and Neither Work Well for Romney
Okay, I know Romney is having trouble with missteps, mistakes, and misstatements this summer; nevertheless he has a more serious problem...ethics. Even though I teach ethics at the university level, this article is not my attempt at piling on. His ethical situation is twofold. From an ethical Weltanschauung, he is wrong ethically about anything he says or thinks when it comes to issues like gays, women's rights, healthcare, gun control, making money, etc.
However, I'll let the voters decide about those particular issues. My problem enters the picture not so much about disagreeing with all his particular positions. What I have trouble with is his lack of an ethical system. He does not have one-whether I agree or disagree with it is not the critical issue in this article. Romney possesses no ethical position; that is the issue. He doesn't make ethical decisions based upon anything other than what he feels is politically expedient. Leaders lead not follow.
Therein lays Romney's malignancy of thought. For example, healthcare reform is an obvious issue eating away at his credulity as a thinking politician running for the most important office in the world today...president of the United States. Both RomneyCare and ObamaCare keep the employer as the insurance provider, both systems use Medicare for the seniors and Medicaid for the poor of the society, both plans use Medicaid to absorb many of the uninsured and by offering tax incentives to assist many middle income people, they both require all to buy healthcare insurance or pay a penalty for noncompliance, and they both expand Medicaid and by offering tax breaks to help moderate income people buy insurance or what is called the "individual mandate."
These parallels are significant because the Affordable Care Act passed by the Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court was based much upon the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law signed by Romney. As Romney signed his healthcare reform bill, Ted Kennedy was present and was presented with a pen used during the signing.
However, six years later, the tide has changed. Watch this about video Andrea Saul, Romney's press secretary, defending her boss' healthcare reform.
Aside from the issue of Romney being pro and anti healthcare, the issue that I, as an ethics teacher have, is that healthcare is not some minor issue like state and federal bickering over taxation on alcohol sales or whether the states have jurisdiction with interstate commerce.
Healthcare is a human right, but healthcare for Romney is something that states need to decide whether it is right or wrong. For me, giving human rights to people is an ethical issue for the federal government. We do not provide human rights as a states' rights issue...or at least we should not.
Now, I know that Michele Bachmann thinks that slavery, a human rights issue, was ended by our Founding Fathers.
However, she also was wrong. And precisely because the Founding Fathers allowed individual states to decide about that human right within less than a century, we had a Civil War with nearly 700,000 killed as a result. Talk about an ethical mistake of states' rights.
Basic human rights are not a state's option. I don't really care whether Romney flip-flops on this issue and back again; my concern is the core ethical question. Romney's problem is that there is not any core to his ethical process. What drives him is what he thinks the majority feel is correct. I have real ethical and political questions about a leader who follows rather than leads.
Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill came up with a similar philosophical notion of the greatest good for the greatest number just a couple years after 1776...1780 to be exact. The Founding Fathers applied their early version of the greatest good for the greatest number. They allowed slavery for the states that opted for it. It was nearly another century before that states' right issue was resolved with the Civil War. Look at the numbers of slaveholders/Founding Fathers as opposed to non-slaveholders.
We were wrong on the issue of slavery, and Romney and the rest of the tea party Republicans are wrong on healthcare reform...ethically wrong.
Gun control laws is another issue with which Romney has an ethical problem. We have recently gone through another mass shooting in the States...this time in Aurora, CO. Romney's response to this shooting was that James Holmes "shouldn't have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices." Romney's feeling was that our gun control laws should have stopped his purchase of his weapons. He adds, "It was illegal for him to have many of those things already, but he had them. So we can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away. It won't."
However, the police chief of Aurora, Dan Oates, clarified Romney's ethical position: "All the weapons that he possessed, he possessed legally. And all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally. And all the ammunition that he possessed, he possessed legally." The shooter used an AR-15 assault rifle. Why? The answer is simple: the federal legislation on the assault weapons ban expired in 2004.
And the list goes on and on. The gay question was another political issue that Romney spoke about while running for the senate from Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy. Romney said that he would "...seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." He lost that election by 17% of the vote.
However, after being governor of Massachusetts, he changed his mind...which was hardly a philosophical or ethical decision for him. He said regarding gay marriage or civil unions, "...I would rather have neither, to tell you the truth. I'd rather that domestic partner benefits, such as hospital-hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. I don't want civil unions or gay marriage. I'm going to want to see a marriage limited to a man and a woman. I don't want to see civil union either. Of course, if we find ourselves in a setting where the only choice is between civil union and marriage, I will prefer civil union. But I would prefer neither."
Still another issue is women's reproductive rights, which he has done the same dance. At one moment, he is pro choice and next moment pro life:
This is the summation of Romney on ethics:
In conclusion, I do have beliefs on all of Romney's present positions-all of which are negative. Of course, Romney has his belief on all of them also-both for and against depending upon the times and/or the election. While I do not agree with almost anything for which he stands, what troubles me more is that he does not possess an ethical core of anything. Romney is an ethical amoeba and goes with the flow.
There is more to the cartoons of Romney on the flip-flop issue than merely how stupid it appears:
While the cartoons are funny, Romney's lack of an ethical core is not.
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