It seems every time I listen to a Ricochet Podcast I come away shaking my head, not quite getting the rabid antipathy toward Mitt Romney. For some reason he is judged by a different standard than everyone else. “He’s not a true conservative,” they rant, despite the fact that he’s landed smack on the conservative position on almost every issue. "Yes, but he’s only posturing," they add.
Then what follows is a list of supposedly authentic conservatives you can trust in, e.g. Herman Cain. The same Herman Cain who wouldn’t mind turning over the Guantanamo detainees in exchange for a captured American soldier, who leaves it up to the woman and her family to decide if an abortion will happen, who supports TARP, who blasts his opponents for leveling unsubstantiated charges and, in the same breath, charges others without an iota of evidence, not to mention his vacuum of knowledge about so many issues. Of course he almost immediately walks these positional gaffes back. In his case that doesn’t constitute flip-flopping. Instead it is a charming example that he’s not a canned politician. What does he have going for him? 999! That trumps everything. He hasn’t thoroughly considered its implications but never mind, it’s BOLD!
Or there’s Newt Gingrich. The same Newt Gingrich who did an ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming, who favored the idea of a federal health insurance mandate (not just a state one), who co-sponsored the 1987 Pro-Fairness Doctrine Bill, who’s advice to Fannie Mae that they shouldn’t back mortgages to insolvent homeowners was somehow worth $300,000 of the taxpayers’ dollars, who flip-flopped on his sacred commitments to his previous spouses. Not to worry! He’s full of great ideas expressed with consistent contempt for everyone else. Best yet, as James Delingpole says - he’s not Romney!
The same litany could be recited about Perry, Huntsman, even Ron Paul. The only candidates who can genuinely call themselves consistent conservatives (and are actually running) such as Santorum and Bachmann get no traction from the party.
So how did Romney land in this quicksand of unfavorable opinion? I’ll admit I don’t entirely get it. Beyond his change in positions, which is often handily exaggerated to conform to the accepted stereotype, some of the reasons mentioned are that he’s too smooth, too good looking, too rich, too smart, too awkward (don’t ask me how that jibes with too smooth). Perhaps mediocrity is what we’re searching for.