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.
Doesn't this characterize both Rudi and Mitt, though? Has Mitt said he'll cut off funding, or has Rudy? On this issue, I don't see the difference between them. Didn't both back financial support for abortion when they had the chance? Neither has said anything about keeping government out of it. Frankly, I would have thought that Buckley's position on abortion is a stance both of them would have adopted by now.
I disagree with McCain's comments on this issue and believe it is irrational and unreasonable to believe that there is NEVER an occasion when torture is a moral option. Furthermore, If we as a nation come to believe so, we might as well pack it up.
Defending against foreign enemies is the most basic and primary functions of government, and such a defense may include on infrequent occasions, torture. No one is suggesting we adopt the barbaric practices of brutal physical torture routinely used by terrorists, the Viet Cong, Nazi's or anyone of hundreds of oppressive, tyrannical regimes.
But using for instance, the technique of water boarding when it may save many or even one life held in a painful, hostile situation, is justifiable. Unlike other forms of physical torture, it is quick (most give up in less than a minute), and leaves no lingering physical or even psychological damage. This in anyone's book, should be a small price for a vicious enemy of the United States to endure, something you GWB, are plenty bright enough to understand.
Furthermore, because of the overall nature of the technique, it is not a form of torture which would increase or inspire retaliation by our enemy against American troops situated in hostile territory.
Seconds or minutes of discomfort administered to a vicious enemy with no lasting side effects, or one to thousands of lives lost forever. Pick one.
You are absolutely right. It is a no brainer. See my post above.
Me either. A police officer abusing a suspect or a parent abusing a child is one thing, but an interrogator using enhanced interrrogtion techniques to stop a nuclear attack is completely something else.
By definition, our terrorist enemies and their state supporters have declared themselves enemies of the civilized order and its humanitarian rules. In fighting them, we must of course hold ourselves to our own high moral standards without, however, succumbing to the utopian illusion that we can prevail while immaculately observing every precept of the Sermon on the Mount.
‘NRs recent cover story on Mitt that was as good as an endorsement.’
I didn’t find the article was an ‘endorsement’ at all. I learned a lot about the man I didn’t know, but it was hardly an ‘endorsement’ any more than Bloomberg being on TWS’s cover was two weeks ago.
‘Bill Buckley speaks - we all (at least) have to listen.’
Most of us don’t have the time, or the thesaurus, required to figure out what the hell he’s trying to say, bro....(chuckle)
He’s the only man on the planet that requires ten minutes, three ‘asides’ and a witty one liner to ask for a glass of ice water from a waiter. I subscribe to NR, but avoid his contributions for those rare evenings when I can’t fall asleep.
Works every time.
OH man - that’s funny - and 100% true.
I have my moments....(chuckle)
I like the guy, he just bores me. He’s the ‘anti Dr Williams’.
Williams boors me when he guest hosts for Rush, but I love his columns.
Conversely, I can listen to Buckley all day long...but he’s the Stephen King of political discourse. Takes four hundred pages to get to the point....and then another 700 pages to pound the point home.
Wait til we run across somebody I really don’t like...(chuckle)
have a good evening.
If it wasn’t an endorsement, it was as close as anyone could come to it. The cover could have been produced a dozen different ways but the magazine’s reference to Mitt being an “executive” (what we don’t have now) couldn’t be missed.
"Chuckle," indeed. Apropos your remarks: why I believe you are accusing Mr. Buckley of unmitigated affective sesquipedalianism. The concatenary effects of your doubtless humorously intended riposte, taken pari passu, might possibly lead one to accuse you of lèse majesté.
The wretched state of your dormitory habit is certainly no concern of ours. Suggest a flagon of the old aqua vitae, instead of aiming this denigrating charge of gongorism at the doyen of conservative thought in America.
I for one, find his writings, although preternaturally clad in penumbral classical allusion, to be succinct: indeed, to the point. Finest writer since Pliny the Elder, or was it Pliny the Younger? Brevitas anima scientiae, verbum sat sapientes, plus que ça change, plus que c'est la même chose
.... are you asleep yet?
LOL great reply. Are you Warner Todd Huston?
In answer to your questions:
“Romney was still advocating his pro-abortion ideas not too long ago as Governor of Massachusetts”
“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”
-romney never advocated any pro abortion ideas as governor
-romney’s actions as governor were praised by the NRA
-romney converted to prolife halfway through his term as governor
-romney has been a hunter of small game all his life
And as for the position that Jefferson took knowing that it was morally wrong even Warner Todd Huston figured out: slavery
Also, this smearing of Buckley is just wrong:
“Buckley’s bending over backwards”, “man of his advanced age”
Great day to you too
Um....how about free the ones chained to your plantation. Lame,LAME, line. The author should be embarrassed.
“No mention of nukes. Zero.”
ok. Tancredo answered with something along the lines that he would call jack bauer to find the nukes so I assumed nukes was in the question. It doesn’t change anything.
I don’t get your point here. Are you saying the the terrorist apprehended should be entitled to due process, lawyers, etc.. while another terrorist attack is in the works?
Romney never backed government funding of abortion. Rudy julie did as late as last month. Now he apparently supports the so called hyde amendment that bars federal funding of abortion. But don’t expect anyone to call him a flip flopper for the changing of positions.
My response stands with or without nukes or WMD’s.
Post #22 is strong and clear and stands well on it’s own. Refute it honestly, or not at all.
I wouldn't have a big problem with torturing terrorists, but the question wasn't even about torture. The question wasn't about doing to the terrorists some of the things that were done to John McCain. No one was going to leave the terrorists with the permanent physical impairments that John McCain suffers. Instead, the question was whether we would do things that would be frightening but not permanently harmful. In order to save innocent American lives, we shouldn't hesitate to do these things if we know the terrorists know something.
Based on your last post I think we are in agreement. I see no contradiction between that and the post #22.
Some would argue that sleep deprivation and waterboarding is torture. Those technics you mentioned (ie skinning people alive) are too primitive and I doubt would be used under any circumstance. Not for “moral” reasons but because there are more effective ways to get the information (ie. drugs).
The problem with mccain is that he wants to ban torture under any circumstance. And that would prevent the use of “enhanced interrogations” in those unlikely but possible scenarios like the one brit hume mentioned.
But at the debate mccain said this in response to the question: “If I knew for sure that they had that kind of information, I, as the president of the United States, would take that responsibility. That is a million-to-one scenario. But only I would take that responsibility.”
It seems to me that he took the same position as everyone else there.
A commander should never let on that less than legal and proper treatment of prisoners will be condoned, least he create a thousand avid torture masters among his subordinates.
Most give in within seconds. The toughest of al Qaeda's prisoners, Khalid Shiek Mohammed, held out 2 to 2 1/2 minutes before begging to confess.
Waterboarding would work well in imminent situations also, perhaps even better and quicker than any other technique.
Excellent post! I am a strong Romney supporter. This is a hit peiece on him.
Wasn’t the assault weapons ban already on the books in Mass when he took office?
Personally, I think he is the most exciting and electable Republican to come along in a long time. He makes many others look like they are drugged.
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