Mitt Romney Sucks And I Miss Reagan
Posted by KingShamus on January 12, 2012
I’ll admit it. I spent most of Tuesday night trying to make light of Mitt Romney’s thumping primary victory in New Hampshire. A few days thought has changed my mood from bleak pessimism to inchoate depression. Thank the Lord for Baseball Crank, who gives voice to my heretofore wordless melancholy.
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? I was not a huge fan of John McCain’s record, but I was comfortable making honest points about the things McCain had been consistent on over the years – national security, free trade, nuclear power, public integrity, pork-barrel spending. There were spots of solid ground on which to plant ourselves with McCain, and he had a history of digging himself in on those and fighting for things he believed in. But 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.
And there you have it.
Consider: The Republican Party represents–nominally, at least–the interests, concerns and aspirations of the American Right. That same GOP is less than a month away from nominating the least reliable conservative since the modern traditionalist movement coalesced in the 1950’s. After the rise of the Tea Party and the Democrats’ electoral drubbing in the 2010 midterm election, the idea of the GOP nominating a character like Mitt Romney seems like the utterly unsatisfying twist ending to an otherwise great movie.
We can discuss the various reasons why the rank-n-file Republicans cannot seem to find a viable anti-Romney conservative candidate. Open primaries are juicy targets for non-GOPers looking to decide the Republican nominee. A flawed field of candidates has presented voters with few truly attractive options. The various debates have done much to show off the reflexive liberalism of the media class, but they haven’t done much to help voters understand much about the Republican candidates. The failure of conservatives to rally around one right-of-center pol has allowed Romney to sail on through the nomination process with the GOP nod all but secured.
However, the fact remains: Unless Santorum or Perry or even Gingrich somehow pulls off a miracle, conservatives and Republicans (but, alas, I do not repeat myself) are going to have to come to grips with the reality of Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee.
Just how will they do it? As the Baseball Crank says, getting as many conservatives elected into the House and Senate is as important as ever. But as vital as that is, it pales in comparison to the real critical issue. Whoever wins in November will likely get to appoint several Supreme Court Justices. Stephen Breyer is 73. Anthony Kennedy is 75. Antonin Scalia is 75. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 78 and has a history of serious health problems.
If Barack Obama is re-elected, he will get to decide the composition of the Court for a generation. The possibility of conservative governance will be threatened if not neutered. Right-of-center ballot measures and legislation from the states will be overturned. The US Congress–regardless of it’s partisan flavor– will be see it’s power drain as liberal activist judges discover more and more ‘rights’ in ever more absurd interpretations of the Constitution. For that reason alone, Barack Obama has to lose in 2012.
Conservatives will gripe that, given Romney’s craptastic crapshoot record of convenient changes of mind, changes of heart and changes of mood, it’s almost impossible to determine what ideological leanings his Supreme Court nominees will have. Sadly, this is very true. But it’s not like President Obama doesn’t have a track record when it comes to high court picks. Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan don’t have an originalist bone in their body. There is no chance Obama’s second term judicial appointments are going to deviate much from the Kagan/Sotomayor template. Conversely, simply having Romney in the White House at least makes it slightly less likely a Laurence Tribe or a Harold Koh would find themselves on the Supreme Court.
But therein lies the problem with Romney. Because there is nothing in his background for conservatives to hang their hat on, rank-n-file righties are going to have to play the ‘He’s Not As Bad As Bammy!’ card for the next 11 months. That might be an ideological consolation for hurting conservatives, but I don’t know if it’s the foundation of a winning political coalition. If Romney can only drum up perfunctory fair-to-middlin’ enthusiasm from the pool of Republican voters, it cuts right into the argument that he’s the most electable candidate in the field.
God, I hate this election.
MORE: Yes, I sorta stole the title of this post from “Team America: World Police”. Because I am a shameless thief and you gamely put up with my crapulence, here’s your musical break.
STILL MORE: It seems the New Hampshire primary was a buzzkill for a lot of folks. Here’s Innominatus‘ pox-on-all-your-houses annoyance with our current political malaise:
The Not Romneys are gangin’ up, makin’ the Mittster look like Richard Gere’s character in Pretty Woman. Dunno how that will all turn out. But it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking leveraged buyouts, prostitution or politics: First, money changes hands… and then somebody gets screwed.
True dat, homie. True dat.