Mitt’s Good Bad Interview
The X Factor in the primary.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

On these and other issues, my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru makes the case that Romney is not someone conservatives should be reluctant to support. “It’s true that Romney took a sharp right turn when he moved from state to national politics. But it’s also true that in 2008 he was the candidate behind whom Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, among other conservative notables, said that the conservative movement should rally in order to stop John McCain from getting the nomination. He has not moved left since that time. His positions on policy questions are almost all the same as they were then. On a few issues he has moved right: He now favors a market-oriented reform to Medicare, for example.”

Ramesh adds: “If Romney was to McCain’s right then, he is still. He’s to George W. Bush’s right, too. Bush never came out for the Medicare reform Romney has endorsed. Bush never said that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, either. Romney has. Romney’s long list of policy advisers includes people who are, within their fields, roughly in sync with the politics of the Bush administration or to its right; almost nobody is significantly to its left.”

Whatever conservatives think of the state of Romney’s ideological soul, if he has a Speaker Boehner and a Majority Leader McConnell, he will get the chance to do a lot of the things he says he wants to do. We are a country that is deeply disappointed and distressed that Washington doesn’t seem to work right. Romney might just head up a Washington that can get things accomplished.

I don’t know how many people made it to the end of that “bad interview” last Tuesday, but Romney’s winning message was actually on display there. When Baier asked him what exactly his vision is, Romney gave a response that will, I suspect, resonate with many Americans — conservatives and independents who are concerned about how America will look in years to come, and about what they are leaving their children and grandchildren, personally and generationally. “It’s going to be middle-class in America again,” Romney said, “where people have the conviction that the future is brighter than the past. America has to be strong, with strong culture, with a strong economy, and a military that’s second to none. And we’re losing faith in those things.” He added: “I want to make America stronger again. America will be a stronger nation with freedom and opportunity as we’ve enjoyed in our past.” 

Romney presents himself to voters as a serial turnaround artist: a businessman who has taken problems and created opportunity, success, and — that desperately welcome word — jobs. Sounds like the kind of guy you’d send to D.C. right about now, doesn’t he?

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through United Media.