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Posted on 11/25/2011 4:36:12 PM PST by neverdem
Romney: The Castor-Oil Candidate
Republicans are finding the prospect of nominating Mitt hard to swallow.
Nominating Mitt Romney is sort of like taking Grandma’s castor oil. Republicans are dreading the thought of downing their unpleasant-tasting medicine but worry that sooner or later they will have to.
By any logical political calculus, the former Massachusetts governor is an ideal presidential candidate. Ramrod straight, fit, and well-educated, he knows all sorts of facts and figures and comes across like a cinematic chief executive.
At any other time, an informed technocrat like Romney would seem a dream candidate. Yet in the run-up to this election, Americans are completely turned off by Washington’s so-called experts, such as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Attorney General Eric Holder — and, increasingly, Barack Obama himself.
As a former governor and presidential candidate, Romney has been fully vetted. In these racy times, Mormonism is viewed as more a guarantee of a candidate’s past probity than a political liability. So there is little chance that a blonde accuser will appear out of Romney’s past, or that in late October 2012 the New York Times will uncover a long-ago DUI charge.
The calculating Republican establishment believes Romney has enough crossover appeal to independents to beat a shaky Obama. It still has nightmares of tea-party senatorial candidates Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, whose 2010 primary victories led to inept campaigns and Republican losses in the general elections in Nevada and Delaware, respectively.
Although conservatives dub Romney a flip-flopper for changing positions on abortion, gun control, and health care, the base knew all about those old reversals in 2008, when it nonetheless praised Romney as the only conservative alternative to maverick moderate John McCain. Apparently the party has moved to the right since then. Tea partiers worry that, once in office, a moderate President Romney would prove a reach-out centrist — spending borrowed money like George W. Bush did on No Child Left Behind or the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, thereby ruining for good the now-suspect Republican brand of fiscal sobriety.
The result of those worries is that Romney has become the process-of-elimination candidate. The Hamlet-like governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, hemmed and hawed and bowed out, as most knew he would. The charismatic and controversial Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin decided they were making too much money to go through another nasty political race.
If finger-pointing magnate Donald Trump was going to bet a campaign on Obama’s reluctance to disclose official documents, he would have done better to demand the release of the president’s mysteriously secret college transcripts and medical records rather than his birth certificate. In the debates, the audiences liked what former Sen. Rick Santorum had to say, regretting only that it came out of the mouth of Rick Santorum.
Rep. Michele Bachmann once soared as the anti-Romney and then crashed when 90 percent of her statements seemed courageous and inspired — but 10 percent sounded kind of weird.
Then came the most promising Romney alternative, job-creating Texas governor Rick Perry. He looked as presidential as Romney but immediately proved even more wooden in the debates. His “brainfreeze” moments were made worse by occasional goofy explanations that seemed most un-Texan.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Florida senatoor Marco Rubio were always crowd favorites, and they’re certainly hard-charging conservatives. Yet at some point, both realized that their scant years in office were comparable, in theory, to the thin résumé of Obama when he entered the presidency clueless.
Rep. Ron Paul’s shrill talk on fiscal sobriety is as refreshing as his vintage-1930s isolationist foreign policy is creepy. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is a sort of weak Romney doppelganger, raising the same paradox that money, looks, polish, and moderation this year are cause for suspicion, not reassurance.
Many like businessman Herman Cain’s straight-talking pragmatism. Yet more are worried that he might not know that China is a nuclear power, or that we recently joined the British and French in bombing Libya. By now, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich knows almost everything about everything. But lots of Newt’s original — and now abandoned — positions were as liberal as Romney’s. And not all that long ago, he seemed as brilliant and glib — and recklessly self-destructive — as his contemporary and antagonist Bill Clinton.
To beat an ever-more-vulnerable Obama, Republicans keep coming back to someone who resembles a Romney, with strengths in just those areas where Obama is so demonstrably weak: prior executive experience as a governor, success in and intimacy with the private sector, a past fully vetted, and an unambiguous belief in the exceptional history and future of the United States.
In short, if Republicans are happy in theory that Mitt Romney could probably beat Obama, they seem just as unhappy in fact that first they have to nominate him.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Its rare, but this one reminds me he is a Democrat.
You're right! Tolik used to have a VDH ping list. I wonder if he would have posted or pinged for this essay. Like I wrote in comment# 1, I wonder if Victor had some holiday cheer before writing this essay.
It's sad that you scream about the 10th amendment but you don't address Romney absolutely shredding the 2nd amendment, disregarding a child's right to life so far as to use tax money to pay for their murders, and everything else he did to spit on conservatism & the constitution. His record IS as liberal as any run of the mill liberal Democrat's. Whether you want to accept that or not, facts are facts. If I listed all the things on his record and all the positions he supported while hiding his name & party, you'd think you were reading a Democratic candidate's "achievements."
Again, he wasn't shouting "states rights" before he was governor and already held all those liberal positions outside of Massachusetts. He only SAYS he's a conservative now. He says anything he thinks it'll take to get elected. The man is a spineless liar.
He'll be back to being liberal Mitt in the general election because he thinks that can win him some moderate votes, with the assumption that the conservative base will all fall in line & vote for him like lemmings. I guarantee he thinks this will happen. And it won't.
Voting blindly because the person is a Republican in name only is not only moralless, it's also dangerous. A socialist by any other name is still a socialist. RINOs are the enemy from within.
Well I don’t think Mitt’s a commie because he’s a raging capitalist but he will be a total do nothing. I’m with you on the thumbs down. Lets just nominate Herman or Newt and get it over with.
I really don’t care who it is; I want Obama out. The Republicans are complete sell-outs and everybody knows, but it will take decades to get the converatives in charge. I don’t think America is as conservative as some people let on. Everybody should realize by now that the sad reality is you are not going to see a conservative in the White House more than once every 50 years. America will be 80% brown by 2050. That means a fully Marxist country. I don’t think there is any conceivable way to stop that.
There was no “screaming” about the tenth amendment. There was a just, proper and fitting appeal to that part of the Constitution.
I also noted there were no perfect candidates in our field, and that all were flawed.
Kind of funny you fancy yourself the arbiter of conservatism. As you’ve apparently been posting here on FR for a whopping six months, maybe it would be good for you to learn the background and history of someone who has been posting here 10 years or more.
Amused, too, that you felt the need to “tattle” on me by sending a copy to Jim. Jim and I have engaged about the race one-on-one in other threads. He seems to have understood I am not promoting anyone, just trying to engage in an understanding of the current contest.
Perhaps you ought to try and understand that, too.
“I dont think America is as conservative as some people let on”
I’m starting to have doubts myself. Who are the 41% who still think Barry is doing a good job?
Many like businessman Herman Cains straight-talking pragmatism. Yet more are worried that he might not know that China is a nuclear power, or that we recently joined the British and French in bombing Libya.
VDH thinks the above, and that “any other time” we’d love mitt. Guess he doesn’t have much of an understanding of conservatives today.
At least with Obama I will (still) have my enemies in front of me. IMO It is these blindside RINO charges that come form behind that are really killer.
That is an assumption I don't consider necessarily valid. Think back on many of the things that occurred in the Carter Administration, and you'll get a chillingly different picture. That ineptness and fecklessness you describe may well have been an act to conceal deeper, darker motives, some of which have surfaced since...
Neither. Despite what the MSM and National Review would like us to think, you know that is still an option, right? The first vote of the primary season hasn't even been cast yet.
“Its nice that you wont participate in nominating Mittens, but hundreds of thousands in early primary states will, and that seals the deal for us in despair.”
Their vote. They can use it as they wish - even foolishly, voting for Willard the rat.
I make a different choice.
Running Romney as a candidate would make the election like playing strip poker with Helen Thomas.
I think Victor short changed Newt . As does some pollsters who today are surprised that Newt’s immigration kerfuffle did not undo him.In Fla.he had a packed house and applause as he denied the dreaded Amnesty word. I suggest that we wait till the dust settles a bit before just crowning Mitt in a fit of pique. Oh and BTW, Mitt is not perfect but sure better than Obama any day.
That’s nice. I don’t engage with RINOs. Have a nice day.
I think Carter changed once he was out of office. The rejection was too much to bear, and he went overboard. Same with Gore. Both weren’t fit for the office, but they weren’t sinister....just wrong.
Carter served in the Navy, I think, admirably. And he had enough experience, unlike Hussein, to serve as a legislator and governor before leaping to the White House. But as a true outsider, he couldn’t even persuade his own PARTY to follow him. They recognized he wasn’t fit for the job almost instantly.
Gore was raised by his father for national office. I think he has issues with that part of his life. Liberals always said it was Dubya who was trying to prove something to his dad. I think it was Al. And look at what has happened to him since—lost his marriage, allegedly gone loco with massage geishas, and foisted unbelievable lies on the planet about global warming.
Romney will be Ricin for the GOP............................
But darn good post!
He didn't just "serve in the Navy". He was one of Admiral Hyman Rickover's "nuclear whiz kids". This is the primary reason the idea that Carter was either feckless, or inept doesn't wash. You didn't become a nuclear officer in the US Navy demonstrating either of those things as a character trait, and Rickover was always monitoring his "boys".
Since he was neither feckless, nor inept, how does one explain the actions he took when he occupied the Oval Office to his country's detriment, time, and time again. I have long been of the opinion that J. E. Carter held some pretty dark secrets, and once he became older, his mask slipped several times, allowing us to see him as he really is. In truth, when he was running for President, the refrain was "Jimmy, we hardly know ye". Very telling, and true, even to this day...