I don’t have a dog in the presidential fight yet. I’m nowhere close to picking a candidate.
Oh, I am advocating – for principles. Seeing which candidate best articulates what I believe in – whatever that is – is the real test for me. And none of the candidates is perfect. None of them ever are.
Other than me. And I’m not running.
Of course, now is the time to be an uncompromising purist. If you support Santorum? Paul? Perry? Accept no compromise!
I’ve got some of the same problems with Mitt Romney that most of us conservatives do; he’s the “establishment” pick, for starters.
Which is funny, since I caucused for him four years ago – because he was the conservative option in the field.
Joel Pollak at BigGov makes the conservative case for Romney.
The first part is one that the anybody-but-Romney crowd are downplaying – the wages of “electability”:
First, while Obama might drive even more voters to the conservative cause in his second term, he could make lasting changes along the way–especially on the Supreme Court–that would frustrate conservative political goals for generations.
Imperfect as Romney may be, it’d be much better to have him nominating people for the SCOTUS.
Second, foreign policy could return to the fore in 2012–and Romney is one of the few candidates who has a well-informed foreign policy consistent with Ronald Reagan’s tradition of American global leadership.
I’m a lot more comfortable with Romney on foreign than domestic policy. And Romney has a better command of the issue than any of his opponents.
Of course, domestic policy is what this election is going to be about. And while Romney may not be “the conservative” candidate, on business and economic issues I think he’s conservative enough.
Finally, while Romney is not quite the establishment figure he is often made out to be, there is something to be said for having an establishment, even one in need of reform. After the dramatic changes of the past decade, Americans are eager for stability. That is a fundamentally conservative impulse, and one that an establishment leader could satisfy.
Democrats believe the best charge against Romney is that he is a “flip-flopper.” It’s not Romney’s inconsistency that worries conservatives, but his underlying convictions. Yet if we consider that the Supreme Court may strike down all or part of Obamacare next spring, and that even a Democratic Congress failed to pass climate change legislation, we may be able to look past the most problematic of Romney’s previous positions.
Sue Jeffers hates it when I say “perfect is the enemy of good enough”. Down that road, she yells at me, lies mushy importent Arne-Carlson-style RINO-ism.
Which is true. But down the other road – uncompromising purism – lies the Libertarian Party where, untroubled by ever needing to govern by dint of having been elected to, well, anything, they can sit about their conventions and think big, pure thoughts. Politics is about, well, not so much being impure, but about making compromises with the other side(s) from a position of such electoral strength that as much of your pure agenda as possible survives.
Michael Reagan put it well when Brad Carlson and I interviewed him at the Midwest Leadership conference; a key facet of his father’s greatness was not his purism – George Will wrote an entire book on how impure a conservative Reagan was – but on his ability to bring the impure to his side. Which meant compromise. The sort of thing the “anyone but Romney” crowd eschews today.
As they should – today. And through the caucuses. And all way to the Republican National Convention, if need be!
But if he gets the nomination – is he conservative enough? That’s a great way to start an argument these days in conservative circles:
Romney may not have courted Tea Party support, but he has tacitly adopted key points of its conservative agenda–repealing Obamacare, cutting federal spending, and fixing the entitlement system.
Conservatives should consider supporting Romney–and do so while understanding that unlike Obama’s left-wing base, we will have to be as strong a check on a president we have elected as we have been against one we have opposed.
And that is the big takeaway; for Republicans, the Presidential race is only a quarter of the battle. To really put a ding in the juggernaut of Obama’s legacy, we have to eject Obama, and take the Senate, and hold and preferably extend our lead in the House, and consolidate and expand our gains at the State level. Partly to support (we hope) a new president. And party to keep that new president honest – meaning conservative.