.” This isn’t true.
Last week, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee suggested the policies advanced this year by Mitt Romney and the Republicans would be like the “policies of the Bush administration…just updated.”
A close review of Romney’s positions shows that Romney has “updated” George W. Bush’s positions by moving substantially to the right in a number of key areas. As detailed below, compared to this year’s presumptive Republican nominee, Bush looks moderate:
1. Bush passed a huge tax cut plan, mostly benefiting the wealthy. Romney’s tax cut plan is four times larger, more heavily weighted to benefit ultra wealthy.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Passed $2.5 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, 12.5% benefiting the top 1/10 of 1%. [ThinkProgress, 2/22/12; David Cay Johnston. 3/1/12]
MITT ROMNEY: Proposing $10.7 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, 33% benefiting the top 1/10 of 1%. [ThinkProgress, 2/22/12; David Cay Johnston. 3/1/12]
2. Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Romney supports repealing virtually all campaign finance laws.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Signed into law the landmark McCain–Feingold campaign finance reform, which put restrictions on “soft money” and limitations on spending from outside groups. [White House, 03/27/02]
MITT ROMNEY: Strongly defended the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which overturned key provisions McCain–Feingold. Supports repealing virtually all campaign finance laws. [Mitt Romney, 2/18/10; ThinkProgress, 12/21/11]
3. Bush supported comprehesive immigration reform, a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants and provisions of the DREAM Act. Romney opposes all of it.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants and provisions of the DREAM Act. [Reuters, 6/29/07; White House, 10/24/07]
MITT ROMNEY: Opposes comprehensive immigration reform and opposes providing a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants and the DREAM Act. [Fox News, 04/03/12; ABC, 12/31/12]
4. Bush enacted a historic expansion of Medicare. Romney want to Medicare as we know it.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Successfully pushed for a major expansion of Medicare, providing seniors with prescription drug benefits. [CNN, 12/08/03]
MITT ROMNEY: Would end Medicare as we know it by turning into a voucher sytem. [TNR, 12/9/11]
5. Bush signed a substantial increase to the minimum wage. Romney opposes increasing the minimum wage.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Signed legislation increasing the minimum wage from $5.85 an hour to $7.25 an hour [Employer Advisor, 5/30/07]
MITT ROMNEY: Opposes increasing the minimum wage. [CNBC, 3/5/12]
6. Bush created higher fuel efficiency standards. Romney says even current standards are too high.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Signed higher fuel efficiency standards for cars into law, raising CAFE standards to at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020. [ThinkProgress, 3/25/08]
MITT ROMNEY: Opposes raising CAFE standards, saying existing standards have “hurt domestic automakers.” [Mitt Romney, 2/24/12]
7. Bush acknowledged global warming is caused by humans. Romney says “we don’t know.”
GEORGE W. BUSH: Acknowledged that carbon emissions by humans is causing global warming stating, “I recognize the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem.” [NYT, 1/10/07]
MITT ROMNEY: Refuses to acknowlege that carbon emmissions by humans is causing global warming, stating “we don’t know what’s causing climate change.” [CBS, 10/28/11]
8. Bush lauched one of the biggest land conservation programs in U.S. history. Romney says the federal government owns too much land.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Used his executive authority to create the world’s largest marine preserve and considered “launching one of the biggest conservation programs in U.S. history” without congressional approval. [NPR, 5/23/08]
MITT ROMNEY: Questions the value of federal conservation, saying, “I don’t know why the government owns so much of this land.” [ThinkProgress, 2/2/12]
Romney is positioning himself as the most conservative Republican nominee since Barry Goldwater in 1964.