because I’m not getting it as explained by Camp Romney. Mitt is saying that Santorum is kidnapping the primary by encouraging Democrats to cross over and vote for him in the GOP primary. Now, I’ve got to say, I think it’s silly to have rules that invite the other party to vote for your party’s nominee — it’s an invitation to mischief and to nominating candidates who are not representative of what a political party claims to stand for. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t permit it. But it is not up to me, the rules have long allowed it, and the party establishment — which is a lot less conservative than the party base — has benefitted considerably from it in terms of succeeding in getting its preferred candidates nominated.
What I’m really not following, though, is how Romney can complain about a practice of which he was, by his own account, an enthusiastic participant. The following is from Politico. After noting that Romney accused Santorum of sinking to a “new low,” the report relates:
Yet Romney himself gave a similar explanation in his last presidential run for why he crossover voted in in the 1990s in Massachusetts, per this ABC News clip:
ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger Reports: Republican presidential candididate Mitt Romney offered a new explanation today for why he supported a Democrat in 1992.
That year, Romney, then a registered independent, voted for former Sen. Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary. He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in an interview that will air Sunday on “This Week,” that his vote was meant as a tactical maneuver aimed at finding the weakest opponent for incumbent President George H.W. Bush.
“In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary,” said Romney, who until he made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 1994 had spent his adult life as a registered independent. “When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican.”
Again, I don’t like this game, but having played it himself, how can Romney now complain that it amounts to “kidnapping” the process?