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November 30, 2011

As Brit Hume Might Say, Mitt Romney Really Threw Up All Over Himself In His Bret Baier Interview

I hope this isn't telling tales out of school, but I flagged this as important when DrewM. couldn't stop talking about it.

I had missed it. Drew watched it. I am only now watching it, but apparently Romney comes off badly here.

@jpodhoretz, who might be expected to be naturally inclined towards Romney, tweets:

If Romney loses the nomination, this interview will mark the moment at which the slow-motion collapse began.

Allah highlighted the immigration answer, in which he strains to distinguish his position from Gingrich's (at 5:05):

. In fact, Romney has the same basic idea about immigration now as he had in 2006. We’ve been over his dispute with Gingrich over immigration before: Essentially, Mitt thinks Newt’s plan to let some longtime residents attain legal non-citizen status is “amnesty” even though his own plan imagines letting some longtime residents become citizens provided they go to the back of line. Why one of those ideas should be deemed significantly more lenient than the other is beyond me. Romney’s has the advantage of not creating any “second class” status for longtime illegals, but he’s willing to grant full citizenship benefits to those who stick it out whereas Gingrich is not.

Romney does come off sort of bad in the interview. He fake-laughs at Bret Baier's straightforward question about whether he thinks the individual mandate is a good tool for states to employ, for example, and disputes having called the Massachusetts plan a "model" other states could look at in designing their own plans. (He claims he didn't, and, if I understand this, says states could merely look at in designing their own plans -- in other words, he agrees he says it after denying he said it.)

I'm going to write a post about the New Conservative Thought Police, in which we're not permitted to mention a candidate's flaws when debating among ourselves who should be our challenger to Barack Obama. I know Rush Limbaugh is talking about rightwing blogs which are helping the left, he says, by repeating their "talking points," and not going Full Clinton in defending each and every candidate on each and every charge.

Okay. So apparently we're not to speak honestly to each other, but only speak in terms of politically "helpful" strategic communications; our audience shall never be our actual correspondents, but, apparently, the wider world who will, it seems, be reading each and every one of our comments, so we have to counterfeit our thoughts in order to influence this hypothetical world of independents and moderates who are, for example, combing the Ace of Spades HQ blog for guidance in voting in the general election of 2012.

Okay, I've got the premise.

So my question is:

By mentioning Mitt Romney's flip-flops and poor handling of questions about them in this question, am I violating the We Cannot Speak Honestly But Only In Terms of Coordinated Strategic Communications rule?

Is this a useful topic? Or is it not helpful, given that Romney continues to be a likely (if no longer the most likely) nominee? Am I helping the left by repeating their talking points?

Or does this special Non-Disparagement Agreement which all of us are expected to sign on to and honor for the next year in every public utterance we make not apply to Romney?

Does it only apply to "True Conservatives"?

Then a question: What if I don't really believe in "True Conservatives," and don't believe that Herman Cain would be a "True Conservative" even if I did believe in the category?

What do I do then? Shut up because King Rush told me to?

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posted by Ace at 03:04 PM

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