Romney’s ‘Policy Position’ on the Debt Ceiling?

by Andrew C. McCarthy

If Romney loses the nomination, this debt ceiling line of attack on Santorum could be Exhibit A of what caused the Republican base to look for another candidate. Katrina’s post, addressing the irony that Santorum is being attacked for voting to raise the debt ceiling by Romney surrogates who also supported raising the debt ceiling, concludes: “This isn’t the first time there’s been a discrepancy between Romney’s policy views and his surrogates’ past stands.” But Romney didn’t have a policy view against raising the debt ceiling.

Those of us who took a strong stand against raising the ceiling — and heard the party establishment’s grousing about it — would have loved some support from Mitt. But he characteristically laid low in the tall grass. Here, for example, is a report from ABC’s “The Note,” detailing how then-Romney competitor Tim Pawlenty and Obama mouthpiece David Axelrod were openly poking fun at Romney for being AWOL on the debt ceiling debate.

Just as when he failed to support Ohio governor John Kasich’s effort to rein in the government-employee unions until goaded into it, the negative criticism at Romney’s craven stance on the debt debate finally pushed him into taking a luke-warm position: He said he wanted to cut and cap federal spending while putting a balanced budget amendment in place — a pointless suggestion (it would take years to put a balanced budget amendment in place) that told us nothing about whether, failing that, he’d cave in to Obama’s demand for another $2.4 trillion in spending authority (as Republicans ultimately did).

The cynicism inherent in lashing opponents who took accountable positions in controversies he tried to duck, and in recruiting surrogates who are willing to make a mockery of their own records in order to carry his water, speaks volumes about what is happening to the Romney campaign. People do notice these things.