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Philip Klein: Romney and the Right
National Review Online ^ | May 22, 2012 | Philip Klein

Posted on 05/22/2012 2:54:18 PM PDT by neverdem

This November, millions of conservatives will find themselves in the familiar position of holding their noses to vote for a problematic Republican presidential candidate, because the alternative is far worse.

Although conservatives don’t exactly have fond memories of the candidacies of Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 1996 and Senator John McCain in 2008, the almost certain nomination of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has its own sting.

In 2010, tea-party energy swept a new generation of conviction conservatives into statehouses, governors’ mansions, and the U.S. Congress. Many on the right held out hope that the big payoff would be putting a principled conservative in the White House.

Instead, at a pivotal juncture in American history, the best hope for replacing President Obama now rests with a man who claims to be “severely conservative” with the same degree of conviction he once conveyed when claiming to be “progressive.”

In a new e-book, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era, I try to reconcile two competing responses on the right — disillusionment on the one end and a desire to reflexively fall in line behind Romney on the other.

Clearly, sitting out the election isn’t an option for conservatives, given the need to defeat Obama. On the other hand, refraining from criticizing Romney now that he’s the presumptive nominee would lead us down a treacherous path.

In 2000, the short-term desire to defeat Al Gore made conservatives overlook the dangers inherent in George W. Bush’s big-government “compassionate conservatism.” Then, as conservatives expended energy defending Bush from liberal attacks during his presidency, the Republican-controlled Congress tossed aside limited-government principles, and spending soared. It rose from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $2.98 trillion in 2008, according to the Congressional Budget Office, an increase of 60 percent. Not only did Bush fail to reform entitlements, he actually expanded them — in the form of the Medicare prescription-drug law — by more than any other president since Lyndon B. Johnson.

As the United States hurtles toward a fiscal crisis fueled by runaway spending and an unsustainable welfare state, the nation cannot afford a repeat of this pattern under a Romney presidency. That’s why it is important for conservatives to make it clear early that they will have no qualms about criticizing Romney if he doesn’t run and govern as a conservative, although they will gladly give him their support when he earns it.

Clearly, a lot of conservatives are skeptical that the formerly pro-choice, pro–gun control, pro-mandate governor is genuinely committed to conservatism. But instead of rehashing the primary campaign, conservatives should look at productive ways they can keep pressure on Romney to make sure he adheres to a limited-government agenda on key issues such as tax reform, entitlements, and health care.

Ironically, one of the most frustrating aspects of Romney’s character — a calculating political nature that has enabled him to effortlessly reverse prior statements and positions — could prove essential to conservative efforts to pressure him into doing the right thing.

Critics of Romney who argue that he’s really a liberal and boosters who claim that he’s a true conservative both err by attempting to understand Romney through an ideological prism. In reality, he’s a businessman who wants to apply his well-honed management skills to the public sector. If one is to be successful in the business world, the important thing is to satisfy customers and maximize profits.

If Romney is convinced that conservatives will enthusiastically support him no matter what, then he’ll make the calculation that he has room to migrate left during the general-election campaign and throughout a potential presidency. But if he feels uneasy about his support among conservatives, he’s much more likely to run and govern from the right.

Rather than resting on their 2010 laurels, conservatives should work hard this year to put as many principled lawmakers as possible into Congress — people who won’t merely talk tough about shrinking government when a Democrat is in the White House, but who will be willing to resist calls for party unity and stand up to a Republican president if he tries to expand government.

Supporting Romney as the only alternative to Obama doesn’t mean that conservatives have to spend the summer and fall defending Romneycare to their friends or making excuses about his history of flipflops to their neighbors. By staying true to their principles, conservatives will not only feel better about themselves, but they’ll also improve the odds that Romney will run as a conservative in 2012 and govern as one if elected.

— Philip Klein is senior editorial writer at the Washington Examiner and author of the new e-book Conservative Survival in the Romney Era.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012election; election2012; kenyanbornmuzzie; mittromney; romney

1 posted on 05/22/2012 2:54:25 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

No ROMNEY. NO RomneyCARE.

NO MORE ROMNEY LIES.

NO MORE ROMNEY OVERRIDE OF CONSTITUTIONS.

NO MORE RINOS.


2 posted on 05/22/2012 2:58:02 PM PDT by Diogenesis ("Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. " Pres. Ronald Reagan)
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To: neverdem

Nope. Not voting for evil.


3 posted on 05/22/2012 2:58:48 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: neverdem

I don’t see it as voting for a Republican. I see it as voting for the lesser of two Democrats. And the Democrats saddled us with McCain in 2008 as well.

With no Democrat challenger, we again got Democrat crossover voters mucking about with the process of REPUBLICANS determining their candidate.

I live in Texas where the past umpteen election cycles have provided me only Democrat and undeclared Democrat candidates for Governor (or “former” Democrats who were Dem through the years of Reagan and Bush).

I absolutely will vote against Obama in 2012.


4 posted on 05/22/2012 2:58:55 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Barack Obama has cut and run from what he called "the right war".)
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To: neverdem
<"Supporting Romney as the only alternative to Obama doesn’t mean that conservatives have to spend the summer and fall defending Romneycare to their friends or making excuses about his history of flipflops to their neighbors."

This is the first time the Republican party will have a nominee who's impossible to defend. I watched some of Hannity's show last week, and I marveled at the fact that he never promoted Romney's record or accomplishments......instead, he concentrated on Obama's villainy. How in the world can a presidential campaign be won with the sentiment, "Hey, at least I'm not the other guy!"

5 posted on 05/22/2012 3:04:08 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Time for a write-in campaign...Darryl Dixon for President)
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To: neverdem
Nope. Mitt? Never!

The author should spend his time and effort to endeavor to dump Mitt and get a small-gvernment traditional values candidate.

6 posted on 05/22/2012 3:04:30 PM PDT by donna (The fruits of Feminism: Angry fathers, bitter mothers, fat kids and political correctness.)
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To: a fool in paradise

I would prefer a demon in the White House to a Judas.


7 posted on 05/22/2012 3:04:56 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (The day liberals grow up is the day tyranny ends.)
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To: donna

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”-John Quincy Adams


8 posted on 05/22/2012 3:07:35 PM PDT by maine yankee (I got my Governor at 'Marden's')
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To: fieldmarshaldj
Its kinda funny. Two of the people who voted to change the rules in Romney's favor after the Michigan primary were removed from their NRC seats the other day. Looks like Mitt may face a fairly hostile delegation from his "home state". The best part is that they got prime seats and hotel rooms for the convention in Tampa. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
9 posted on 05/22/2012 3:08:10 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: neverdem

Mr Romney... night and day we will focus on 2016. You may have pulled this one off, but I will personally, doggedly primary a true conservative against you, if you win. If 2012 does not dissolve the GOP-e, then I will do my level best to gather around me those who will dissolve it in 2016. Do not rest on your nomination, we will never surrender and we will never give in.


10 posted on 05/22/2012 3:10:02 PM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia.)
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To: neverdem

The author asserts that Obama will be far worse that Romney. I have to say I disagree. On the issues that matter to me, there is almost NO decernable difference between the two. To me, they are both socialist intent on bringing big government, nanny state control to America and in the process distroy the America I know and love.

I will not vote for either socialist.


11 posted on 05/22/2012 3:13:19 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: neverdem

For Americans, this will be the first time in our history that they have ever voted for a man who thinks he is becoming a God, and who will become an actual deity to be worshiped by his subjects, in his own heaven.


12 posted on 05/22/2012 3:13:19 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The first American vote for a man who believes that he will become literally God, an actual deity.)
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To: neverdem
Ironically, one of the most frustrating aspects of Romney’s character — a calculating political nature that has enabled him to effortlessly reverse prior statements and positions — could prove essential to conservative efforts to pressure him into doing the right thing.

Huh? Conservative efforts may be able to pressure him into saying the right thing (sort of -- he doesn't seem to know what conservatism is) . . . "doing" is another story!

13 posted on 05/22/2012 3:16:24 PM PDT by maryz
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To: neverdem
Ironically, one of the most frustrating aspects of Romney’s character — a calculating political nature that has enabled him to effortlessly reverse prior statements and positions — could prove essential to conservative efforts to pressure him into doing the right thing.

Critics of Romney who argue that he’s really a liberal and boosters who claim that he’s a true conservative both err by attempting to understand Romney through an ideological prism. In reality, he’s a businessman who wants to apply his well-honed management skills to the public sector. If one is to be successful in the business world, the important thing is to satisfy customers and maximize profits.

This is pretty much what I've been saying all along. The Romney-haters on this site insist that he's a genuine, ideological leftist. This is foolish. Romney gets along by going along. It is up to us to make sure that it is conservatism with which he finds himself going along.

We need to get Romney elected, get genuine conservatives elected to as many other offices as possible, and then start a morning-in-America nationwide conservative revival along the lines of the big tent, small government, free enterprise, fiscally conservative tea party movement agenda.

We conservatives have a lot of good young prospects coming up through the ranks. It is a tragedy that none were ready to assume the mantle this year but that's how it goes. We work with what we have now and set ourselves for steady progress over the longer term.

Start where you are.
Use what you've got.
Do what you can.

This is the way of success.

14 posted on 05/22/2012 3:21:09 PM PDT by rogue yam
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Boop Their Noses – They’re So Cute!

We Voted!
You Get to Donate Monthly
To Help End FReepathons

Sponsors will contribute $10 for each new monthly donor sign up!
FReeper RonC will contribute $25 for each new Dollar-A-Day Club member

15 posted on 05/22/2012 3:26:54 PM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: rogue yam

bump.


16 posted on 05/22/2012 3:44:48 PM PDT by Yehuda (http://jewpoint.blogspot.com)
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To: Diogenesis
Looking at the track record of Congressional Republicans, and the way the party apparatus works to control outcomes of Congressional votes, it is difficult to believe that a Republican Congress will hold a Republican President's feet to the fire, no matter how leftwing his proposal.

There's a good chance the Supreme Court knocks it down this June.

Replace with what?

We don't need a replacement, we need t hg e federal government out of the health care business.

Will Congressional Republicans kill a Republican President's replacement heath care program? Don't bet on it.

17 posted on 05/22/2012 3:44:48 PM PDT by CharacterCounts (A vote for the lesser of two evils only insures the triumph of evil.)
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To: Diogenesis
Looking at the track record of Congressional Republicans, and the way the party apparatus works to control outcomes of Congressional votes, it is difficult to believe that a Republican Congress will hold a Republican President's feet to the fire, no matter how leftwing his proposal.

Consider health care:

There's a good chance the Supreme Court knocks it down this June.

But Romney wants to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Replace with what?

We don't need a replacement, we need the federal government out of the health care business.

Will Congressional Republicans kill a Republican President's replacement heath care program? Don't bet on it.

18 posted on 05/22/2012 3:48:46 PM PDT by CharacterCounts (A vote for the lesser of two evils only insures the triumph of evil.)
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To: neverdem

This whole campaign season is rather novel for me. If I turn on the news and there’s a Crossfire-style segment with pundits representing Obama versus Romney, I turn it off. If I click on to talk-radio and the discussion is defending Romney, I click it off. I see Romney giving a speech on tv, I turn it off just like I turn off Obama’s. This is a total reversal for me, after three decades as a political junkie.

During election cycles I’ve always had someone to root for each time, but this time, I can’t get myself the least bit invested in the proceedings. It all seems so pointless. The only thing left that manages to somewhat get my pulse-rate up is the potential of Tea Party type candidates to successfully oust the old-guard GOP-e into a well-earned oblivion.


19 posted on 05/22/2012 3:49:05 PM PDT by greene66
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To: neverdem

RomneyCare.

That’s all I ever need to know.


20 posted on 05/22/2012 3:59:57 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (The Presidential Race is about the relative light reflectivity of your Slavemaster.)
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To: CharacterCounts

You’ve got a great plan!


21 posted on 05/22/2012 4:17:36 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: greene66

You’ve got a great plan!


22 posted on 05/22/2012 4:18:31 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: Uncle Miltie

You’ve got a great plan!


23 posted on 05/22/2012 4:19:30 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: rogue yam
Romney gets along by going along. It is up to us to make sure that it is conservatism with which he finds himself going along.

Many RINOs base their political identity on their ability to "work with" Democrats, and will fight tooth and nail against anything which would undermine that. I disliked Romney less than McCain in 2008, but since then he's shown himself to be more and more of a leftist at heart.

If a conservative were to be elected President in 2012, such a person might be able to turn the government around without a major crisis of legitimacy happening first. If that isn't going to happen, it would be better to have a President whose actions can be seen by many as being those of an illegitimate tyrant, than one whose actions, while somewhat less tyrannical, are more widely perceived as legitimate. In that regard, another Kagan on the court would be far less dangerous than another Souter. If states have to stand up and openly denounce Supreme Court decisions which directly contradict the plain language of the Constitution, it would be better for them to denounce decisions which are written by openly partisan Democrats than ones written by pseudo-Republicans like Souter.

24 posted on 05/22/2012 4:46:34 PM PDT by supercat (Renounce Covetousness.)
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To: neverdem
That’s why it is important for conservatives to make it clear early that they will have no qualms about criticizing Romney if he doesn’t run and govern as a conservative.

Perhaps conservatives could write Mutt a strongly worded letter or something.

Sigh.

25 posted on 05/22/2012 4:50:46 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

President Obama is an anti-Christ.


26 posted on 05/22/2012 6:41:44 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Barack Obama has cut and run from what he called "the right war".)
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To: a fool in paradise

so is Romney..... we have a choice of two loosers or neither. Both will take the country the wrong direction.


27 posted on 05/22/2012 6:51:11 PM PDT by caww
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To: caww

One will defuse our nuclear arsenal, end our ability to obtain oil, and support Islamist dictatorships abroad, while looting the national economy to fund the Marxist sons of ACORN.


28 posted on 05/22/2012 6:55:01 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Barack Obama has cut and run from what he called "the right war".)
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To: caww

One will defuse our nuclear arsenal, end our ability to obtain oil, and support Islamist dictatorships abroad, while looting the national economy to fund the Marxist sons of ACORN.


29 posted on 05/22/2012 6:55:06 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Barack Obama has cut and run from what he called "the right war".)
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To: neverdem

Klein has the right take on how to play Romney - support him but keep agitating for an implementation of solid conservative principles.


30 posted on 05/22/2012 7:16:00 PM PDT by citizen (Obama blames:Arab Spring,Banks,Big Oil,Bush,Ceos,Coal,Euro Zone,FNC,Jpn Tsunami,T Party,Wall St,You)
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To: a fool in paradise
I don’t see it as voting for a Republican. I see it as voting for the lesser of two Democrats. And the Democrats saddled us with McCain in 2008 as well.

And Dole in 1996. After a year and a half of an endless press campaign of vilification of congressional Republicans, Jonathan Alter, in August 1995, told any Republican who'd listen, via his Newsweek column, that the GOP had lost "relevance" and "respect" because of the "extreme" conservatism of Congress. (Which was his way of drawing GOPers' attention to the fact that Media could go on hurting them as long as Media liked, as long as the GOP continued to write conservative legislation, such as welfare reform.)

It was time, Alter lied, for the Big Dog Republicans, keepers of their party's reputation, to Act. To rebuild the Party's good name. To reclaim Republican gravitas, by nominating a man of gravitas. A man like Bob Dole.

It was all lies. Clinton and Dick Morris had already focus-grouped and forum-tested all the potential Republican challengers, and their field testing showed that Bob Dole was the best matchup -- the weakest GOP candidate, the man who offered Clinton his most complimentary antagonist, who practically guaranteed Clinton's then-doubtful (even with his pockets bulging with Chinese intelligence-service reptile money) re-election. And Alter had to know about it.

Alter lied. He always lies. The Media people always lie.

Just keep that in mind. Anything they tell you, is calculated to manipulate you to hurt yourself, your family, and your country.

The GOP RiNO's did what Alter told them to. They nominated Dole, and Dole lost in a humiliating defeat that opened the door for Monica, and impeachment.

Alter's been laughing all the way to the men's room ever since.

31 posted on 05/22/2012 8:30:44 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: rogue yam
Once is enough, thanks. We got it.
32 posted on 05/22/2012 8:32:25 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: donna
The author should spend his time and effort to endeavor to dump Mitt and get a small-gvernment traditional values candidate.

Bump. Open convention! Turn the delegates loose!

33 posted on 05/22/2012 8:34:22 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem

So Phil Klein has been reading the more thoughtful FR posts on the matter and he’s written a book consolidating them. What does he say that hasn’t been said here?


34 posted on 05/23/2012 1:33:08 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: a fool in paradise

He’s already doing that.


35 posted on 05/23/2012 5:30:08 AM PDT by caww
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To: citizen

Some here want to claim that O is an anti-Christ. He is, more precisely, demonic. Our very own Mormon candidate is, on the other hand, a Judas, willing to change allegiances when it serves his political needs. They are 2 sides of the same coin, neither trustworthy, neither committed to serve the Lord.
On balance I would prefer a demonic enemy in the White House to a quisling Judas. If we are to save our nation from the brink of destruction it will be by the clarity of our mission. We can, if we have the will, destroy Obama’s presidency and with it the liberal movement.
Romney offers us no such target. He is chimeratic, an angel of light suffering the necessity of corruption for the glory of his eternal soul. He will sow confusion where crystal clear vision is needed.


36 posted on 05/23/2012 8:48:22 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (The day liberals grow up is the day tyranny ends.)
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To: a fool in paradise
I will not vote for romney....nor Obama....you can put out there all the boogie man threats of what you fear.. but I will not vote for Romney.....fools have taken the bait now and there's nothing to stop the trajectory either of these men will do now to this country. You and others are being deceived... and the thing about deception is those who are never can see it.
37 posted on 05/23/2012 10:19:55 AM PDT by caww
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To: fieldmarshaldj

It’s difficult for those who are supporting Romney to see what they don’t want to...they are sooo focused on what they fear from Obama they cannot see what Romney really will do and bring onto this nation.

I will oppose them both....neither reflects what the USA is about and never will.


38 posted on 05/23/2012 10:23:22 AM PDT by caww
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To: Louis Foxwell
They are 2 sides of the same coin, neither trustworthy, neither committed to serve the Lord........ On balance I would prefer a demonic enemy in the White House to a quisling Judas. If we are to save our nation from the brink of destruction it will be by 'the clarity of our mission'. We can, if we have the will, destroy Obama’s presidency and with it the liberal movement.......Romney offers us no such target.... He is chimeratic, an angel of light suffering the necessity of corruption for the glory of his eternal soul. He will sow confusion where crystal clear vision is needed.

Thank you for this post...I agree. Though we attempted to keep Romney from the lead, here we are with two diabolical people to choose from. I will vote for neither....and I am comfortable with this decision.

39 posted on 05/23/2012 10:28:14 AM PDT by caww
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To: fieldmarshaldj

It’s difficult for those who are supporting Romney to see what they don’t want to...they are sooo focused on what they fear from Obama they cannot see what Romney really will do and bring onto this nation.

I will oppose them both....neither reflects what the USA is about and never will.


40 posted on 05/23/2012 10:29:53 AM PDT by caww
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To: caww

The only people being deceived are the no-bots who think not voting means anything. If you don’t vote for either Obama or Romney you stand for nothing because one of them will be President next year. This is a time for choosing and not making a choice is a huge mistake.


41 posted on 05/23/2012 10:30:21 AM PDT by lodi90
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To: Louis Foxwell
"On balance I would prefer a demonic enemy in the White House to a quisling Judas."

Have you considered starting a FReepers for Obama ping list?

42 posted on 05/23/2012 10:37:03 AM PDT by lodi90
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To: lodi90
Have you considered starting a FReepers for Obama ping list?

Delightful. Of course not. I can no more be for Obama than for Romney. Both are repugnant. It is not that I prefer Obama; rather, I consider him more thoroughly disreputable.

43 posted on 05/23/2012 11:03:16 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (The day liberals grow up is the day tyranny ends.)
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To: lodi90

Baloney I didn’t say I wasn’t voting, but of course Romneybots assume this often when people aren’t in your Romney or Obama boat....which of course indicates you aren’t paying attention to who you’re even voting “For”.

Not making a choice between the two “Party” candidates isn’t Not voting, it simply is a choice for one who is not of the two parties.


44 posted on 05/23/2012 12:03:48 PM PDT by caww
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To: lodi90

You know who are more dispicable then the two you would have others vote for....it’s you and yours assumptions and twisted remarks. Back down. This is the very thing Jim said to knock off amongst ourselves.


45 posted on 05/23/2012 12:06:51 PM PDT by caww
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To: neverdem

http://www.tomhoefling.com/


46 posted on 05/23/2012 12:07:38 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (Party like it's 1860. www.SelfGovernment.US)
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To: neverdem

The problem with Phil Klein’s conclusion is that either way you cut it you end up with a pro-choice democrat socialist.

NO.

http://www.tomhoefling.com/


47 posted on 05/23/2012 12:15:49 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (Party like it's 1860. www.SelfGovernment.US)
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To: neverdem
Supporting Romney as the only alternative to Obama doesn’t mean that conservatives have to spend the summer and fall defending Romneycare to their friends or making excuses about his history of flipflops to their neighbors. By staying true to their principles, conservatives will not only feel better about themselves, but they’ll also improve the odds that...blah, blah, blah...

That's like saying that by fooling around a spouse can stay true to their mate and "feel good about themselves."

Totally illogical nonsense.

Nutritionally, you are what you eat. Politically, you are what you endorse, no matter how much you try to deny or justify it.

48 posted on 05/23/2012 12:22:45 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (Party like it's 1860. www.SelfGovernment.US)
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