Throughout the Republican presidential nomination campaign I’ve remained arms-length toward Mitt Romney because I am uncertain of the depth of his Conservatism. On balance, Romney’s campaign issue stances are as Conservative as any other candidate (i.e. imperfect, but pretty good), but that is not all that matters.
Events often present a President with important decisions that were not part of the election campaign – recent examples include “the Arab Spring,” 9/11, the housing bubble, the S&L collapse, the PATCO strike, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution – when the unanticipated happens there are no campaign promises to reference, and a President draws upon his deeply held beliefs to make leadership decisions about those issues. This is why I look for tell-tales, such as accepting man-made global warming as science, or defending the MA individual mandate. Those things make my Conservative antennae tingle, and shake my confidence in the depth of Romney’s Conservative instincts. So, my misgivings about Romney are not about his electability, but about how he will govern.
The question is, WHO IS BETTER?Michele Bachmann, she of the titanium spine, is out of the race, and every other candidate to offer themself as the more-Conservative alternative to Romney has exhibited un-Conservative tell-tales (equally as disturbing as Romney’s) which make me wonder about the depth of their Conservative instincts. To wit
- Rick Perry: declining to give in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants equals “no heart.”
- Newt Gingrich: Romney made his money by bankrupting companies and destroying jobs
- Rick Santorum: Romney isn’t qualified because he only has private sector management experience
- Ron Blame-America-First Paul: this crack-pot sounds like he just showed up twenty-eight years late for the San Francisco Democrat Convention
If the not-Romneys cannot deliver a more satisfying Conservative purity than Romney, then why shouldn’t I just go for Romney himself? His scripted message is acceptable, even inspirting, he has no scandals, he is a disciplined campaigner, he is as likely as any of them to beat Obama, and more likely than most.
The very reason I’ve been looking for a viable not-Romney is that I want to see more Conservative government. If the available not-Romneys show the same kind of apostasy from Conservative thinking that Romney has sometimes exhibited – and all have done so -- then they no longer fulfill my reason for seeking a not-Romney candidate, and Romney's “most-electable” argument becomes compelling.