Skip to comments.Mitt Romney has “Dukakified” the Republicans; Update: Romney to keep the good parts of Obamacare
Posted on 09/10/2012 8:45:49 AM PDT by Bratch
Ive argued many times that the politician Mitt Romney most closely resembles is John Kerry, primarily due to the Mittsters legendary penchant for flip-flopping, a trait Kerry is also known for. I stand by my Kerry comparison, but Jonah Goldberg has an excellent point when he compares Romney to another Massachusetts politician: Michael Dukakis.
Meanwhile, the Republicans seem to have become Dukakified. It was Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, who insisted that the election should be entirely about competence, not ideology. Romney has avoided saying that in so many words, but its certainly how hes campaigning. After running to the right in the primaries and boldly picking Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney bizarrely seems to have retreated to an ideological and even intellectual crouch.
Though he doesnt say it explicitly, the tone and tenor of Romneys convention speech suggested that Obama failed because didnt have the right resume, not because he has the wrong ideas. Stuart Stevens, Romneys top strategist, has dismayed many on the right by operating according to the theory that Romney mustnt do anything to offend the delicate sensibilities of some statistical abstraction of a female voter in the Ohio suburbs. Listening to the Romney speech, youd have no idea he picked a principled, fearless, and brilliant conservative lightning rod as a running mate.
If Stevenss theory of the election is right, then the GOP convention was brilliantly executed. But that is a huge gamble as huge as Obamas bet that Americans have moved left. Right now, however, it looks too much like a contest between people with the wrong ideas against people without any.
My hats off to Jonah Goldberg. I never equated Romney to Dukakis, but the more I think about it, the more appropriate the comparison becomes. Like Romney, Dukakis is a former governor of the deep blue state of Massachusetts. Both are adherents to the technocratic approach to government in which the beneficence of the government bureaucrat plays a central role (see Romneycare). 59-point plans, which are nothing more than Keynesian big government boondoggles to conservatives, are utopia for technocrats and the armies of bureaucrats required to administer them.
To listen to his Obamas a nice guy whos in over his head speeches, Romneys primary objection to Obama is not that government shouldnt do what Obama wants it to do, but that Obama is an incompetent manager. While that may be true, the biggest problem with Obama is not competence, but his radical ideology: he wants to transform American into another bankrupt, European-style welfare state where government inexorably grows at the expense of individual freedoms. But Romney and his Dukakified campaign wont even bring this up for fear of offending someone.
Political ideology having consistent views and ideas based on core convictions is viewed as a liability by the Mittster, whose only discernible conviction is his desire to be president. Other than that self-aggrandizing conviction, though, Mitt goes out of his way to avoid any others. He finds them confining, for lack of a better word. If he had a consistent ideology, how could he tell Massachusetts voters upon his election as governor that he was a moderate with progressive views while later describing his gubernatorial tenure as severely conservative to a CPAC audience. (Romneycare, presumably, is evidence of his severe conservatism). Its liberating to lack a consistent ideology, I guess.
Much has been made of Romneys selection of Paul Ryan to be his running mate. But one gets the feeling the Mittster was just checking a box; that he selected Ryan not because he shared Ryans deep ideological commitment to fixing the nations finances, but because he needed to keep conservatives interested in his milquetoast campaign. But simply picking a conservative running mate is insufficient to assuage conservative concerns. He must actually embrace Ryans conservative positions.
Nearly two years ago, Governor Palin became the first national conservative leader to endorse the Ryan Roadmap to date the only specific plan to eliminate the deficit put forward by anyone. Romney has yet to endorse that plan, insisting hell come up with his own at some point in the future. Mitts been running for president for a decade. When will he come up with a plan? I doubt he ever will because hed run the risk of offending the delicate sensibilities of some statistical abstraction of a female voter in the Ohio suburbs as Goldberg notes above.
Romney prefers caution and inaction to bold action, defense to offense, and amorphous vagaries to concrete ideas. He says hell repeal Obamacare, but wont tell us how. He says hell reform the entitlement plans before they inevitably go bankrupt, but, again, wont say how. Its as if hes psychologically incapable of taking a consistent position on an issue and defending it. Whether this is due to his lack of core convictions or his lack of a backbone is anyones guess. In any event, hes simply running out the clock and hoping to avoid making a mistake. But if the election were held today, hed lose. A prevent defense can only work if youre ahead. And even then it often doesnt work. (Ask the Cleveland Browns.)
Although there are similarities to the campaign Romneys running today and the one Dukakis ran in 1988, the political envorinment was starkly different. In 1988, Dukakis ran a distinctly non-ideological campaign because he had no other choice. Both the 1980 and 1984 campaigns were ideological in nature, and liberalism suffered historic defeats. With Bush 41 running on Reaganism and effectively promising voters a third Reagan term, Dukakis would have had zero chance if he ran as a liberal. The Carter-Mondale years were still fresh in the minds of voters, and they were in no mood to return to those dark days of malaise. In short, voters were happy with the way the country was being run under Reagan, and didnt want to return to liberalism.
But Romney has a choice. Voters have witnessed the devastation unfettered liberalism inflicts on an economy. Obama has seen to that. This is the best opportunity Republicans have had to mount an ideological campaign since 1980.
Unfortunately, however, the GOP Establishment, in their infinite wisdom, chose a candidate who appears incapable of advancing or even explaining conservatism; a candidate who prefers to avoid the possibility of offending some moderate in a swing state rather than inspiring him (or her) to rally to the conservative cause as Reagan did. For this reason, Romney effectively banned the Tea Party from his convention. Last week I predicted this would backfire and result in a smaller post-convention bounce, and that whatever small bounce Romney did receive would quickly fade in response to Obamas bounce. Todays Real Clear Politics polling averages bear this out. His approval rating, at 49.2% and rising, is the highest its been since the bin Laden raid, and dangerously close to that magic 50% number.
Obamas surge in approval ratings is mirrored by his improvement in the horse race numbers with Mitt Romney. This is also from this afternoons RCP average.
Whatever momentum Romney was riding is long gone, and Team Mitt had better figure out how to generate enthusiasm real, sustainable grass roots enthusiasm for his campaign. Clearly his policy of ignoring Tea Party conservatives isnt working. If he sticks to his DC insider, consultant-approved Obamas a nice but incompetent guy routine, I dont see how he turns these numbers around.
The fact is, Obamas not a nice guy. Hes a narcissistic left-wing ideologue with a chip on his shoulder whos hell bent on transforming America into something unrecognizable, a guy wholl do anything, including flouting the constitution, to secure another four years so he can complete that transformation. And Romney considers him a nice guy? Ideologues can only be defeated with ideology, not platitudes designed to offend the least amount of people. Conservative ideas work every time theyre tried, liberal ideas do not, as the past four years make crystal clear. If we cant make the conservative case in this economic environment, when can we?
The debates offer an opportunity for Romney to gain ground but, unlike in the primary debates, Mitt wont have Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann around to jump to his defense every time hes on the ropes. Goldbergs point, I think, is that if voters arent given an alternative, the devil they know may well be preferable to the devil they dont know. Ideas, even bad ones, trump no ideas. If the Romney brain trust, such as it is, doesnt figure this out, and quickly, were in for another four long years of misery. Unfortunately, by that time it may be too late to prevent America from suffering a Greece-style collapse.
Update: (h/t xthred) Shocker: Romney indicated today that he wont repeal all of Obamacare:
Mitt Romney says his pledge to repeal President Barack Obamas health law doesnt mean that young adults and those with medical conditions would no longer be guaranteed health care.
The Republican presidential nominee says hell replace the law with his own plan. He tells NBCs Meet the Press that the plan he worked to pass while governor of Massachusetts deals with medical conditions and with young people.
Romney says he doesnt plan to repeal of all of Obamas signature health care plan. He says there are a number of initiatives he likes in the Affordable Care Act that he would keep in place if elected president.
So Romney wants to keep the preconditions coverage guarantee part of Obamacare. I have one simple question: Suppose I decide to eschew Homeowners insurance. If I do that can I expect an insurance company to insure my home after it catches on fire? Hello, Mr. Insurance provider. My house is on fire. Id like to purchase an insurance policy effective right now to pay for this fire which is raging out of control and burning my house down? Oh wait, Obama says you must. Can anyone explain to me how this is insurance, and how insurance providers can possibly stay in business under this mandate? Anyone?
Romney will lose Massachusetts because of RomneyCARE.
Americans HATE ObamaCARE/RomneyCARE.
But like Obama, Romney does not care.
There is a 4-5 point rally to the flag effect during the anniversary of 09-11. Like it or not the fact O was in charge when the Seals got Bin Laden is going to help him in the polls for the next week or so.
So the “hate Romney Always” Freepers might want to hold off on popping the corks from their Obama champagne bottles just yet.
You know what? Keep it up. Keep bashing Romney. When Obama wins, we lose. Got it?
Romney for reasons known only to him believes obama is a nice guy who is in over his head.
Now, if obama were a conservative Romney would eviscerate him.
GREGORY: Well, let me ask you about a couple of specific areas. On healthcare, you say that you would rescind the presidents healthcare plan on day one. Does that mean that youre prepared to say to Americans, young adults and those with pre-existing conditions, that they would no longer be guaranteed healthcare?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, of course not. I say we’re going to replace Obamacare. And I’m replacing it with my own plan. And, you know, even in Massachusetts where I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people. Everybody
GREGORY: So you’d keep that part of the federal plan?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their— their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.
This is a very good description of Mittens. Everyone should read this, at least the first six paragraphs or so.
As a Palin fan, and a longtime contributor to C4P, this doesn’t do us any good at his point. Would Doug Brady prefer Obama over Romney? Not me.
If Romney loses Palin will get a strong shot at becoming the shadow leader on the right. And if he wins she will be a Tea Party leader that keeps Romney honest. And would have a good shot in 2020 (she’d be only 55).
So calm down with the circular firing squad right now.
So, Palin’s upset and now she’s going to go after Romney?
I like Palin and think she’s gotten a raw deal from both the MSM and some of the GOP establishment, but it seems to me that her time to go after Romney was in the primaries.
Yet, given that opportunity, she passed. Once she passed, she needed to decide whether she wants the GOP candidate or Obama to win in November. Right now, it appears to me that she’s undecided.
By the way, can anyone provide a link to a good article explaining why Palin was not at the GOP convention. I read a lot, but there’s been precious little analysis of her failure to appear. I do know that she appeared mighty upset in an interview pre-convention. What’s going on here?
This is the type of questioning, which asks what do you say about reports that you beat your wife regularly.
Such stupid loaded questions from NBC and why on earth is Romney even doing these interviews!
Romney can’t be a conservative, because he isn’t. It’s that simple. All of his current positions are flip-flops and oblunder is going to slaughter him with it in the debate. He’ll have Romney on his heels the entire time.
Keeping Romney honest - that is funny.
Romney says ‘I will repeal obamacare the first day in office’
Romney says ‘I will replace obamacare with Romneycare’
Romney says ‘I will fix obamacare by keeping some parts and not others’
Sorry which Romney are conservatives going to keep honest.
Which article did you read where Bratch said “Romney bad, Øbama good”?
>>Romney for reasons known only to him believes obama is a nice guy who is in over his head. Now, if obama were a conservative Romney would eviscerate him.<<
No, if people didn’t already know Obama, and hadn’t already voted for or against him in the past, then Romney should go negative and “eviscerate him.”
However, people who will never vote for Obama know exactly why they will never do so. What “he’s a nice guy, but...” ads are going after are the voters who has already voted once for Obama (and remember, that’s a majority of voters in most of the swing states) and have to be convinced that while their previous vote was understandable, they now need to reassess the situation and vote against Obama.
You don’t accomplish this by trying to convince them that they were idiots the first time they voted, regardless whether that’s your personal opinion of them. You accomplish it by pointing out how the policies he’s advocated are not working, and it’s time to vote in someone who will try a different policy tack. The swing voters they’re going for don’t have a clue whether Romney’s preferred policies will work, just like they didn’t have a clue whether Obama’s would. Not everyone is an economist, after all.
They’re just looking for someone they can trust to put in charge of the country, and you would be surprised at how many of those people in the middle are completely turned off by someone going negative. They don’t understand, or care about, the policy details; they just don’t want someone who’s always tearing people down to be their candidate, and too much negative campaigning will lose their votes.
I just wish Romesty would shut up completely and let his surrogates do the talking. Just shut up . . . get this illegal alien out of our White House and then he can do stupid things like keeping parts of Obamacare . . . at least the jug eared moron will be out of our White HOuse.
Please, Mittens, just shut up. There are millions of Conservatives that are going to have to hold their nose to vote for you because you are a big “D” democrat. Please, shut up.
I am not yet at the point where I will accuse Romney of going weak “McCain” on Obama, but it certainly appears that way. However, I am terribly disturbed that both Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan took a “Republican Country Club” weekend off this past weekend. You know, I really do not mind if Romney/Ryan go down to defeat against Obama/Biden, but.......the truth be known....it is not about Romney nor Ryan, it’s about the destruction of the USA as a free nation!!! If Obama wins, you can kiss the USA goodbye. Look,,,,,fools....there is no such thing as a free lunch, period. Sooner, rather then later, the “Obama Stash” taxpayer money is going to run out and, then there will shortly follow riots and war in our streets!!!
I do not want Romney /Ryan to rest for one minute. I want them tearing Obama to shreds politically, every day, every hour, every minute. Obama is not a “nice” guy. He is an evil man, intent on taking America down, period. As for me, I am the over-the-hill-gang, and will soon be pushing flowers up from my resting place. It’s you young folks that will have to survive the horror that is coming!!! I have done my best, and will continue as such, until the Lord, God almighty takes me home!!!
Ok, we get it, you apparently do not like Palin, because she isn’t dancing to your tune.
So much for keeping Romney’s feet to the fire........
now don’t be critical of Romney,
do not talk about his liberal record,
don’t talk now about his flip flops.......
If he gets elected we will hear the same drum beat.......
don’t be critical he is our president now,
don’t press to hard the 2014 mid term elections are coming up,
don’t be critical the 2016 election is coming up don’t want to give the dems any ammunition.
When is this mythical “feet to the fire going to happen”?
Pssst...don’t know if anybody’s told ya yet, but Romney didn’t say that.
Take a listening/reading comprehension course and call us in the morning.
I sure wish people would quit jumping on this bandwagon. He did not say he’s keeping parts of Obamacare. The plan is to repeal it and replace it with a sensible reform bill. To repeal w/o drafting a better bill would be stupid. Yes ... there needs to be some reform. Just not Obama’s idea of reform.