Skip to comments.Rally for Romney: Conservatives need to act now, before it is too late.
Posted on 01/31/2008 10:37:41 AM PST by Delacon
I have spent nearly four decades in the conservative movement from precinct worker to the Reagan White House. I campaigned for Reagan in 1976 and 1980. I served in several top positions during the Reagan administration, including chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. I have been an active conservative when conservatism was not in high favor.
I remember in 1976, as a 19-year-old in Pennsylvania working the polls for Reagan against the sitting Republican president, Gerald Ford, I was demeaned for supporting a candidate who was said to be an extremist B-actor who couldnt win a general election, and opposing a sitting president. And at the time Reagan wasnt even on the ballot in Pennsylvania because he decided to focus his limited resources on other states. I tried to convince voter after voter to write-in Reagans name on the ballot. In the end, Reagan received about five percent of the Republican vote as a write-in candidate.
Of course, Reagan lost the nomination to Ford by the narrowest of margins. Ford went on to lose to a little-known ex-governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter. But the Reagan Revolution became stronger, not weaker, as a result. And the rest is history.
I dont pretend to speak for President Reagan or all conservatives. I speak for myself. But I watched the Republican debate last night, which was held at the Reagan library, and I have to say that I fear a McCain candidacy. He would be an exceedingly poor choice as the Republican nominee for president.
Lets get the largely unspoken part of this out the way first. McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton. These are not good qualities to have in a president. As I watched him last night, I could see his personal contempt for Mitt Romney roiling under the surface. And why? Because Romney ran campaign ads that challenged McCains record? Is this the first campaign in which an opponent has run ads questioning another candidates record? Thats par for the course. To the best of my knowledge, Romneys ads have not been personal. He has not even mentioned the Keating-Five to counter McCain's cheap shots. But the same cannot be said of McCains comments about Romney.
Last night McCain, who is the putative frontrunner, resorted to a barrage of personal assaults on Romney that reflect more on the man making them than the target of the attacks. McCain now has a habit of describing Romney as a manager for profit and someone who has laid-off people, implying that Romney is both unpatriotic and uncaring. Moreover, he complains that Romney is using his millions or fortune to underwrite his campaign. This is a crass appeal to class warfare. McCain is extremely wealthy through marriage. Romney has never denigrated McCain for his wealth or the manner in which he acquired it. Evidently Romneys character doesnt let him to cross certain boundaries of decorum and decency, but McCains does. And what of managing for profit? When did free enterprise become evil? This is liberal pablum which, once again, could have been uttered by Hillary Clinton.
And there is the open secret of McCain losing control of his temper and behaving in a highly inappropriate fashion with prominent Republicans, including Thad Cochran, John Cornyn, Strom Thurmond, Donald Rumsfeld, Bradley Smith, and a list of others. Does anyone honestly believe that the Clintons or the Democrat party would give McCain a pass on this kind of behavior?
As for McCain the straight-talker, how can anyone explain his abrupt about-face on two of his signature issues: immigration and tax cuts? As everyone knows, McCain led the battle not once but twice against the border-security-first approach to illegal immigration as co-author of the McCain-Kennedy bill. He disparaged the motives of the millions of people who objected to his legislation. He fought all amendments that would limit the general amnesty provisions of the bill. This controversy raged for weeks. Only now he says hes gotten the message. Yet, when asked last night if he would sign the McCain-Kennedy bill as president, he dissembles, arguing that its a hypothetical question. Last Sunday on Meet the Press, he said he would sign the bill. Theres nothing straight about this talk. Now, I understand that politicians tap dance during the course of a campaign, but this was a defining moment for McCain. And another defining moment was his very public opposition to the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He was the medias favorite Republican in opposition to Bush. At the time his primary reason for opposing the cuts was because they favored the rich (and, by the way, they did not). Now he says he opposed them because they werent accompanied by spending cuts. Thats simply not correct.
Even worse than denying his own record, McCain is flatly lying about Romneys position on Iraq. As has been discussed for nearly a week now, Romney did not support a specific date to withdraw our forces from Iraq. The evidence is irrefutable. And its also irrefutable that McCain is abusing the English language (Romneys statements) the way Bill Clinton did in front of a grand jury. The problem is that once called on it by everyone from the New York Times to me, he obstinately refuses to admit the truth. So, last night, he lied about it again. This isnt open to interpretation. But it does give us a window into who he is.
Of course, its one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCains case, adherence is the exception to the rule McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?
But what about his national security record? Its a mixed bag. McCain is rightly credited with being an early voice for changing tactics in Iraq. He was a vocal supporter of the surge, even when many were not. But he does not have a record of being a vocal advocate for defense spending when Bill Clinton was slashing it. And he has been on the wrong side of the debate on homeland security. He supports closing Guantanamo Bay, which would result in granting an array of constitutional protections to al-Qaeda detainees, and limiting legitimate interrogation techniques that have, in fact, saved American lives. Combined with his (past) de-emphasis on border-security, I think its fair to say that McCains positions are more in line with the ACLU than most conservatives.
Why recite this record? Well, if conservatives dont act now to stop McCain, he will become the Republican nominee and he will lose the general election. He is simply flawed on too many levels. He is a Republican Hillary Clinton in many ways. Many McCain supporters insist he is the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. And they point to certain polls. The polls are meaningless this far from November. Six months ago, the polls had Rudy winning the Republican nomination. In October 1980, the polls had Jimmy Carter defeating Ronald Reagan. This is no more than spin.
But wouldnt the prospect of a Clinton or Obama presidency drive enough of the grassroots to the polls for McCain? It wasnt enough to motivate the base to vote in November 2006 to stop Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker or the Democrats from taking Congress. My sense is it wont be enough to carry McCain to victory, either. And McCain has done more to build animus among the people whose votes he will need than Denny Hastert or Bill Frist. And there wont be enough Democrats voting for McCain to offset the electorate McCain has alienated (and is likely to continue to alienate, as best as I can tell).
McCain has not won overwhelming pluralities, let alone majorities, in any of the primaries. A thirty-six-percent win in Florida doesnt make a juggernaut. But the liberal media are promoting him now as the presumptive nominee. More and more establishment Republican officials are jumping on McCains bandwagon the latest being Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has all but destroyed Californias Republican party.
Lets face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. But McCain is the least perfect of the viable candidates. The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our conservative principles is Mitt Romney. I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter. If conservatives dont unite behind Romney at this stage, and become vocal in their support for him, then they will get McCain as their Republican nominee and probably a Democrat president. And in either case, we will have a deeply flawed president.
Mark Levin, a former senior Reagan Justice Department official, is a nationally syndicated radio-talk-show host.
I am very grateful for the opportunity. I have been meeting politicians my entire life because my parents were GOP activists and I have never met any more sincere and accessible than Romney.
You’re right. VP’s typically don’t matter, but McCain is 71 and will be 72 when he takes office and has a history of skin cancer. It wouldn’t surprise me too much to see him bow out early second term, or see his VP take on considerably more responsibility.
If he were to pick someone like Thompson, or even Jeb Bush, (long shot, I realize) I do think it would excite some conservatives on the right.
I’ll be surprises to see the media destroy him as easily as you are making it out to be....maybe, but I’d still be surprised.
Mitt’s father was the head of the war auto production effort, improving our capacity to supply the necessary equipment to win World War 2.
I don’t know how many males there have been in the Romney family in their less-than-200-year history of being Americans, nor do I know how you can be certain that none of those males ever joined up for the military.
I don’t know how common it is for a particular family tree to not include people who served. I don’t know whether there were ANY boys of military age during the 1st or 2nd world war.
I do know that the point has nothing to do with whether a particular man is qualified to be President.
Actually, it is unlikely, based on the evidence — the evidence being the projections of three different sources of what is likely.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Romney would make a bad president, but I he is a flip-flopper anyway you cut it. He has all the right positions now, just didn’t have any of them 4 years ago.
I don’t know how we can effectively defend Romney when we all tore Kerry apart for flip-flopping.
Honestly, I would be surprised if he got much of the black vote at all. The GOP typically gets between 7%-10% of the black vote? I don’t think he will much appeal to African Americans and would be shocked if he could break the 10% mark going against Hillary or Barack.
The article doesn’t mention NAMBLA. However, his record on sexual orientation issues is decidedly slimy.
Haha. Maybe you’re right, but the poll reflects the fact that McCain has a proven track record of scoring well with “independents” and moderates.
The real problem with polls showing a candidate losing to Hillary Clinton is that she is such a defined, well known candidate. People have had over a decade to learn not to like to her and her negatives remain alarmingly high to the general public.
For Romney (or any candidate for that matter) to being running as far behind her as he is means something in even in Feb.
Gosh could it be he is not a politician, he has been very successful in a field that they couldn’t begin to compete in, he is better looking, and smarter. The are all politicians, they have made their living off the tax payers all their lives and are jealous of someone who has forgotten more about the real world than they will ever know.
A couple of more things. I have had the honor of knowing many WWII and Vietnam veterans in my life and two things that are true across the board with all of them is they don’t spend their life talking about their service or consider themselves heroes. They to a man will tell you that the ones who never came home are the heroes. I respect McCain’s service to his country, but he is starting to sound a lot like John Kerry with the look at me I am a war hero stuff. And lastly he continually tells all us that he is a leader, it has been my experience that real leaders don’t need to keep telling us about it.
In Massachusetts, the Attorney General is the only one with standing to represent the government before the courts.
Romney could scream about wanting to do so, but he could not actually do so. If the AG wouldn’t go fight it, Romney could do nothing about it.
As to what people were “surprised” at, there was a hard fight waged to get the religious exception INTO the new law. It was only when that FAILED that the Romney administration came up with the novel legal argument that the old law had not actually been superceded. If that were the case, nobody would have been fighting to get it into the existing law.
Eventually, reality caught up, and Romney was required by law to issue regulations based on the new law.
BTW, unlike the gay marriage case, there are actual real legal scholars who disagree with Romney on this, so my discussion is based on the preponderance of the legal views, not all of them. In fact, there was a lawsuit filed to overturn this ruling. So far, the ruling stands, and so far as I can tell the lawsuit will fail — which would indicate that the legal position taken by the AG was sadly correct.
BTW, I don’t support a blanket religious exception for religions which run public facilities as part of a care system where people don’t have a choice of what facility they are taken to.
To use an extreme example, I’d be rather upset if I needed an emergency blood transfusion but was transported to a hospital run by a religious organization that wouldn’t give me blood because of their “religious beliefs”. Of course, we would all agree about that, because we all think a religious objection to blood transfusions sound silly.
The constitution’s protection allowing you to freely exercise your religion does not give you blanket ability to force those views on others. The legislature could have kpet the exemption, but I don’t believe the constitution required it, and so I don’t believe a suit on that aspect would be successful either.
Given that a significant part of the pro-life community isn’t in agreement about plan b to begin with, I find this particular incident rather minor in the grand scheme of things.
I do wish he had been able to, or would have, fought that more than he did, but it just doesn’t get me worked up like it gets some people.
Plan B at worst only sometimes prevents the implantation of an already fertilized egg. It also prevents pregnancy. Of course, the Catholic church is opposed to birth control, but many pro-lifers are not. For them, if you could prevent a woman from getting pregnant as a result of rape, they would support that, especially if the alternative is the woman has an abortion 4 weeks later.
BTW, many of our “pro-life” candidates support abortion for rape, so for them the plan-b action would likely stir no opposition — if you are for aborting a baby in the case of rape, you certainly won’t oppose giving a pill that might prevent a rape pregnancy.
Decidely slimy? Hardly.
I’m not saying you support a particular candidate, and I apologize for my post’s inference that you did.
But the topic of the thread is Romney vs McCain, and in that context I felt it important to point out that, rather than your suggestion that Romney fit your description, it was in fact McCain that fit that description.
Before that, he didn’t have a web site with a platform on it, so he couldn’t “support” that platform. Frankly, I haven’t seen any indication that ANYTHING he’s said or done while running for President has shown any degree of wavering on his support for conservative principles.
I hardly see how that is risable. Huckabee in contrast makes statements every week where a few days later he has to correct, amend, or contradict them. McCain is more consistant, but his consistancy is about opposing conservative values.
I already replied before I got to this post.
I know people will oppose Romney, and dont expect to change their minds, but for those who are still looking to make a rational decision, I feel it is helpful to note the comparative worth of the opinions being offered.
Perhaps the opinion offered has as much WORTH as others....I didn't know we had a "worthiness" standard on FR, nor just WHO was to judge it, nor a standard as to what should be allowed in a post outside of the usual FR posting rules.
In fact, I simply wanted to explain to the poster that so long as he simply voiced an opinion with no factual basis, I would be trusting Mark Levins opinion rather than his opinion.
Then why not simply say so instead of I trust Marks opinion much more than yours, Antoninus. Mark Levin is a real person who puts his real reputation on the line and has concluded that Romney is to be trusted enough to see him as better than McCain.
John McCain went to bat against the Fairness Doctrine, but I haven't heard any of these radio hosts give him credit for that. Has Mark?
"Arizona Sen. John McCain has introduced federal legislation to protect talk radio shows from the reinstatement of past rules that required dissenting voices be given equal time on their shows."
One has to wonder what influences Clear Channel/Premier Radio Networks exercise since the purchase by Bain Capital. And regardless that Mitt is no longer an OWNER of Bain, the "good old boy network" is a factor in business.
Whereas it makes me sad when I see conservatives taking the “to h*ll with the law, be a dictator” line of reasoning.