Will Ann Romney be a decisive factor in the 2012 election after her RNC speech …
The last time a governor from Massachusetts ran for President of the United States, his wife became the unexpected topic of a highly emotional and ideologically defining campaign issue. Like Kitty Dukakis in 1988, Ann Romney’s speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention has positioned her squarely in the political arena as a centerpiece to her husband’s presidential campaign.
Could another former First Lady of Massachusetts become part of a campaign issue that contributes to her husband’s political downfall? Mark Twain’s famous quote comes to mind when considering such a possibility: “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Leading off a presidential debate on October 13, 1988, moderator Bernard Shaw of CNN asked Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis a pointed question about the Democratic nominee’s stance on capital punishment. To personalize the question, Shaw specifically asked Dukakis if he would favor the death penalty for someone convicted of raping and murdering the candidate’s wife, Kitty Dukakis.
The question was meant to determine the level of adherence Dukakis held to his liberal ideology, which had suddenly emerged as an issue in the 1988 general election. Dukakis had billed himself as a competent technocrat responsible for the “Massachusetts Miracle” because of his economic management as governor of the Bay State. It was only when the 1988 general election campaign became more focused on social and cultural issues such as flag burning, crime prevention, drug enforcement, and capital punishment that voters became aware of the ideologically liberal policy views held by Dukakis.
Similarly, Mitt Romney embraced a new ideology while governor of Massachusetts that seems curiously counter to mainstream political views on another “life or death” social issue. In March 2005, less than
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