There's a scene in Pulp Fiction (spoiler alert, for all you people who lead moss-like lives under big rocks in the middle of the Yukon) when hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield are engaged in one of their many heated tête-à-têtes (about whether or not their not getting pasted during a hit gone wrong was a miracle) as they ferry their informant Marvin to safety. When the criminal duo reaches a conversational impasse, Vincent appeals to Marvin, who demurs, insisting, "I don't even have an opinion." Ever the insistent fellow, Vincent turns to the backseat, unwittingly pointing his loaded gun at Marvin's head and says, "You gotta have an opinion..." Then the car hits a bump and Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, creating quite the little conundrum. The moral of the story, of course, is that people have to have opinions about stuff once they gather and process all the necessary info, especially if, let's just say, they're running for a very important political office.
Salon's Irin Carmon wrote Monday about the many nuanced positions Mitt Romney has taken on abortion, much to the consternation to just about every debate moderator or conservative special interest group in the country. Back in 2007, Romney disavowed his impetuous younger self, a pro-choice candidate for the Massachusetts governorship. The Obama campaign has recently picked up on this crucial flip-floppity moment by plucking out an especially damning Mittens soundbite:
I'm not sure who that young guy was at the beginning of that film, but I can tell you this, which is, I don't know how many times I can tell it. I was wrong. All right. I was effectively pro-choice when I ran for office.
The ad further points out that Romney supports overturning Roe v. Wade and also "backed a law that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest." Fox News, however, wanted to mention that the Obama ad is false, citing a National Review op-ed from last year in which Romney explained he wasn't signing the Susan B. Anthony pledge in part because it didn't include exceptions for rape, incest, or a threat to the mother's life. That, avid readers, is what debate competition nerds would nasally call a contradiction.
What are we to make of Romney's indefatigable shiftiness? Basically, explains Carmon, that he's shifty. "In other words," she writes, "[Romney's] for states' rights with regard to abortion, unless he isn't. He's for rape, incest and health exceptions, unless he's not." Which brings us to the uncomfortable moment during that long-ago 2007 debate when moderator Anderson Cooper asked the motley field of Republican presidential candidates, "If, hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions, and it came to your desk, would you sign it?" Even when Cooper pressed him, Romney dodged, ducked, dipped, dived, and dodged, concluding that he'd be "delighted" to sign a bill overturning Roe v. Wade whenever Congress got around to writing such a bill.
Carmon insists that Romney needs to answer such questions — he's got to have an opinion — because some states have already violated Roe v. Wade by passing bans on abortions after 20 weeks, no exceptions. The next Jefe of America may very well get the chance to fill some vacated seats on the Supreme Court, and those new justices could very well determine the future of abortion in this country. Romney is definitely running out of time — pro-choice and pro-life people alike are frustrated with his wavering — to stake out a firm position on abortion, which means that a very frustrated Vincent Vega is probably going to turn around towards the backseat of the Romney campaign bus and insist that Mittens use the choir boy voice he croons "America, the Beautiful" with and take a position on abortion so we can all properly channel our disapproval.