The latest: turns out Kerry Healey was in favor of stem-cell research all along! She just never mentioned it. From the AP article:
Healey supported the bill passed last year by the House and Senate but later vetoed by Romney. The bill, which subsequently became law after the Legislature overrode the veto, allowed scientists to conduct stem cell research under regulations by the state Health Department….
Romney, in fact, credited Healey with helping him formulate his position, telling the AP in an interview for an April 2005 story that the lieutenant governor had raised concerns stem cell research could exploit women.
“I have listened to her on that and have also found that compelling,” the governor said at the time.
O’Brien, the Healey spokesman, said: “This was during a time when people were collecting data and learning about this issue. I think a lot of people’s opinions were being formed.”
He said Healey noted a newspaper opinion piece raising concerns that women could suffer physically if they repeatedly harvested their eggs for research. O’Brien said that concern, as well as Romney’s concern about somatic transfer, were subsequently allayed in conversations with doctors and scientists.
Ah, of course. So the administration was dead-set against this legislation at the time. But since then, secret conversations with unnamed “doctors and scientists” have convinced them that everything’s OK.
So I see a couple of possibilities. The first is that she was against the bill at the time, but she didn’t have all the information she has now, and that information has persuaded her to change her mind. That strikes me as the height of irresponsible decisionmaking: come out swinging against the bill, veto it, etc., without doing your homework. Shouldn’t those “conversations with doctors and scientists” have happened before the veto threat? The technology hasn’t changed that much in the last couple of months.
The second is that Healey favored the bill at the time, but said nothing. That reflects cowardice on Healey’s part. If Healey really did favor this bill, why didn’t she say anything? She was apparently not barred from voicing disagreements with Romney on other hot-button issues, such as the Plan B emergency contraception pill and civil unions for same-sex couples. So why keep this one to herself?
And the third would be the good old election year conversion, a sacrifice of principle on the altar of political expediency. Healey may well have been against this bill at the time. But she surely wants to look as moderate on social issues as she possibly can; she knows that Romney’s recent conversation to the right-wing branch of his party is bad news for her, and she needs to distance herself from it in every possible way. So why not back a bill that is law anyway and that will boost not only the cause of curing diseases but also the local economy? Who cares if she was against it then? That was then, this is now, right?
None of those three possibilities reflects terribly well on the would-be Governor. Anyone got other scenarios that I missed?