Conservatives For Romney?

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.

14 thoughts on “Conservatives For Romney?

  1. Romney care about Conservatives? Not a chance. He’s Mister Establishment all the way.

    When “Mister Moderate” Tim Pawlenty left the field, his advisor, Vin Weber, went to . . . Mitt Romney.

    True – Vin got Rudy Boswich elected, ran himself as a Conservative against Archie Bauman and served with Newt. Heady days. Younger days. 20 years of lobbying later, pragmatism reigns.

    If it came down to Mitt against Barry, of course we’d hold our noses and pull the Right lever. But we’d be expecting Supreme Court appointments like Kennedy and Souter rather than Scalia and Thomas.

  2. Conservative and Rmney don’t belong in the same sentence. That said, he’s the only shot the GOP have.

  3. Well, I’m sure that I’m throwing a hanging curve ball with this, but I am liking Newt more every time I hear him. The immigration stance though, may have harmed him, but in terms of a telling it like it is stance, I think that he and Michelle Bachmann, are the the only ones doing so right now. Unfortunately, as much as I would liked to have seen her succeed, I think that Bachmann is all but done, so I’m following Newt until the fat lady sings.

  4. Mitch, no disrespect, but I am the perfect candidate. I’m not running, either, but we could have a series of debates to establish who is the more perfect candidate NOT running in the race.

    Boss: I, like you, am impressed with Newt’s gymnastic ability to discuss almost any topic extemporaneously and be conservative, convincing and spot-on correct in his analysis. Personal baggage? – According to our media friends, Newt has a truck load and Obama has none – so that becomes a matter of public perception Newt will have to take head on.

  5. Running moderates has accomplished so much for conservatism! Bush I, Bush I, Dole, Bush 2, Bush 2, McCain . . .

  6. The electability issue is vastly overrated. What isn’t overrated is the trust issue. Last night, Hannity aired Frank Luntz focus group from Iowa. The focus group was composed of 30 Republican women.

    When asked about Mitt Romney, they all said that they didn’t trust him or that “he’s too slick.”

    People will vote for a candidate that they disagree with sometimes. They won’t vote for a candidate they don’t trust.

    Does anyone seriously think that Newt can’t get elected if he compares his record as Speaker of job creation & putting in place policies that created the first balanced budget in a generation vs. the trillion dollar deficits & the 9% unemployment that is this administration’s millstone?

    Do people seriously think that they won’t agree with Newt if he corners President Obama on why he didn’t support the Iranian uprising after the rigged election in 2009? Don’t you think that Newt will remind people that this administration threw traditional allies like England and Israel under the bus while trying to befriend Syria & Iran?

    Yes, the Obama campaign will wage a dirty, pig-in-the-mud campaign. If Newt’s campaign quickly responds to President Obama’s attacks, then returns to talking about his vision for America, he’ll win. PERIOD.

  7. People will vote for a candidate that they disagree with sometimes. They won’t vote for a candidate they don’t trust.

    Exactly. For me, Paul and Gingrich fall into the first category. Romney is definitely in the latter. And it’s not just that I don’t trust him personally; I don’t trust the Establishment bred him.

  8. Does anyone seriously think that Newt can’t get elected if he compares his record as Speaker of job creation & putting in place policies that created the first balanced budget in a generation vs. the trillion dollar deficits & the 9% unemployment that is this administration’s millstone?

    I think what will likely happen in that instance is that Obama will argue (and some will be persuaded and others will not be) that the credit for deficit reduction and the economy primarily lay with President Clinton (who is far more popular than Gingrich) and/or try to say something along the lines of “and it’s a shame that Congressional Republicans today were unwilling to work with me to find common ground like they did back in 1994 . . .” or words to that effect. Which could give Obama a rhetorical advantage in being able to link himself to a more popular President and in furthering his narrative of a “do nothing Republican Congress.”

    Do people seriously think that they won’t agree with Newt if he corners President Obama on why he didn’t support the Iranian uprising after the rigged election in 2009? Don’t you think that Newt will remind people that this administration threw traditional allies like England and Israel under the bus while trying to befriend Syria & Iran?

    I’m going to gather than the percentage of American voters whose votes will be swayed by either argument is less than 0.1 percent. Unless of course Obama turns it around to remind voters that (a) he’s getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and (b) he was the one who finally “got” Bin Laden. Beyond that I don’t think many voters are going to have their votes swayed by foreign policy.

  9. I find myself largely in agreement with Mitch. I too was a Romney supporter in 2008 in large part because of his executive experience and focus on economic issues. This time around, my first choice was Tim Pawlenty for his executive experience, willingness to push for entitlement reform and campaign against ethanol in Iowa (which to me demonstrates a willingness to campaign against sacred cows) and my generally favorable impression of him as our last governor. Since Pawlenty withdrew, I haven’t picked a new candidate. It’s likely that by the time Minnesotans get to vote, the nominee will be pretty much have a lock on things so I haven’t felt much pressure to make a decision.

    That being said, if we were voting today, I would likely vote again for Mitt Romney. I don’t consider Bachmann, Paul or Cain to be serious candidates and never have. Santorum and Gingrich have no executive experience and we’ve had nearly four years of seeing what happens when you elect someone to presidency based on their ability to sway an audience without having the skillset or relevant experience to do the job. That being said either might make a great Vice President because of their Congressional experience (a large component of that job) but that’s different from executive experience. Gary Johnson (remember him?) seems to have fizzled out like Pawlenty and that pretty much leaves Perry and Romney. Between the two campaigns, Perry’s seems to have stalled if not imploded which leaves Romney in my estimate as the strongest contender.

    As far as ideology, I never bought the “flip flopper” charge in 2008. Yep, Romney changed his position on abortion some time ago. And he probably did so in part to make himself a more electable GOP presidential candidate. He supported “gay rights” at time when “gay rights” meant that you shouldn’t be able to fire someone from their job just for being gay and no one seriously thought that it meant you had to change the definition of civil marriage. He signed a health care law at the State level which included an individual mandate but has said that he opposes it at the federal level and has consistently said he would repeal Obamacare. I think that looking honestly at Romney’s record he hasn’t “flip flopped” which suggests going from A to B and then back to A but rather has moved to the right on some of his past positions – much like Gingrich – which is fine by me. I want a candidate who learns from experience and part of having to lead means that somewhere along the lines you’re going to try some ideas that don’t work or that you have second thoughts about.

  10. Here is a typical liberal opinion column attacking Gingrich by saying that he is too ethically tainted to become president: http://www.scrippsnews.com/content/watch-thank-goodness-gingrich-will-never-be-president
    Now Ann McFeatters ain’t the brightest columnist in the world, but you would think that she would have noticed that even if her accusations are true, she would have forgiven Gingrich and would be actively defending him if he had a “D” after his name rather than an “R”.

  11. Terry; Re: Ann McFeathers; I totally agree with your assessment of her intelligence. I have read several of her articles that have bordered on the absurd. But then, how many left wing moonbat journalists do the same thing!

  12. If McCain had won in 2008 I think we would be much worse off than we are now. McCain would have passed much of Obama’s agenda anyway, The House and many State House’s would not have flipped and most importantly the Tea Party probably never forms.

    Without Obama the narrative doesn’t change. People are waking up to the idea that government can not provide everything to everyone.

  13. On the other end of the intellectual scale from McFeatters (Ann or Dale or both together), we have Jonah Goldberg:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg-column-gop-race-20111122,0,5579694.column
    Instead of writing a predictable column based on who his current favorite in the race is, or laboring on the same points every other pundit seems to be hittong on after last night’s debate (immigration, Patriot Act) Goldberg compares the political styles of Romney & Gingrich and, as a bonus, reminds Republicans that, despite the red meat he is throwing to the GOP base, Gingrich’s credentials as conservative are not beyond question.

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