He’s become – yet again since 2008 – the heart throb of the GOP Establishment but I call him the “Goldilocks Candidate:” not too conservative, not too liberal, but just the right amount of moderate to placate the mythical “independents” who, we are told, ultimately decide the outcome of every election. And he has it all: good looks, perfect hair, a resonant and pleasing voice, poise under fire, plenty of money and a campaign organization that runs with the efficiency of a Swiss watch. What could possibly be wrong with this picture of the perfect GOP nominee?
I’ll tell you what’s wrong: Mitt Romney is the human equivalent of a Potemkin Village: by all outward appearances he looks like the perfect candidate, but once you open the front door you realize the facade is just that – a facade – and what lies behind it is nothing like what you expected to find.
Beltway Pundits and RINO publicists insist that Romney is the best and brightest that the GOP has to offer to defeat Barack Obama in 2012, but the rank and file knows otherwise: by a roughly 70% margin they have expressed their disdain for the man who, in the immortal words of Mike Huckabee, looks like the man who laid them off from work.
In the three years that have transpired since the screwing they received in 2008 courtesy of Alpha RINO John McCain, the rank and file simply don’t trust what appears to be a younger version of the Bipartisan Chef – and it’s not based on some ephemeral “feeling” or intuition: it’s based on the history of the candidate.
John Hawkins of Right Wing News fills in the blanks:
It’s very difficult for Mitt’s opponents to point out particular ideological positions of his that they have a problem with because he doesn’t seem to have any firm ideological positions. You get the feeling that almost every position he holds today might change based on what office he’s running for, what the polls say next week, or what audience he’s talking to today.
While a little pandering to conservatives isn’t such a bad thing or out of the ordinary — all the candidates have done it to one extent or another — Mitt has taken flip-floppery to positively Kerryian levels.
When Mitt ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994, he came across as a squishy RINO of the sort that you typically expect to be running for office in states like Massachusetts. Yet today, he sounds like a cross between Newt Gingrich circa 1994 and Rush Limbaugh. Did Mitt have a road-to-Damascus conversion to conservatism during that relatively short period of time or is he just pretending that he did to sucker conservatives into voting for him? The problem is that it’s impossible to really know. The idea, I suppose, is that conservatives should get him into the White House and then we’ll find out where he really stands.
And this is not just about abortion, where Mitt’s position seems to have radically shifted, it’s about a whole host of issues. He used to try to disassociate himself from Ronald Reagan and the Contract With America, but now he assures us that the Gipper and the Contract are close to his heart. He used to be pro-gun control and wanted nothing to do with the NRA, but now he’s against gun grabbers and thinks the NRA is peachy. He came across as a member of the open borders and amnesty crowd whose position wasn’t much different than that of John McCain on illegal immigration — until it became a hot political issue — and now he’s running ads that make him sound like Tom Tancredo on the subject. Then there are the Bush tax cuts, embryonic stem cell research, and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. There have been so many flips that the flops are still running about two blocks behind, trying to catch up.
Are these shifts genuine? Are they purely for politics’ sake? Is Mitt Romney a conservative or is he a squish telling us what we want to hear while planning to take 3 or 4 steps back towards the middle once he feels less pressure to pander to the base? Probably the former, but there’s no way to really know the truth. Do we really want a nominee in 2008 that we have this sort of questions about?
Hawkins didn’t include the climate change issue in his litany: knowledgeable observers understand that ‘man-made climate change’ is a hoax and a pretext for expanding government while profiting from that expansion in the crony capitalist sector (see: Al Gore). Unfortunately, Mitt Romney either hasn’t received the memo or read it, because he believes in man-made climate change and in government solutions to that problem.
There is also the matter of Romneycare, an albatross that RINO New Jersey governor Blimpus Maximus refuses to drape around Romney’s neck, arguing that it is “intellectually dishonest” to link Romneycare with Obamacare. It’s an argument that might have a scintilla of plausibility but for the fact that in 2009 the architects of Romneycare traveled to the White House to advise the Obama administration on how to design and implement Obamacare. I’m still waiting for an explanation from Der Mittmeister.
NRO’s Daniel Foster sums it up neatly:
The problem for Christie — and Romney — is that plenty of folks do go beyond merely noting the resemblance, and do address candidate Romney’s evolving position. They say that there may be lots of areas where bad federal policy isn’t necessarily bad state policy, but the individual mandate is not one of them: it’s wrong at any level. They say that the affair reinforces the view that Romney is not a principled conservative, that with MassCare, he showed a willingness to embrace big-government liberalism and massive social engineering for political gain, and that that should concern primary voters. They say his subsequent vacillations on the topic show that we can’t trust him to follow through on any promises he may make on the trail, and so on.
Finally, there is the matter of the dreaded “M” word. For better or for worse, the fact remains that the U.S. is still, demographically speaking, a largely Christian nation; the rank-and-file of the GOP is overwhelmingly Christian, with most of these of the practicing, evangelical variety. And evangelicals are, at best, wary of Mormons. Hawkins explains:
Unfortunately, a significant block of Americans who consider Mormons to be part of a heretical Christian cult, rightly or wrongly, won’t vote a Mormon into the White House.
For example, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll back in June of 2006 found that 37 percent of Americans said “that they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate.” Similarly, in a February of 2007, USA Today poll, 24% of American adults flat out said that they would not vote for a Mormon who ran for the presidency.
Those numbers, which are none too cheery for Mitt backers become even more grim when you consider the very real possibility that many of the people who say that they won’t vote for a Mormon may be Christians who typically vote Republican, but won’t cast their vote for someone whom they consider to be part of a cult. This survey of Christians at ChristiaNet.com would seem to support that theory. 59% of the 2000 Christians surveyed “claimed they would not vote to elect a Mormon for president.”
So far, Mitt has tried to deal with this issue by casting himself as a candidate friendly to religious voters and to my ears, he has done a pretty good job of it.
However, it hasn’t worked so far and if he becomes the nominee, you can be absolutely sure that the mainstream media will use religion as a cudgel to beat him on a daily basis until the election. Nary a day would pass when you wouldn’t see stories on “magic” Mormon underwear, Mormon discrimination against black Americans, Mormon polygamy, and anything else they can come up with. Day in and day out, we’d be treated to anti-Mormon guests on the cable news shows, anti-Mormon books, and even movies that portray Mormons as terrorists.
So, at the moment, roughly a quarter of Americans aren’t going to vote for Mitt Romney because of his religion and given how the media will surely behave in 2008, we have every reason to think those numbers will only go up. Unfortunately, you simply cannot write off a quarter of the American public because of your religion and still win the presidency. That may not be fair, but it is something Mitt Romney has got to deal with effectively — and soon — if he wants to be President of the United States.
There is no reason to believe that the political landscape has changed significantly since Hawkins’ analysis first appeared in 2007.
The bottom line is this: Mitt Romney is the dream candidate of a GOP Establishment that has consistently undermined the Reagan Revolution ever since the Gipper left office. Romney is the Sultan of Status Quo…the Rajah of Reaching Across the Aisle. He is John McCain with ab-fab hair and a silky-smooth delivery that’s slicker than snot on glass door knob. As such, he may be the darling of the Establishment GOP, but he’s the bane of the Tea Party movement.
Next June, this Bulldog will pulling the lever for Herman Cain.