Conservatives just don’t want Flip Flopney to be the nominee. Period.
Now, that may not sound like news, and I guess in one sense it isn’t, but there seems to be no clearer storyline about this entire (sordid, sorry) process than the fact that Republicans, right or wrong, seem to be searching for somebody, anybody, not named Mitt Romney to serve as their nominee.
I applaud this.
Look, it seems to me that there are only a couple of really decent arguments in favor of Mitt. One, he has been a governor, and that’s worth something; none of the other three guys still standing have executive experience, and I don’t discount that at all. Further, he’s run businesses, and goodness knows we need somebody who has a clue about economics at the helm of the country.
Two, Romney has seemed to be—emphasis on the word “seemed”—the most electable of the Republican possibles. The theory goes that independents—who will decide who the next president will be—will be more drawn to some of Romney’s “rounded edges”, more so than they would be to Santorum or Newt’s sharper ones. That’s not implausible, I concede. Balanced against that line of reasoning are a couple of things: one, people generally more greatly respect people of conviction than people of compromise and ever-changing beliefs. Santorum fits that bill far better than does Romney (and at least in one sense, better than Gingrich). You could make the argument that Ron Paul fits this bill better than any of them, and I think I’d buy it—but this quality is only worth so much. Two, Santorum (and Paul and Gingrich) inspire people; Romney wears like an ill-fitting suit. Case in point: recently (CPAC, I think), Romney gave a speech in which he had to use the word “conservative” like a zillion times, so much so that one was given to wonder if he was trying to convince himself. This kind of person engenders neither confidence, enthusiasm, nor follower-ship, and it’s for these reasons that we must question whether or not Mitt is the most-electable of the candidates.
Barack Obama is a formidable campaigner, never mind that he is a lousy president. He can again count on the lapdog media to do his bidding, to shade stories in his favor continually. Mitt Romney will never, is genetically-predisposed to never, apparently, get in the ballpark as far as charisma is concerned, and his conservative bona fides are less than compelling. He may well have had a genuine conversion to conservatism, but his track record is one of, as Newt likes to put it, a Massachusetts moderate, and we honestly have no way of knowing what kind of president he’d make. Another George W. Bush, we don’t need, that’s for sure. At this point, it seems foolhardy to expect Mitt Romney to win the White House; it seems better to me to give the one genuinely consistent conservative left in the field, Rick Santorum, a shot at it.