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October 31, 2011

Mitt Romney, Weasel

Over the weekend, George Will came out in his column critical of Mitt Romney's constant flip-flopping. Will's opinion itself is a flip-flop, leading Ramesh Ponnuru to wonder why. I think the answer might be that Will never realized just how much of an empty suit Romney is until now. And he hit his tolerance limit:

Obama, a floundering naif who thinks ATMs aggravate unemployment, is bewildered by a national tragedy of shattered dreams, decaying workforce skills and forgone wealth creation. Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy.

. . .

In May, in corn-growing Iowa, Romney said, “I support” — present tense — “the subsidy of ethanol.” And: “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” But in October he told Iowans he is “a business guy,” so as president he would review this bipartisan — the last Republican president was an ethanol enthusiast — folly. Romney said that he once favored (past tense) subsidies to get the ethanol industry “on its feet.” (In the 19th century, Republican “business guys” justified high tariffs for protecting “infant industries”). But Romney added, “I’ve indicated I didn’t think the subsidy had to go on forever.” Ethanol subsidies expire in December, but “I might have looked at more of a decline over time” because of “the importance of ethanol as a domestic fuel.” Besides, “ethanol is part of national security.” However, “I don’t want to say” I will propose new subsidies. Still, ethanol has “become an important source of amplifying our energy capacity.” Anyway, ethanol should “continue to have prospects of growing its share of” transportation fuels. Got it?

Will goes on to wonder whether conservatism has come this far, surmounting many obstacles along the way, "to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?" After it first appeared, the all caps "THIS" was replaced with italics. He should have stuck with the original, since it better communicated the revulsion many conservatives feel. The thing is, I think Will would continue to give Romney the breaks like he did during the time Ponnuru cites--back in March of 2007--if there was anything at all identifiably, solidly conservative about him. There's just nothing there. He's a pure politician, a Republican of convenience.

Perhaps that is why Romney has been snapping up advisers from the George W. Bush administration. Politico writes that conservatives are up in arms about it:

The Republican right cringes at some of the high-profile people Romney is leaning on for donations and advice, including three former Bush-era officials whose recent records include lobbying for Solyndra and advocating on behalf of cap-and-trade legislation and carbon taxes.

. . .

Most environmentalists don’t have pleasant memories of the Bush administration, but Republicans also recall how Bush signed into law a 2005 mandate requiring the nation to use billions of gallons of renewable fuels, or his buckling as a lame duck to the Democratic-controlled Congress by signing a 2007 law raising fuel economy standards.

Near the end of Bush’s second term, he’d even embraced a national goal for halting the growth of greenhouse gases.

The solution, of course, is to hire Frum. Go the whole enchilada. Kill the Tea Party forever.

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posted by rdbrewer at 01:23 PM

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