If you’re a conservative, perhaps you’ve had this same experience: In the past few weeks, several people have said to me, “Have you made your peace with Romney? Have you accepted him as the nominee? Are you resigned to him?” My answer is: I actually look forward to his nomination. And to his candidacy in the general. And to his presidency.
I think he’ll be quite good, if he gets a chance.
Obviously, there is a big sincerity question about Romney: Does he mean what he says? Does he intend to do what he pledges? I think so, yes. All candidates tell people what they think they want to hear, to some degree. Frankly, I imagine most people are guilty of this, whether they’re in politics or not.
But I think Romney is sufficiently firm. I also think he would be much more conservative as president than he was in Massachusetts. Think how free Bill Clinton was, once he left the Arkansas electorate behind! He could unleash his inner McGovern, so to speak. (Both Bill and Hillary Clinton — or whatever she was calling herself in those days — were lieutenants in the McGovern campaign.)
In 2008, National Review endorsed Romney, and I thought that was a good endorsement. (I liked Fred Thompson too, quite a bit.) I thought there was some dirty play against Romney. Mike Huckabee said, “He looks like the guy who laid you off.”
My response was, “Oh? To me, he looks like the kind of guy who can create jobs and make the economy grow. He looks like the kind of guy who makes opportunities for the sadly un-entrepreneurial like me.”
Besides which, I hated the air of class resentment against Romney. That’s one reason I gave up on the Democratic party: I couldn’t stand the class resentment, the politics of envy and grievance.
In that year, 2008, I heard the most bizarre criticisms of Romney: “Too handsome. Too rich. Too successful. Too smooth. Too perfect.” Well, our eventual nominee did not have the handicap of being too perfect, that’s for sure. He had a hard time making a case for himself, his party, and his philosophy.
When you look at the Republican field today — when you watch one of the debates — do you see anyone besides Romney who can beat Obama and be president? Do you really? I find it difficult. And if the nominee is to be someone else, I hope I’m wrong.
Four years ago, I listened to a conservative pundit assess the Republican field, and put down each person in it. I said, “Okay, whom do you want?” He sighed, “Reagan.” I’m afraid I wasn’t very polite. I said, “Great, thanks a lot — very helpful.”
Barry Goldwater once hollered, “Grow up, conservatives!” I sometimes feel the same way. We who are conservative aren’t meant to be 100-percenters. That’s more a Bolshevik trait: “What, you favor a lower grain quota? Up against the wall!” Politics is not for the pure, and ideologues are a nuisance. The American electorate is bigger than National Review Online (unfortunately).
I hope that Republican primary voters will not throw away our chances next year. And I believe that, if Romney is the nominee, virtually everyone right of center will rally ’round.
Before he became our standard-bearer, John McCain was pretty much the media’s favorite Republican. He was Mr. Amnesty, Mr. Global Warming, Mr. Anti-Religious Right, Mr. Reach Across the Aisle. The second he was nominated, he became Attila the Hun to them. He was the obstacle to Obama, the One.
The second Romney is nominated — if he is nominated — he too will be Attila the Hun. And the anti-Mormon stuff will be absolutely ferocious. It will come from the Left and it could come from some quarters of the Right, too. Buckle your chin strap.
I’ll have much more to say about all this later, of course. (That’s a warning, not a promise.) I just wanted to say for now that the prospect of Romney as nominee does not strike me as root canal. We could do worse, much worse. Will we?
The 2012 election is important, y’all — mightily so.
A commentator for MSNBC, that fountain of hate, said this about Herman Cain and white Republicans: “I think they like him because they think he’s a black man who knows his place.”
And what would Cain’s place be? Federal Reserve banker, CEO, presidential candidate?