Skip to comments.The Great Conservative Sell-Out
Posted on 01/05/2012 5:41:02 AM PST by Kaslin
Much of the conservative punditocracy has declared that Mitt Romney is the consensus conservative candidate. If he is, he's the least consensual consensus candidate in modern political history -- the man can't break 25 percent with a sledgehammer. While his supporters shout from the hills that Romney essentially tied for the win in Iowa, his glass remains three-quarters empty, with no-name Rick Santorum winning as much of the vote, Ron Paul winning nearly as much, and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry combining for as much. The last time a Republican candidate captured the nomination for the presidency by winning Iowa with this low a vote total, his name was Bob Dole. A couple of years later, he was hawking Viagra.
Nonetheless, the word is out: The fix is in. Unbelievably, not a single anti-Romney television ad was run in the state of Iowa. And while a few conservatives -- including yours truly -- have come out and opposed nominating the most left-wing Republican in the field, many more conservatives have endorsed Romney's candidacy.
Now there are good reasons for supporting Romney in the GOP nomination race. Some people argue that he has the most appeal to independents, because he is the least openly conservative. Others state that he doesn't have personal baggage and is thus less likely to become fodder for late night talk shows. Still others contend that his vanilla personality means that the focus of the election will remain on President Obama and such focus will make Romney a shoe-in. Finally, there are those who say that Romney has had his convenient road-to-Damascus conversion to conservatism and we should now trust him.
These arguments, at the very least, are understandable. What is not understandable is the contention by so many conservatives that Romney's record is conservative. It isn't. He's always been an advocate of a carefully managed, large government rather than a freedom-ensuring small one; his record in Massachusetts shows him to be an advocate for liberal policies like the individual mandate and activist judges. There can be no doubt that among all the Republicans running, his record is the most left. Even Jon Huntsman looks like Ronald Reagan next to Romney.
Why, then, do so many conservatives say that Romney represents true conservatism?
Because it's convenient.
Whenever there is an open Republican race, many professional conservatives fear alienating the candidates. Instead of holding their feet to the fire, they find the person most likely to win and back him. If that person happens not to be particularly conservative, the pundits rewrite conservatism to fit the candidate. This preserves their access and their credibility with their audience. As professional prognosticators, it certainly looks better to have endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 than Steve Forbes. If pundits can convince us that not only did they support George W. Bush but also that George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was actually conservative rather than warmed over big government liberalism, they can eat their cake and have it, too.
This is deeply problematic, of course, since the professional pundit class is supposed to stand for something other than convenience. Yes, defeating horrible politicians like Barack Obama is the top goal -- but that doesn't justify redefining conservatism entirely. Support Mitt Romney if you must -- but don't urinate on our leg and tell us that it's raining. Mitt Romney is not a conservative. If you want to support him, go right ahead. But don't lie about your rationale. It undermines the conservative standard.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., long ago pointed out that folks who cannot live by certain standards tend to undermine those standards. When the standards are lowered, the behavior that such standards were originally intended to stop increases dramatically. In the case of unwed motherhood, for example, when society ceases to consider such behavior morally wrong, the behavior increases exponentially.
The same holds true in politics. When we deliberately broaden conservatism to encompass government-forced purchase of health insurance or raising taxes or appointing liberal judges or enforcing same-sex marriage or using taxpayer money to bail out business or pushing trade barriers, we destroy conservatism from within. If we do that, why would our politicians even bother to pay lip service to the standard?
They wouldn't. And we'd end up with ever more liberal nominees. Which is precisely what has happened since the halcyon days of Reagan.
Standards matter. If you want to support Mitt Romney, that's your prerogative. But don't sell out conservative principles in the process.
More pro-Obama socialist crap. LIES LIES AND MORE LIES. Don’t believe what the leftist Democrats and the mainstream media is saying about Santorum.
The Leftist/Progressive/Socialist axis is trying the demonize Santorum so they can pick the Republican candidate. They did it to us with McCain and they want to do it to us again with Romney.
Republican presidential candidates for whom members of the party's conservative base must hold their noses while voting never win. Think Landon, Dewey, the 1960 version of Nixon, Ford, and McCain.
IF Romney were to win the nomination, the problem he faces is not only those conservatives who’d refuse to vote for him, but the ground troops. IF he wins the nomination, I will vote for him in November. I hope it doesn’t come to that. BUT, I’ve long been a local GOP ‘ground troop’ and will not expend my time on any GOTV efforts this go-round if Romney is heading the ticket.
bump for later
You are correct.
Steve Forbes has endorsed Rick Perry.
The Romney campaign through his people he can’t ‘control,’ has been the most vicious and the most negative and this has not been returned in kind, so far.
I think Newt Gingrich is now annoyed enough to do it.
As far as Cain and Palin are concerned, Romney did not take them out. Palin had been vilified for years and withstood it. I don’t know why she decided not to run but it wasn’t because of Romney.
As far as Cain goes... he took himself out and needs to go away and forget his 9-9-9 bus tour.
“Forget the Tea Party trying to work WITHIN the republican party. It needs to be separate.”
That was obvious from the first quarter of 2010, but people in the base had to make the good faith effort to repair the GOP from their own sense of loyalty and expediency. The fact remains however, that both parties are big government, big welfare, small liberty and globalist in orientation.
“The Romney campaign through his people he cant control, has been the most vicious and the most negative and this has not been returned in kind, so far.
I think Newt Gingrich is now annoyed enough to do it.”
I agree with you, and I don’t think little Lord Fauntleroy is up for the fight. That little thing about living in glass houses and throwing stones will tear Lord Fauntleroy’s satin knickers.
Likely true, but it's not the only thing to consider.
If Romney wins, Boehner will support him in putting most of Obamacare into effect.
If Obama wins, Boehner might fight against Obamacare.
Those are are options if the GOP is dumb (or corrupt) enough to install Romney as their candidate.
I will always vote AGAINST every Democrat—always.
Oh, yeah. I’d have to say the people here who mistakenly think they can help their candidate by attacking others have outdone themselves in Nastiness.
Makes Romney look like a piker.
Me, too. I shall vote against Obama no matter how bitter the pill.
If we get a candidate we dislike, we must vote for him anyway, but we must also turn our strong attention to getting more conservatives in the House and getting a majority in the Senate.
Never say always, sometimes they are equally evil, and sometimes the Dem is more honestly evil and the Repub is stealthily evil. It becomes a Hobsen’s choice.
Splitting hairs—not worth it—ALWAYS vote Republican.
and be betrayed
No one is as corrupt or evil as Obama.
No one even comes close. He’s bent on destroying America and he’s making progress.
Please remember that on Election day.
So what can you do about it?