Skip to comments.Has William F. Buckley Chosen Romney for '08?
Posted on 05/17/2007 7:36:55 AM PDT by Mobile Vulgus
William F. Buckley once said something to the effect that he didn't want the most conservative nominee as presidential candidate for the GOP, he wanted the most conservative candidate that could win the election as the GOP's nominee. In light of this sentiment, I am wondering if the lion of old line conservatism has decided that Mitt Romney just might be the "conservative enough" candidate for the GOP in 2008?
Last week, Buckley offered for our consideration a column mentioning Mitt Romney's conversion from abortion advocate to his new found status of anti-abortion believer -- a stance that puts him just in time to offer himself as the GOP candidate for the 2008 GOP nomination -- and how so many are rightfully skeptical of this new stance.
In Romney's Moral Thought Buckley mentions that Romney's sudden conversion is acclaimed as that born of "studied reflection" on the issue, just as Romney claims. Of course, Buckley seems to conveniently ignore the fact that Romney was still advocating his pro-abortion ideas not too long ago as Governor of Massachusetts making it a bit hard to believe that Mitt spent much time agonizing over this change.
Buckley, though, seems to accept Romney's claims at face value based on the fact that America has changed its prevailing moral opinion in the past. I find his reasoning less than convincing, especially when he cites Thomas Jefferson's acceptance of slavery at the same time he was writing about freedom and liberty in the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson, it is true, did own slaves as he was propounding for American freedom, but he never thought of slavery as a moral good. He always thought of it as a bad thing that should go away. He just had no idea about how to go about getting rid of it. Additionally, Jefferson never imagined the issue of slavery was one not to be reconsidered for future Americans. He even attempted to start a society that might help repatriate African slaves back to Africa, called the American Colonization Society.
So, to use Jefferson as some sort of example of an embargoing of a moral issue or moral evolution in comparison with Mitt Romney's is not really a legitimate one.
I will admit that Buckley doesn't come right out and state plainly that he believes Mitt's conversion. And, the other point Buckley makes, that of scolding the pro-abortioners for never seeming to give the issue much thought and just taking their own belief without question, is a good one. But, I find his smoothing of the waves for Romney a bit disturbing and seems to speak to the conservative stalwart's sizing Romney up favorably for the nomination.
In Romney we have a candidate that just can't be believed on some of the most important conservative issues; guns and abortion. With his late lie on his "lifetime" as a hunter and his only recently advocating for a pro-abortion position, Romney seems almost like a candidate who will say just anything to get the nomination. His claim of deep moral thought on the issue after which he emerged a newly minted anti-abortionist is just too convenient to be accepted.
In any case, it seems plain that Bill Buckley doesn't want to shut the door on Mitt Romney with this little op ed of his. I cannot say, however, that he is standing upright with this consideration. Buckley's bending over backwards to give Romney the benefit of the doubt makes me marvel that a man of his advanced age is flexible enough for the effort.
IMO, Buckley is pointing out the need to allow for changes in views on things like Abortion. I suspect that Mr. Buckley thinks that chaining the entirety of the Presidential nominating race in the Republican party to that issue is unwise.
I also get the idea that Buckley fnd pro abortion people (Rudy) less then mentally vigorous....:)
Even at his advanced age, I wouldn’t sell Bill Buckley short.
NR’s recent cover story on Mitt that was as good as an endorsement.
Buckley appears convinced of Governor Romney's conversion. Yet, this article seems to cast some doubt as to the authenticity of the conversion and ignores all of the pro-life and pro-family actions taken by Romney while governor which confirm the conversion is quite real and sincere. (click to review)
In any event, it makes sense for Buckley to support Romney since he wanted the most conservative candidate that could win the election as the GOP's nominee.
The thing is, how many times does Romney have to explain these things. I have heard him explain his reasons, actions and chnage of heart ad nauseum. I was considering Romney for a long time, but couldn’t bring myself to full fledged support based on his pro-choice advocacy and his 2nd Amendment issues.
Then I heard him explain it over and over and over again, and I relaized the guy has changed. He has had a change of heart. I believe he was always personally pro-life but fell in the pro-choice category as far as government was concerned, and then changed his mind about government. How do I know this? Because I had a very similar experience. I felt the same way Romney did. I was personally opposed to abortion, but felt the government shouldn’t impose on a woman’s right to choose. I was wrong and so was Romney. But we have both changed our minds. Our hearts were always in the right place-pro-life.
The only thing he has done as far as guns go was he didn’t oppose the Assault Weapons Ban. He explained that for his state he felt that it should continue unopposed. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II have had similar outlooks. Bush II said he would sign the AWB if Congress presented the bill, they never did, so the ban expired.
I believe whole heartedly that Romney, as President will not put forth any restrictions on our 2nd Amendment rights. I also believe whole-heartedly he will put strict constructionist judges on the bench in the vein of Roberts and Alito.
That being said, I also believe he will manage the office of the executive of the federal government with the same effiency and skill as he ran his own two businesses. That sounds pretty good. Compare that to the other viable candidates out there, and we have a pretty strong, conservative candidate who can appeal to all Americans, not just the conservative ones.
One criticism I keep hearing about him is that if he was elected in liberal Massachussetts, he must have done something wrong. But I see it as, if he was elected in that state, he did something right. He governed conservatively (see UNmarked Pachage’s home page for the details), and did the best he could with 85% liberal legislature breathing down his neck.
I’m done waiting for Fred. Romney is our candidate. He can win the primary and he can most assuredly win the general.
I have no problem with people looking at evaluating all of the candidates. That is what we should do, but we also shouldn’t bash the candidates, but simply point out why we like our candidate. Whenever I see someone bashing a republican candidate, I feel it’s a little disheartening. If you want me to consider someone other than Romney, tell me the good things baout your candidate, don’t bash mine, that gets us nowhere.
Bill Buckley speaks - we all (at least) have to listen.
Hunter is the only GOP guy out there I’d really like to see; Romney and possibly Thompson are passable and the rest just aren’t so good but still head and shoulders above the rats.
A person can have an epiphany in a New York Minute and change their view on something. Pointing out that Mitt’s change seems to be sudden or recent doesn’t automatically mean it isn’t genuine.
Clinton and Gore and Gebhardt changed their positions to pro-abort, and no one questioned their “conversion”
He believes (or so at least he wrote some time ago) that the state has no role in abortion; that it is a Church matter for those who belong to the Church, and a "Personal Medical matter" for those who do not. Therefore, he opined, the best law on abortion is no law. His rationale as I understood it: THe church or similar organization, has a perfect right to forbid the procedure to its members, it even has a perfect right to attempt to persuade others who are not among its members, but in a democracy they have no right to make their views binding on everyone
In other words, WFB is philosophically akin to both Rudy and Romney. On this issue, working within the Buckleian Logic, both Rudy and Romney would be "conservative enough."
While I usually enjoy your writing, this time we will have to agree to disagree over what the definition of torture is or is not. I don't think Romney was condoing the use of torture --- and we shouldn't. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" are not torture in my book....or Bush's or Cheney's or Romney's. I guess the only technique used which is on the borderline is waterboarding. I've seen that demonstrated and it leaves no physical marks or disabilities. I also think it is rarely used and saved for the most critical of cases.
Anti-torture absolutists like Sullivan adamantly deny that harsh tactics produce reliable information. Its their way of avoiding the moral dilemma presented by a ticking time-bomb scenario. But theyll have to face it now, because in four short minutes Brian Ross utterly explodes that particular article of quasi-religious faith as fantasy. Not only did they break Khaled Sheikh Mohammed; not only was the information he gave them valuable; not only did it save lives; but Rosss sources include people within the CIA who are opposed to the practices.
Bombshell: ABC independently confirms success of CIA torture tactics
Does your candidate, Fred Thompson, side with McCain and Lyndsey Graham on this issue as well? ;o)
This “Warner Todd Huston” sounds like an idiot with an agenda. He is obviously doing some other candidates’ bidding here and this article is laced with subtle lies to lead people astray.
The comparison between Romney and Thomas Jefferson is actually very accurate. Both had to take positions that they thought were morally wrong but were necessary in order to win and achieve the greater good.
This “Warner Todd Huston” is a dwarf compared to William F. Buckley. I just hope that after giving this whole lecture on morality and defying one of the great thinkers of our age it doesn’t turn out that he is a rudy julie supporter.
Well, putting that personal attack aside (but see tagline), I have to say that I don't think Mitt has commited a faux pas at all. Nobody is condoing torture. Period.
The great military leaders you listed previously, lived in a pre-9/11 world.
If it comes down to stopping a terrorist attack on a major US city by using some of these techniques, I think I'd have to side with Bush and Romney on this. There is no eye-gouging, acid being poured or limbs breaking etc. No Jack Bauer stuff.
The most severe of the techniques is rarely used and is reserved only for a very small percentage of the most uncooperative detainees believed to possess critical intelligence.
Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" asked Hennen.
"It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president `for torture.' We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in," Cheney replied. "We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."
To read the techniques requested is to understand how restrained the military has been in its approach to terror detaineesand how utterly false the torture narrative has been. A detainee could be poked only after review by Gitmos commanding general of intelligence and the commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, and only pursuant to careful coordination and monitoring.
It is the necessity of this fallen world that we must oppose evil with force; and we must use all the lawful means necessary to ensure that good, rather than evil, triumphs.
This issue of torture has become a words game. Romney says he is against torture but in favor of enhanced interrogations. I actually thought that was brilliant because it shows that he will do whatever it takes while being mindful of not offend anyone’s sensibilities.
But anyway, McCain is wrong. The question from Brit Hume presupposed that the terrorist knew about the nuclear weapons and asked if the candidate would authorize waterboarding of that one man in order to save the life of millions. Is there even a dilemma here? I don’t think so.
And his point about Guantanamo was that he wanted to deny the terrorist access to the legal system. Guantanamo was just a figure of speech. They could be held at a secret base or wherever as you suggested.
“On this issue, working within the Buckleian Logic, both Rudy and Romney would be “conservative enough.””
nope. What he wrote was that abortion is a matter of conscience. So if he believes that a candidate is personally against abortion but has taken a pro choice stance to keep government out of it, then WFB can cut him some slack.
The problem with rudy julie is that he doesn’t personally think that abortion is morally wrong as exemplified by his open support for the public funding of it. That’s direct government interference. WFB is not ok with that.
This Warner Todd Huston sounds like an idiot with an agenda. He is obviously doing some other candidates bidding here and this article is laced with subtle lies to lead people astray. The comparison between Romney and Thomas Jefferson is actually very accurate. Both had to take positions that they thought were morally wrong but were necessary in order to win and achieve the greater good. This Warner Todd Huston is a dwarf compared to William F. Buckley. I just hope that after giving this whole lecture on morality and defying one of the great thinkers of our age it doesnt turn out that he is a rudy julie supporter.Interesting that you aren't enough of a "great thinker" to know what those supposed "subtle lies" are, I noticed. I suppose you are just a Mitthead so full of Mitt that you obviously have an agenda and are just doing Mitt's bidding.
See how easy that was to turn your own blather back on you without thinking, either!?
But, please DO enlighten us on what "position" that Jefferson took that he thought was "morally wrong" but that he took anyway to "achieve the greater good"?
You are a dwarf compared to just about any one, great thinker or no.If Mitt is your man... well, it isn't surprising. But if you flip flop as much as he does, I'll lay odds that you will love the guy who wrote the original article by Sunday if it seemed that liking him made you popular.
Have a great day.