Everybody wants a hero.
In desperate times, when no one has come to save you, it’s only natural to cling to the first shred of hope that you see.
A propensity for change while the world crumbles around you encourages an individual to search for the bottom rung of the ladder that heads up.
And that’s what Mitt Romney is.
The bottom rung.
Romney is a prominent Party figure right now in a political environment with a major leadership vacuum. Thanks to his self-promotion, he’s one of the easiest and accessible leaders for the GOP. But that doesn’t mean he’s the right one.
The constant fawning for Romney that I’ve seen from GOP activists and bloggers nationwide has left quite a bad taste in my mouth.
Make no mistake. The race for the 2012 GOP nomination is already on and Romney’s team has done a good job keeping him in the news and encouraging the perception of him as the Party’s only hope for 2012. Something more apparent after reading today’s Politico:
But GOP observers say that Romney’s stock is rising for two other important reasons — the political climate and his own deft moves since losing the nomination.
After the national security-dominated Bush years, the recession has brought the importance of economic issues into sharp focus.
Following a primary spent trying to navigate the politics of Iraq and a vigorous — and sometimes cringe-inducing — courtship of social conservatives, the issue matrix now favors Romney’s background as a turnaround specialist.
Many like to knock Obama for what they see as the perennial campaign. In reality, it’s Romney’s team that has made it much more blatant, at least to those that keep a close eye on politics.
And I don’t blame him. His team has done a great job doing just enough to keep him in the news and preparing for his eventual redeployment.
But the political activists that praise these moves ignore something far more important.
There are three reasons I will never support Mitt Romney in a GOP primary:
- Romneycare – As was written about yet again in yesterday’s Boston Globe, Romney’s single major policy achievement during his time as Governor has been a colossal failure. It spends way too much and does way too little. In reality, it’s as far from fiscal conservatism as a Republican could get. If one is running for President after serving as Governor, especially on a plank of fiscal conservatism, having this on your record should alone be a disqualifier. On top of it all, a Rasmussen poll that came out yesterday showed only 10% of Massachusetts residents believe Romney’s plan has improved health care in the state. Ouch.
Romney’s gratuitous politically motivated flip-flops on abortion – First off, this criticism isn’t about being pro-life or pro-choice. It’s about principle. When running for Senate, then Governor, Romney promised to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.” When he knew he’d be running for President, he conveniently changed his mind. Some accept his explanation. I don’t. It’s much too obvious to see it as anything less than it was – a flip flop on a major issue for the sole reason of helping his chances to win the nomination.
Some say the flip-flop is nothing others haven’t done. A classic Romney-supporter defense is to claim Reagan once was pro-choice. That, to put it lightly, is intellectually dishonest. Read this post to get background on just how wrong it is to claim Reagan was once just as pro-choice as Romney.
Now, if Romney had been pro-choice back during his college or corporate raider days and had evolved his position over the years, fine. But to ignore the timing of his “evolution” requires a particularly large set of blinders. Accepting Romney’s complete lack of principle on this issue means accepting the worst in our political leaders, and I just can’t get past that.
- 2008 – Mitt Romney had every possible advantage in last year’s primary; vast cash advantage, the best political staff money could buy, and a field with no clear frontrunner. And yet, he still found a way to lose. Why? He couldn’t connect. If we ignore the great hair and tan, all we have left is a stiff who couldn’t effectively communicate his message to the base. And we’re supposed to think someone who couldn’t do that, with all those advantages, would be able to effectively communicate with swing voters? No way. No how.
GOP fiscal conservatives can do far better than Mitt Romney. Let’s hope Party activists give their primary voters a chance to see what else is out there.