Rob Simmons is former congressman from Connecticut now campaigning to win the Republican nomination to take on Senator Chris Dodd next year. A moderate, Simmons was one of the last Republicans in the House of Representatives before New England had the good sense to rid themselves entirely of them.
As we've seen earlier this year with Rob Simmons championing the efforts of radicals in the Tea Party movement, Simmons seems to be having no qualms at all about moving hard right to appease these extremist elements which will make up a large portion of the Republican primary voters, their "base". In some cases he's even abandoned positions he had voted in favor of while in congress. As he says on the Simmons' campaign blog:
I was wrong about two issues I supported in Congress – the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as “card check”) and “cap and trade.” After hearing more from the people who would be most affected by these bills, I became convinced they would cause more harm than good and I would oppose them in the Senate.
I learned of the enormous burden these two proposals would impose on job producers in the form of dramatically higher operating costs, and how those costs would be passed in turn onto workers and consumers. The net result will be an even weaker economy and fewer jobs.
The Hartford Courant noted this phenomenon in a piece sarcastically titled "A change of heart or a sharp turn to the right by Rob Simmons?"
Rob Simmons has long burnished his reputation as a moderate Republican in the classic New England mode: conservative on fiscal matters, liberal on social issues. He supports abortion rights, earned top grades from a national gay rights group and sits on the honorary board of Republicans for Environmental Protection.
He's also been a supporter of two bills long championed by liberals, union members and environmentalists.
The first is the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly known as "card check,'' which would permit workers to form a union if a majority sign pro-union cards, instead of voting by secret ballot. The second is a climate change bill known in political shorthand as Cap and Trade.
Simmons backed both measures when he served in Congress. But now, as a candidate for U.S. Senate, he has changed his mind.
At least one of his Republican opponents has noticed and is derisively calling out Simmons on his
bullshit 'change of heart'.
"While Rob Simmons can spin this all he wants, he is in a primary battle and is desperate to get the support of real, principled Republicans,'' Tiffany Romero Grossman, spokeswoman for Sam Caligiuri, said in an email this morning. Both Caligiuri and Simmons are seeking the Republican nomination to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.
"Everyone has the right to change their mind on where they stand - but doing so years later, once confronted with a competitive primary, simply stinks of political pandering,'' Grossman said in the email.