One of the perceptions of Romney is that in his heart of hearts he's not really that conservative, that he basically fakes it for the Tea Party. I do agree that he's a chameleon. He's come full circle from passing Obamacare to promising the repeal of Romneycare.
In 1994 he and his wife were members of Planned Parenthood, now he's promising to abolish it. However, while I do think there's a lot of pandering here, it's shocking to realize how far to the Right he has moved.
He's trying to have it both ways on immigration it's true, but he not only called Arizona's SB 171 a "model for the nation" but put his money where his mouth is by putting Kris Kobach-the laws architect on his team. Even while Gingrich was calling him a "Massachusetts Moderate" during the campaign, he also had said that Mitt Romney had a more draconian view on immigration than all the other candidates, himself included.
As to the fight over abortion, or even birth control as we saw during the attack on the Obamacare birth control requirement, Romney has taken an extremely hard line. Again, this is not really his image. Indeed, Obama's SuperPac had vetted the message that Romney is the most Right wing candidate since Goldwater and found that most people they tested this idea on didn't buy it. What Priorities USA found did work was to portray Romney as an out of touch guy who cares only about rich people.
This message has been very effective and also has the benefit of being true. Yet, Romney also is the most Right wing candidate in memory. Consider his positions. He supports the Ryan plan-that is the privatization of Medicare. He actually told Hispanics to self-deport. And then there's abortion and birth control.
It's probably not appreciated just how conservative Romney is on social issues. Partly this is his history in Massachusetts and that he was up against Rick Sanotrum. However, how many consider that Robert Bork-of all people-is his co-chair of Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee:
"Although GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has dodged questions about whether he believes the Constitution protects a woman’s right to use birth control, one of Romney’s top legal advisers is a leading opponent of the right to contraception. Robert Bork, the former federal judge who serves as co-chair of Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee, described the first Supreme Court case to protect access to contraception as “utterly specious” and a “time bomb."
Romney is clearly way to the Right of President George W. Bush on immigration and maybe even further to the Right on abortion-Bush was pretty conservative there. But even he didn't end Planned Parenthood.
And Republicans don't understand why Romney does so poorly with female voters.