The late William F. Buckley Jr. naturally put it best when he said, “The wisest choice would be the one who could win. No sense running Mona Lisa in a beauty contest. I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win.”
Bill Buckley’s Law applies to Mitt Romney today. And it’s worth noting Rush Limbaugh’s recent update to the dictum. Following Romney’s terrific Illinois victory speech on Tuesday, Rush said flatly, “A conservative alternative to Romney is Romney.”
As the tough primary season ventures on, Romney has clarified and evolved his views into tough conservative positions.
On economic policy, for example, he would limit the government budget to 20 percent of GDP, slash $500 billion in his first term, and restrain Medicaid, food stamps, and other entitlement transfers before block-granting them to the states. His Medicare reform is near identical to the Wyden-Ryan approach. He’s for a true, all-of-the-above energy policy that would take the regulatory handcuffs off drilling on federal lands. He would repeal Obamacare. And he has come up with a supply-side tax cut that lowers marginal rates by 20 percent across-the-board and drops the corporate tax to 25 percent.
These are very
conservative positions. One can seriously ask whether Romney isn’t the most conservative presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan.
Yes, there is still work to be done on clarifying the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare, as well as the need for a strong King Dollar approach to monetary policy. And more tax simplification. But in broad terms it’s impossible not to think of this former businessman as conservative on the key economic issues. He’s for limited government, lower tax rates, and deregulation, all with a fair amount of detail.
Columnists Dan Henninger and Jennifer Rubin have written about Romney’s close relationship with conservative icon Paul Ryan. It’s a point I made a while back, as I speculated a Ryan appointment as Romney’s budget director.
Senator Jim DeMint, another conservative icon, recently told the National Journal after meeting with the former governor, “What I can tell conservatives from my perspective is that I’m not only comfortable with Romney, I’m excited about the possibility of him possibly becoming our nominee.”