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January 11, 2012

Great Piece on Romney, By Baseball Crank

Losing my religion.

The other point I would make about integrity is that it goes close to the core of why a Romney nomination worries me so much: because we would all have to make so many compromises to defend him that at the end of the day we may not even recognize ourselves. Romney has, in a career in public office of just four years (plus about 8 years' worth of campaigning), changed his position on just about every major issue you can think of, and his signature accomplishment in office was to be wrong on the largest policy issue of this campaign.

Yes, Obama is bad, and Romney can be defended on the grounds that he can't possibly be worse. Yes, Romney is personally a good man, a success in business, faith and family. But aside from his business biography, his primary campaign has been built entirely on arguments and strategies - about touting his own electability and dividing, coopting or delegitimizing other Republicans - none of which will be of any use in the general election. What, then, will we as politically active Republicans say about him?

...Mitt Romney's record is just one endless sheet of thin ice as far as the eye can see - there's no way to have any kind of confidence that we can tell people he stands for something today without being made fools of tomorrow. We who have laughed along with Jim Geraghty's prescient point that every Obama promise comes with an expiration date will be the ones laughed at, and worse yet we will know the critics are right. Every time I try to talk myself into thinking we can live with him, I run into this problem. It's one that particularly bedeviled Republicans during the Nixon years - many partisan Republicans loved Nixon because he made the right enemies and fought them without cease or mercy, but the man's actual policies compromised so many of our principles that the party was crippled in the process even before Watergate. We can stand for Romney, but we'll find soon enough that that's all we stand for.

Let me repeat yet again: So if the only real rationale for Romney is that he is, supposedly, electable -- which is a concern I think is important -- isn't it crucial to kick the tires of this so-called electablity and see if it's in the shape it's claimed to be?

I'll give you an example. I long considered Romney the most electable candidate myself. At least with moderates. The polls all said so, after all.

Now, I didn't favor him because I thought his candidacy would split the party and and I didn't like most of his actual political impulses, but I generally believed him to be more electable than anyone else.

I knew about his flip-flops, of course. I knew about them intellectually. I considered them intellectually. I weighed them intellectually, as regards an intellectual exercise, figuring out what he might do if actually in office.

Then I saw that highlight reel of his flip-flops from the DNC. And suddenly those flip-flops weren't just intellectual to me anymore. Now I looked at Romney and thought, "Ugh. This guy is literally willing to say anything, isn't he? How pathetic. How dishonest."

I always thought the flip-flops wouldn't be a concern in the general election because, hey, if he flip-flops from conservative to moderate and back again that should make him more attractive to moderates, right?

But not when you see them all and begin to doubt his character, which I had hitherto believed squeaky-clean and a strength of his.

Some of these are bs (supporting a stimulus is not the same thing as supporting Obama's failed stimulus; 95% of elected Republicans favored their own style of tax-cut-heavy stimulus; saying "TARP ought to be ended" is not the same as reversing himself on supporting it for the first two years), but others -- on abortion, assault weapons, and Reagan -- are troubling.



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posted by Ace at 01:52 PM

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