The Romney Paradox

posted at 5:10 pm on February 1, 2008 by Bryan

I have come around to trust Mitt Romney more than John McCain or any of the other presidential candidates, and I think he is a smart and decent man who would be a fine president. He’s a leader who has shown that he knows how to fix things, and by associating himself with real conservatives from the very beginning of his campaign, he shows what kind of leader he’ll ultimately be. I’ll happily cast my vote for him when the time comes.

But I didn’t get to this point overnight, and it’s not just a rebound effect from discontent with John McCain. It’s an affirmative vote for Mitt Romney because I respect his resume, one of the finest we’ve had in a presidential contender in a long, long time. He is the most qualified candidate to take on the world’s most difficult job, by far.

As things stand right now, Romney has a tough hill to climb just to become the GOP nominee. He’s done what he could to get there, spending millions of dollars of his own money that could have been spent on yachts or small countries or whatever it is that the super-rich buy, and making the difficult but absolutely necessary transition from business to politics. But the path he took to make himself a viable candidate is also his chief weakness as a candidate. It’s the Romney Paradox, in this case the counterintuitive outcome of two very successful careers that ought to help reinforce each other, but don’t.

As a rule, Americans don’t elect business leaders straight to the presidency no matter how successful they have been. We just don’t. We elect governors, we elect generals, we elect former vice presidents and very occasionally we elect senators. We didn’t elect billionaire Ross Perot, though he did help elect Bill Clinton. We didn’t even nominate Steve Forbes, though his economic conservatism probably made a lot of sense to most Republicans when he ran and he was certainly one of the more intellectually interesting candidates available at the time. We also don’t elect congressmen, which is one of the major reasons that Duncan Hunter’s effort never took off. He had all the right ideas but none of the resume.

The reliable routes to the presidency run through governor’s mansions and the upper echelons of the Pentagon. That’s the way it is and nothing is likely to change it, because we tend to see politics and business and entirely separate spheres, and our government’s best executives either run states or win wars. That’s not an unreasonable way to see the world, since government spends much of its time regulating business, but it does produce an inherent difficulty for business leaders to make the crossover from enterprise to politics. On the left, the inherent distrust of private enterprise crosses over into unreasonableness, whether it’s John Edwards’ faux and thankfully failed populism or bashing Hillary Clinton for serving on the Wal-Mart directors board. Of all the many things that could be held against the Clintons, Wal-Mart must be the least important by several orders of magnitude. But even on the right there’s distrust of business, among some social conservatives and border security hawks. And Maverick John McCain, at least if you take his “led for patriotism, not profit” line at face value.

What does this have to do with Mitt Romney? I’m getting to that.

It should be obvious to most Americans that some amount of business acumen would be helpful to have around the White House. After last night’s Democrat debate, it’s obvious that there’s no real business sense among their contenders. Business experience would help an administration understand the role of business success and economic freedom in America’s global influence. It’s clear that many politicians, especially on the left, spend their entire lives in government and do not understand business at all. See the clip linked above. They don’t seem to grasp that you can’t be a military superpower without strong economic fundamentals, at least not for very long, and you can’t keep your military at the cutting edge without robust R&D on the business side (government-backed or not), and you can’t spread freedom by prying open markets if you don’t have healthy markets of your own. But because we don’t elect business leaders directly to the White House, we seldom have strong business sense at the top of any ticket in either party. Good presidents bring that knowledge into the cabinet with them, bad presidents don’t. Some presidents get lucky and inheret a strong economy that they get to ride while they’re in office.

This year, we do have the chance to put a serious business leader with political experience in the White House, in Mitt Romney. He is one of America’s most successful businessmen. Having been a governor, he has also taken one of the most reliable routes to the White House. Having won as a Republican in deep blue Massachusetts, on paper Romney would seem to be a very very strong candidate for the presidency. Add some national security credentials and he’s the man to beat.

But he isn’t the man to beat right now, and therein lies the Romney Paradox, the reason many conservatives haven’t embraced him. He is a Mormon, which some unreasonably hold against him (we’re electing a president, not choosing a pastor, a difference that I wish many of my fellow evangelicals understood), but which also says that he is probably a natural and instinctive social conservative. Most Mormons are, if anything, on the right end of social conservatism. That also ought to endear him to the GOP base, but because he ran for the governorship in Massachusetts he had to tack far to the left of the party to become a viable candidate there. If he had run in, say, Tennessee or Texas, he would have run a very different race on a very different set of issues than he ran and won on in Massachusetts. That’s not a knock on him, so much as it’s a reflection of the different politics at play in different states. Romney didn’t live in Texas or Tennessee.

Because he ran far to the left of the party in Massachusetts, he has had to spend the last two years or so tacking back to the right to get back into the GOP mainstream. I happen to think that that’s where he started out (including, unfortunately, his iffy stance on the 2nd Amendment), which means two things. First, that his current conservative stances represent who he really is. Second, that he is indeed a flip-flopper, having flipped toward liberalism to win Massachusetts but now flopping back to the right to win elsewhere. Being a businessman before a politician, he probably didn’t foresee how much mistrust that all of this would create among the conservative base. He’s a pragmatic fixer, not an ideologue. That mistrust plus anti-Mormon animus among my fellow evangelicals explains both the rise of Huckabee and the stasis of Romney. Add in Fred’s gravitational pull to the Reaganite right and you have yet one more drag on Romney’s campaign. He has been stuck wearing a pair of cement shoes, one named Fred and one named Mike.

Romney’s win in Massachusetts is probably the single greatest bullet point for and against his candidacy in many conservatives’ minds. If Romney hadn’t won in Massachusetts and governed well, he would not be a viable presidential candidate. Period, full stop. It wouldn’t matter if he had saved ten Olympics. It wouldn’t matter if he had turned two dozen companies around from bankruptcy to profit. We elect governors and generals, not businessmen. Romney ran in Massachusetts because that’s where he lived, and he ran to the left because that’s what the state’s conditions demanded. He is, at least, not a carpetbagger.

But the Romney Paradox is a real and lingering problem: His victory in Massachusetts helped him cross over from business to government and made him a viable presidential candidate, but at a price that keeps conservatives from getting behind him and supporting him with full throat because many of us aren’t sure we can trust him. There’s no getting around that. It is what it is.

I’ve gotten past the Romney Paradox. I hope a majority of my fellow conservatives will do the same on Super Tuesday.


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I wish all Republicans were like me. Romney or McCain;
back him to the hilt on Election Day.

RobCon on February 1, 2008 at 5:12 PM

I saw Romney speak here in Michigan in 2004, and thought then that he’d make a good president. While I found that I prefered Fred, I still think that he would be a good president.

smithinmich on February 1, 2008 at 5:15 PM

Wow. That is very well said.

Zetterson on February 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM

I for one will vote for Romney on super Tuesday. Twice if I can…just kidding! I think he is by far the best candidate.

kcd on February 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Romney is the only choice. McCain doesn’t deserve any Republican vote. The (R) behind is name does not constitute a reason to vote for this madman.

darwin on February 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM

I’ve gotten past the Romney Paradox. I hope a majority of my fellow conservatives will do the same on Super Tuesday.

Me too. If not, we’re in a world of trouble.

petefrt on February 1, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Very good points bryan. I have questions about Romney’s WOT positions and push him on that but there is little else I can find to make me dislike him.

I simply pointed out that some things still exist in our society even though we dont wish they did. This year of elections has been so much dumbed down to “identity” politics.

After years of watching Oprah and Dr phil and American Idol we cast votes by text messaging at the voting booth (figuratively speaking) and based on “feelings”

Mitt would make a great president. I would also vote forhim if he were the nominee. I just sadly cant see that happening.

America still have to take some long strides. Mitt has taken the first step to hopefully putting the anti mormon crap to rest. And dont give up there is always hope.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Very well written, Bryan. I can tell you really thought it through and it’s not based on emotion.

terryannonline on February 1, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Romney has been my choice since last spring. Thanks for your support but it would have been better to get it when it mattered. I always knew that Tancredo, Hunter, Huckabee, and Thompson never stood a chance. It was always going to be McCain, Giulani, or Romney. Now it’s just going to be McCain.

Tmaque on February 1, 2008 at 5:24 PM

It’s clear that many politicians, especially on the left, spend their entire lives in government and do not understand business at all.

As you alluded to elsewhere, that describes our current frontrunner.

I just hope there is still a viable Romney campaign to vote for after Super Tuesday, as I don’t get my chance until March 4th.

Well done.

thirteen28 on February 1, 2008 at 5:25 PM

I entirely agree with you Bryan. Like many other conservatives, I was very skeptical of Mr. Romney and his conservatism. Indeed, I even argued at a panel conversation during my undergrad years that he was just another “flip-flopper” from Massachusetts. I bought into the MSM talking points. I was also wrong.

To date, Mr. Romney has presented a clear, concise, and articulate platform of conservatism backed by common sense. Contrasted to John McCain’s platform and his perpetual attacks on conservatives, Mitt Romney is the clear choice. How any conservative could vote for John McCain, the man who introduced modern day amnesty, launched a full out assault on the First Amendment, lied about the Iraq surge, voted against tax cuts, and, most importantly, was an integral part of the Gang of 14, is simply beyond disbelief.

Tuesday will be a pivotal day in this Nation’s history. God save the Republic. . .

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:25 PM

It seems like I went through the same thought process as you, Bryan, and came to the same conclusion.

No candidate has a better or more rounded resume, with real results to back it up, than Romney.

NTWR on February 1, 2008 at 5:26 PM

But the Romney Paradox is a real and lingering problem: His victory in Massachusetts helped him cross over from business to government and made him a viable presidential candidate, but at a price that keeps conservatives from getting behind him and supporting him with full throat because many of us aren’t sure we can trust him. There’s no getting around that. It is what it is.

There is a chance that I can’t trust Romney on the things he’s flipped on.

But even with that, I KNOW I can’t trust John McCain.

Go Mitt!

SimplyKimberly on February 1, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Looking at the latest Fox poll, it just may be that we have waited too long on making this decision.

Big Orange on February 1, 2008 at 5:27 PM

I’m in. Go Mitt!

I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR MCCAIN. EVER.

Ex-tex on February 1, 2008 at 5:28 PM

I’ve supporte Mitt Romney since his exploratory committee was formed.

He’s the most consummate candidate in the field.

I concur with several others — I will never vote for John McCain. Never.

Gull on February 1, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Interesting perspective, Bryan.

And Maverick John McCain, at least if you take his “led for patriotism, not profit” line at face value.

There are few things more galling than McCain’s dissing of Mitt’s business career, or of capitalistic enterprises in general.

McCain’s mother was an heiress. His second wife, Cindy McCain is the very wealthy daughter of a very shady character who began his career as a bootlegger. Her money has gotten him where he is politically.

He has virtually no business experience of his own, married into wealth like John Kerry did, and like a typical pandering and hypocritical Lib, uses populist class-warfare arguments to get elected.

Just one more reason why I have come to loathe him.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 5:30 PM

McCain’s mother was an heiress

Dude McCain’s Dad and Granddad were admirals. His family has served this nation for generations please dont belittle that.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:31 PM

Well put Bryan. I live here in MA. Had him as governor. Thought he was great. I’m voting for him again. He would make a great president.

Rod on February 1, 2008 at 5:32 PM

You know this was nice to sit and talk about why Mitt is a good guy and suited to win the white hoyuse now its turning to a bash McCain post.

Win on Mitt the man not your hatrid of McCain.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:32 PM

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:31 PM

I don’t believe that McCain is being belittled for his service. But, truth be told, his military service and the fact that he was a POW (as he so frequently points out) should not be the dispositive factor in deciding whether or not he is qualified for the Presidency. After all, there have been plenty of great presidents who were not members of the military.

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM

I’m in. Go Mitt!

I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR MCCAIN. EVER.

Ex-tex on February 1, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Amen. If it is McCain, I pull for the Democrat (by not pulling the POTUS lever)

The way I figure it:
Carter begat Reagan and the next Democrat will lead to an intelligient choice in 2012.

Onager on February 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM

I don’t believe that McCain is being belittled for his service. But, truth be told, his military service and the fact that he was a POW (as he so frequently points out) should not be the dispositive factor in deciding whether or not he is qualified for the Presidency. After all, there have been plenty of great presidents who were not members of the military.

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM

McCain served and earn the right to claim his military service as a qualification. McCain is wrong on many positions so why attack him on that one which he isnt wrong on ?

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Mitt is a true conservative, and the word “Gullible” is not in the dictionary. Don’t trust me? Go look it up.

tommylotto on February 1, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Okay – this is it, my last choice flip-flop for Pres:

ROMNEY/THOMPSON ’08

I will never, NEVER vote for McCain. I’d vote for Ron Paul before I would vote for McCain.

That McCain dude is the Manchurian Candidate and will destroy this country!

Timothy S. Carlson on February 1, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Very well said. I have been a Romney supporter from the git go and to say it has been frustrating to know in my heart he is the best candidate and yet see so many Republicans looking away would be an understatement.

Name recognition by itself has been a major problem. A friend who never pays attention to politics told me she is voting for Obama because of Oprah. When I said Romney, she was confused as to whether he was “the Mormon or the crazy guy,” referring to Ron Paul. This was just a week before we vote here in Calif.

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 5:38 PM

That’s pretty much it, Bryan. Thanks and well said. I’ve already resigned myself to 4 years of a Democrat presidency, with at least 2 years of a them holding both houses of Congress, but I will definitely do what I can to prevent it in supporting a Romney ticket.

spmat on February 1, 2008 at 5:38 PM

Wow.
Very, very good post Bryan

I can’t believe this primary has come down to a choice between someone I hope I can trust, and someone I know I can’t trust.
Mitt was always my second choice because of his resume, the best in the race.

ChrisM on February 1, 2008 at 5:39 PM

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Attacking him on his service would be equivalent to an attack on his patriotism. But service in the military does not mean that he is equipped to be the executive manager of the government. Again, his military service is a testament to his patriotism; I don’t believe there are many who question him on that quality. Like you say, though, he is wrong on so many other issues. In a sense, he’s trying to gloss over those deficiencies by highlighting his service. That doesn’t fly well.

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Dude McCain’s Dad and Granddad were admirals. His family has served this nation for generations please dont belittle that.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:31 PM

I realize that! Did I say anything about his father or grandfather?

P.S. It’s dudette.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

McCain derangement syndrome

For clarification, I have despised him ever since he and good ole Lindsay alughed it up with Kennedy and called me and others like me a, “nativist”. Up until then, I was pretty sure I was an American.

Onager on February 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

There is a chance that I can’t trust Romney on the things he’s flipped on.

But even with that, I KNOW I can’t trust John McCain.

Go Mitt!

SimplyKimberly on February 1, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Precisely.

fourstringfuror on February 1, 2008 at 5:42 PM

I think that if Mitt were to name Fred as VP he would easily beat John. And to echo many others, I will not vote McCain.

rockdalian on February 1, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Bryan, that was excellent. Living in MA there’s no way Romney could have won here without running the way he did. And he fought this state legislature at every turn too. Vetoing hundreds of spending bills, denying these loons when they put up driver’s licences for illegals before it was a big national issue. I know and have known who I’m voting for next Tuesday. I only hope more people join me. This McCain McMentum is just wrong for conservatism. I won’t be a party to it.

PowWow on February 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM

I’m glad you wrote that Byran, because I enjoyed reading it. I think it’s quite thought provoking.

Spirit of 1776 on February 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Like you say, though, he is wrong on so many other issues. In a sense, he’s trying to gloss over those deficiencies by highlighting his service. That doesn’t fly well.

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Right so why are some attacking his military service in an attempt to question of his patriotism ?

Calling McCain stupid over amnesty is one thing. Calling him a traitor over his being a POW another.

Kerry at least turned anti war and anti Military. McCain has never done that.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Amen Bryan, amen.

Theworldisnotenough on February 1, 2008 at 5:47 PM

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM

You would have to ask those persons who are “attacking his military service in an attempt to question of his patriotism.”

What I’m arguing is that is constant highlighting of his service should not fool educated voters into believing that he is a “true conservative” as his new ad claims. The two do not necessarily equate.

kc2ige on February 1, 2008 at 5:48 PM

I’ll be voting for Romney in March. Should he not make it, I will write in Fred or someone, just to show I’m paying attention. McCain is a war hero, no doubt – but I think he is damaged goods because of his ordeal. Don’t stay home, people – and we have a LOT of time to think and talk about it.

thebookkeeper on February 1, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Mrs/Sen. Clinton vs Sen. McCain will be a good campaign if it happens. But other campaigns are still possible: Sen. Obama is surging USA. Sen. Romney may reignite his Republican candidacy.
All movement conservatives will decide to vote for someone, or not this fall. It’s gonna be interesting.

Randy

williars on February 1, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Well written and thoughtful piece, Bryan.

Pretty much sums it all up. Thanks.

BacaDog on February 1, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Oh, how I wish that the electorate in general were more like the commentators above!

Tzetzes on February 1, 2008 at 5:58 PM

P.S. It’s dudette.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Buy Danish is a woman?

Wow, am I dense. LOL.

Go Mitt!

BKennedy on February 1, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Very nice endorsement, Bryan. I am a Fredhead to the core, but I think Mitt’s a very good candidate and I’ll definitely be pulling for him to win the primary. I can’t understand McCain’s current momentum, but there’s little I’ve understood about this election cycle.

And I’m a Fredhead, so I’m used to disappointment.

Either way, I will support the Republican nominee. Both Democrats have plainly stated that they plan to throw away everything we’ve accomplished with the Surge. Major dealbreaker. I will take knife after knife after knife in the back from John McCain to avoid this outcome. I know that even though he is likely to betray me on practically everything else I care about, it’s the one issue he will get right. Not a pleasant decision, though.

Beatnik Joe on February 1, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Seriously, I don’t understand why no one is getting it. The MSM has already decided the election for us. It’s going to be McCain against Obama in the general election. The media bias and directing of this entire process has been so blatant. I cannot understand why people are not seeing this the way I see it. The media has supported different candidates at different stages of the game and reported based on where they want the candidates to be, not where voters want them to be. The media has caused John Q. Voter (read: lemming) to vote the way the media sees it going and how the media has protrayed the candidates. It’s the election by the MSM this time around. I’m convinced.

ihasurnominashun on February 1, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Just read that Andy McCarthy has joined the Romney campaign as an adviser. He writes at NRO, but more importantly, he led the prosecution of the blind sheikh and was at Ground Zero as part of his duties after 9/11.

Press release

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 6:04 PM

I would be proud to have Mitt Romney as our President. Another nod from a FredHead.

RushBaby on February 1, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Great piece. Just talked with three random people today. All now voting Mitt. Just goes to show you can talk positives of him, in less than 5 min each and come out the other side. Get out there and pump Mitt!

SkinnerVic on February 1, 2008 at 6:08 PM

Great post! I just hope more of the people answering in all these danged polls will get the message before they go vote. Why is McCain gaining so much??? I was never anti-Mitt, but since Fred dropped out and narrowed my choices, I am happily supporting Romney. I won’t be able to vote in the primary, but I did just make my first-ever presidential campaign donation to make it up to him.

tikvah on February 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM

You know, I really wish someone could explain to me the whole evangelical/ Christian disdain of Mormonism. Seriously, I don’t get it.

eclark1849 on February 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Articles like this are a true shame becuase I fear they are too late. I can only hope that in four years that you are more proactive.

paulsur on February 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Having lived in Massachusetts myself, and having all of my in-laws there, I have never taken issue with Romney’s tacks toward the liberal side to win election there. What gives me pause about him is simply his lack of experience as a politician. (I do not think “politician” is a dirty word.) I just get the sense in this campaign that he is not ready for prime time. And I think he would get chewed up and spit out by the far more politically-experienced Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is. He needs more political seasoning. A second term as governor would have done it, though he never would have won it last year in that environment and then would have been damaged goods nationally.

Romney’s big mistakes were: (a) thinking his biggest rival would be Rudy Giuliani and so trying to sell himself initially as the only real social conservative in the race, which simply was not believable; and (b)thinking this GOP race really would be different from all the others, namely, wide open. The truth is the old GOP establishment gets who it wants, and this time it wanted McCain. Republicans do not go for the new guy. Ever. They always nominate the guy whose turn it is. This year, sadly, it is John McCain’s turn.

rockmom on February 1, 2008 at 6:12 PM

You know, I really wish someone could explain to me the whole evangelical/ Christian disdain of Mormonism. Seriously, I don’t get it.

eclark1849 on February 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Oh, please please please don’t start that discussion here again!

Tzetzes on February 1, 2008 at 6:17 PM

The truth is the old GOP establishment gets who it wants, and this time it wanted McCain. Republicans do not go for the new guy. Ever. They always nominate the guy whose turn it is. This year, sadly, it is John McCain’s turn.

It’s too bad they had to nominate a democrat for their nominee this year.

paulsur on February 1, 2008 at 6:20 PM

This year, sadly, it is John McCain’s turn.

…To lose in a landslide.

ChrisM on February 1, 2008 at 6:21 PM

In the same way I would never, ever have voted for Huckabee, I feel the same about McCain. I’m honestly having trouble determining how he is any different than Hillary or Obama. If I was still registered Repub (I’m a decline to state) I’d vote for Romney on Tuesday. I heart Fred, but I can accept Romney.

wherestherum on February 1, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Had another candidate first, but they’re gone.

And I find Dem-lite McCain to be a potential Dole style loser for the R’s in ’08 (as well as being too much a slimy and left-leaning a political weasel).

Mitt it will have to be.

And as a write in in November if the duping works on Super Tuesday from the “footsoldierpad in the Reagan Revolution”.

profitsbeard on February 1, 2008 at 6:23 PM

The truth is the old GOP establishment gets who it wants, and this time it wanted McCain. Republicans do not go for the new guy. Ever. They always nominate the guy whose turn it is. This year, sadly, it is John McCain’s turn.

Exactly. And remember those old establishment types get their news only from the NYT and the WaPo.

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Go Mitt!

davenp35 on February 1, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Romney philosophically enganged in hand to hand combat against the liberals the entire time he was govenor. What has really disapointed me in this election are all the republicans who give a free concervative pass to candidates that never had to actually battle for concervatives ideas. Someone who has always been a Republican and towed the party line and had it easy on this side of the aisle is NOT more concervative then someone who wages battle in enemy territory.

Resolute on February 1, 2008 at 6:33 PM

Very well said, Bryan. I’m embarassed I didn’t support him sooner, opting for Giuliani instead. I live in North Carolina, and our primary is in May. Hopefully Romney can still be in the race so I (and NC!) can vote for him. If he’s not in the race I will vote for myself over McCain.

SouthernGent on February 1, 2008 at 6:36 PM

There is a reason good businessmen do not make good politicians, and most businessmen know that. The two skill sets are totally different, a bureaucrat would no better run a business, then a businessman could run congress. And as far as one of the most successful businessmen? How many thousands, with less connections then a powerful governor as a father, have done better. Better read the Wall Street Journal a little more closer. Literally thousands of businessmen have done what he has done, tens of thousands. They just don’t run for office, or use the press to define their positions. Hell, Pelosi’s husband has done as well.
He doesn’t connect, mainly because he isn’t up front honest, not that he isn’t honest, he doesn’t come out like that. It isn’t his flips, it is how he runs from them. And honest person would say “hey, I said it, it was a mistake, I am not a hunter and never will be, but I admire them”.
…and then the false indignation of “evangelists not liking Mormon’s”, while the Mormon’s come knocking on their door saying the evangelists are stupid and wrong…that’s what people don’t get, for years they disparage Christians, then when called out the become “indignant”.
His relationship with Bechtel and his corporate cronies, his evasivenesses when cornered he ran from conservatives, he needs to explain those actions…not the “I have grown” line.
But he may be the best we have…what a shame.

right2bright on February 1, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Maybe Romney should ask McCain if he opposes waterboarding because McCain himself broke under prison pressure and signed a confession, handed to him by his North Vietnamese captors, admitting to being essentially a war criminal?

Meaning that “torture” not only works, but it works so well that it can make “heroes” admit to the enemy’s propaganda in order to undermine his own country and fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines?

Looking into McCain’s “heroism” is a stunning experience.

The guy collaborated.

He was weak.

Some hero.

profitsbeard on February 1, 2008 at 6:46 PM

I have come around to trust Mitt Romney

Is this a satire?

Chakra Hammer on February 1, 2008 at 6:49 PM

right2bright on February 1, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Your post sounds just like a liberal complaining about Dick Cheny and Haliburton. I see no substance at all.

Resolute on February 1, 2008 at 6:50 PM

I have come around to distrust McCain.

Is that satire?

From satyr play?

McCain is like a doddering character in “The Clouds”.

Cuckholded by the Dem media into thinking he is something.

Until they pull the rugs out from under his two left feet.

profitsbeard on February 1, 2008 at 6:53 PM

The real Romney paradox is that, even though he is a much better candidate than McCain, he probably can’t win the general election (not to mention his own state). There’s nothing wrong with him, but he just doesn’t have that “regular guy” quality that plays such a big part of electing a president.

Time to wake up and smell the McCoffee.

Infidoll on February 1, 2008 at 6:57 PM

In email, I just received a list of Romney endorsements you may not have heard about. I know many were new to me.

Governor Matt Blunt (Mo.)
Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (Idaho)
Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Mikolajcik
Fmr. Governor Kenny Guinn (Nev.)
Fmr.Gov. Robert Ehrlich (Maine)
Gary Marx – Dir. Judicial Confirmation Network
James Bopp Jr. – Legal counsel for the National Right to Life Committee
Jay Sekulow – Chief Counsel American Center for Law and Justice
Joe Earle – Director of Outreach Iowa Christian Alliance
Attorney General John Suthers (Col.)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (Fla.)
Rep. Bill Shuster (Pa.)
Rep. Brian Bilbray (Calif.)
Rep. Chris Cannon (Utah)
Rep. Connie Mack IV (Fla.)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.)
Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.)
Rep. Dennis Hastert (Ill.)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (Ky.)
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (Fla.)
Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.)
Rep. Howard McKeon (Calif.)
Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.)
Rep. Jim McCrery (La.)
Rep. Joe Knollenberg (Mich.)
Rep. John Campbell (Calif.)
Rep. John Carter (Texas)
Rep. Kay Granger (Texas)
Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)
Rep. Mike Conaway (Texas)
Rep. Mike Rogers (Ala.)
Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho)
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.)
Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.)
Rep. Ralph Regula (Ohio)
Rep. Robert Aderholt (Ala.)
Rep. Rodney Alexander (La.)
Rep. Ron Lewis (Ky.)
Rep. Tom Feeney (Fla.)
Rep. Tom Petri (Wis.)
Rep. Tom Price (Ga.)
Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.)
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (Mich.)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.)
Rep. Wally Herger (Calif.)
Sen. Bob Bennett (Utah)
Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.)
Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)
Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.)
Sen. Wayne Allard (Colo.)
Dorothy Bush Koch – sister of Jeb & President George Bush (Tex.)
Neil Bush – brother of the President
Dr. John Wilke – Chair Right to Life Committee
The National Review
The Daily Nonpareil (IA)
The Times-Republican (IA)
Sioux City Journal (IA)
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
The Oakland Press (MI)
Las Vegas Review Journal (NV)
Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
Elko Daily Free Press (NV)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Hartford Courant (CT)
Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Trent Christensen (MA)

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 6:59 PM

Is this a satire?

Chakra Hammer on February 1, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Well, we can’t all be mindless Rudy trolls who I predict (along with the Huckatrolls and Stormfront Troofers) shall leave us somewhere around November 5th, mysteriously and forever.

BKennedy on February 1, 2008 at 7:00 PM

I think you are spot-on accurate about the Mormon thing – I know several family members who will NOT vote for him just because of his religion.

It’s a shame, really. Romney is our best choice now.

Not that it matters what our vote is anyway – we live in Texas. Our primary votes don’t count down here.

pullingmyhairout on February 1, 2008 at 7:00 PM

You know, I really wish someone could explain to me the whole evangelical/ Christian disdain of Mormonism. Seriously, I don’t get it.

eclark1849 on February 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM

It has to do with the early history of Mormonism. The practice of polygami, some of the rites of monomonism and some of the beliefs. Like the discription that mormons have that the bible teaches there is another tribe of israel beyond the originial 12. That goes against some classic Christian beliefs.

Just like when Kennedy ran some protestants questioned how a catholic could be president of a mostly protestant nation. And Catholism doesnt have some of the baggage that Mormonism has.

look there are still some ugly sides to any culture. Take Ron Paul for example. Ron Paul would NOT be getting the support he is getting if not for one thing. A black man running seriously for president. That has brought out some of the ugliest parts of our society to back Ron Paul. In fact I thikn if you scratch hard enough you will find that the truther movement has largely come about on the backs of the neo nazis in this country.

Those are the people who hate democrats for backing blacks and who hate republicans for backing Israel. Dont think for one second that pauls talk of “we are too involved over seas” isnt tied to really one Country named Israel. The libertarian movement has been a refuge for years for thier insanity. Now with 9/11 these cretens have snuck back trying to gain legitimacy based on that event.

Which is why I dont know if I want to laugh or cry when liberals fall for the truther movement not knowing who really is ultimately behind it.

William Amos on February 1, 2008 at 7:02 PM

I totally respect Bryan’s choice. And I have never had anything bad to say about Romney. I like him a great deal and if by some chance he becomes our nominee, I will work my butt off for him. But guys… This is the way it is looking:

From NRO:

He (McCain) now has an estimated 97 delegates (per CNN). Next Tuesday, he’ll win New York (101), New Jersey (52), Connecticut (30), and Arizona (53). He’ll probably also win Oklahoma (41) and Missouri (58).
These are — off the top of my head — all of the winner-take-all states on Super Tuesday (except Utah). They’ll leave McCain with a total of 432 delegates. That’s before any of the California delegates, of which he’s sure to take several. He’ll get some in Illinois and some in the proportional states in the South (where Romney won’t do well anyway), and some in the caucus states. My guess is he’ll finish Super Tuesday with no fewer than 700 delegates, and perhaps as many as 900.
Romney will probably have about 250 at that point, maybe something like 400 if he does unexpectedly well in the caucus states. The threshold for victory is 1,191.

Rightwingsparkle on February 1, 2008 at 7:03 PM

That’s was the best written post I’ve seen for quit some time. Thank you Bryan. I will vote for Mitt, and even sent him some money.
But if the dinosaur gets the nod, I’m staying home and filling out my welfare application. I am determined to be on the collection side of the coming welfare state.

leanright on February 1, 2008 at 7:04 PM

There’s another paradox with Romney- his current campaign positions.

Forget a moment his record in MA, abortion or Mormonism.

One of the biggest failures of the Republican party is with spending and growth in government. Romney claimed to be a free market, fiscal conservative, yet when it came down to specifics, he just wasn’t convincing.

A fiscal conservative doesn’t come out in favor of ag subsidies, increased spending in support of the auto industry and other pet projects, the expensive Medicare Reform Act, etc, etc, etc. GW Bush ran as a fiscal hawk too, while also claiming to be a “compassionate conservative”. Unfortunately that was code for “massive spending increases”, and where he should’ve ran against Bush on fiscal policy, he frequently backed him up. Romney seemed to think we’d fall for the same trick twice.

A free market conservative doesn’t promise homeowner bailouts, subsidies and corporate welfare.

He mentioned entitlement spending in the last debate, yet only the previous day he attacked McCain for voting against the Medicare Reform Act, and again in Florida came out in favor of a plan to eliminate Social Security taxes on seniors- without mentioning how he’d make up the resulting loss of revenue.

He talked about combatting Radical Islam, yet proposed spending more money on foreign aid as a way to combat it under the myth that terrorism is caused by socioeconomic conditions.

Finally, he talked about “change” (a Romney rally is usually filled with people holding up “change” placards), which is itself a meaningless platitude. Yet his campaign was very much a conventional one that gave us no reason to believe he was any different than the typical Washington insider- if anything, he gave the opposite impression.

Fred had Goldwater federalism, and convincingly so.
Rudy was convincing as a social moderate / security conservative.
Huckabee was convincing as a populist, evangelical social conservative.
McCain is convincing as a fiscally restrained, pro-Iraq War moderate.

Mitt didn’t have that one hook he was convincing on; instead he tried to convince us he was conservative in every possible category (even when his record wasn’t always so), but no specific way in particular- and many of us just didn’t buy it.

Hollowpoint on February 1, 2008 at 7:04 PM

The conservatives who oppose Romney do so because of things he has said in the past. That is fair. But his actions have been decidedly conservative. The conservatives who oppose McCain do so because of his actions — for the issues he championed or fought or against. If actions are supposed to speak louder than words, the choice should be pretty clear.

McCain’s strong suit was his stand on the war. He was right about the surge and about Rumsfeld’s failed strategy. But it should be noted that he was able to effect that change from the Senate. It also suggets maybe he’d be a great Defense Secretary. But there’s more to the Presidency than the war, and he’s so horribly wrong on so many other issues.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:05 PM

Thank you Bryan for articulating so well the positive case for Romney that addresses the concerns that conservatives have expressed about his candidacy. I can only sigh and wish it had been made earlier and from more corners. I have been groping for such an argument to make to conservatives myself but always seemed to fall short. Perhaps it is because I was attracted to him as a potential POTUS from the outset and just didn’t understand the opposition to him from some quarters of the conservative base.

I’m pretty sure that the “anybody but McCain!” argument is a non-starter no matter how much influence particular columnists, bloggers or radio hosts may have with their audiences. In any case, thank you again. I hope it does some good.

Deety on February 1, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Time to wake up and smell the McCoffee.

Infidoll on February 1, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Well, at least Mitt won’t be drinking it.
Mormons don’t drink coffee and conservatives don’t swallow McCain.

Tzetzes on February 1, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Your post sounds just like a liberal complaining about Dick Cheny and Haliburton. I see no substance at all.

Resolute on February 1, 2008 at

Bingo. He’s really into the class envy thing too.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 7:08 PM

Please quit with the Mormon comments. I expect better from this group. There is not religious test!

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:12 PM

Please quit with the Mormon comments. I expect better from this group. There is not a religious test!

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:12 PM

Now it is right.

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:13 PM

Time to wake up and smell the McCoffee.

Infidoll on February 1, 2008 at 6:57 PM

And you think that McCain can win without the Conservatives and WITH the MSM decimating him. Good luck with that.

tickleddragon on February 1, 2008 at 7:13 PM

I made a couple of changes in caps:

Fred had Goldwater federalism, and convincingly so.
Rudy was convincing as a social moderate / [FISCAL &] security conservative.
Huckabee was convincing as a populist, evangelical social conservative.
McCain is convincing as a fiscally restrained, pro-Iraq War, [SOCIAL POPULIST].
Hollowpoint on February 1, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Romney was convincing as someone who could actually get things done. But you’re right to point out that he hasn’t successfully branded himself. One of the lamest moves he made was to adopt Obama’s slogan and characterize his accomplishments as “change.” It undercut what was really his strong suit — effectivness.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:14 PM

Another diehard Fredfolkster affirming a vote for Mitt.

He’s not my fave, but he is better than the alternative.

tickleddragon on February 1, 2008 at 7:15 PM

One of the lamest moves he made was to adopt Obama’s slogan and characterize his accomplishments as “change.” It undercut what was really his strong suit — effectivness.

If you saw his anouncement speech when he got in the race that was his theme. He got away from it in Iowa, and probably cost himself the race.

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:16 PM

One of the lamest moves he made was to adopt Obama’s slogan and characterize his accomplishments as “change.” It undercut what was really his strong suit — effectivness.
If you saw his announcement speech when he got in the race that was his theme. He got away from it in Iowa, and probably cost himself the race.

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:16 PM

I can’t type tonight. The spelling error is corrected.

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:17 PM

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:16 PM

No, I must have missed that. I just noticed that he referenced in a debate how Obama won with a “Change” message and then he started using it all the time. I think it’s a lame slogan for all the reasons Rudy pointed out in that same debate. Change=different.

Mitt should have made the case that he’s been an effective and accomplished leader. I think that would have resonated more than to say “I’ve made change happen.”

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:19 PM

But he isn’t the man to beat right now, and therein lies the Romney Paradox, the reason many conservatives haven’t embraced him. He is a Mormon,

Poor ‘ol Mitt is a Victim..

It’s never that he ran a lousy campaign, or that his message didn’t resonate or that his strategy failed 4 times in the most important States,or that his “slick” persona of flip-flopping and pandering to whatever crowd he’s talking to left a sour taste in anyones mouth..

it’s always someone else’s fault.

Chakra Hammer on February 1, 2008 at 7:20 PM

To whoever asked about the bias against Mormons I will show you this from NRO e-mail.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=N2Y1NzVkNzUxNDhmMzlmOTk3YTNkZWRiYjY2MGQ2ZGQ=

It is one of the conerns I have had with Mitt. I think that anyone who votes against Romney because he is Morman is just ridiculous. But many people feel the way that e-mailer feel. I have said before that I have been surprised by the people that I know that say similar things.

If Romney does get the nomination, we will have an uphill battle with those kinds of feelings.

Rightwingsparkle on February 1, 2008 at 7:20 PM

One thing that gets overlooked when religion becomes the topic is that in the LDS faith, they put a high priority on education and leadership. They begin to teach their children from the age of three on how to be good leaders. Their teenagers are expected to go out and do community projects and volunteer work while their friends are hanging on street corners or getting drunk at keg parties. Scouting has a very high priority within their youth programs.

I first became acquainted with the Mormon church when my son was 8 years old and playing Little League baseball. I was so impressed with two children on the team, I went out of my way to meet their parents and get to know them. Both families were Mormon families. I watched those kids grow until they graduated from high school and I never changed my original impression. They both went on to college and grad school and are active in their communities in leadership roles as well as being a doctor and a Naval officer/Seal.

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Chakra Hammer on February 1, 2008 at 7:20 PM

If he made a mistake early on it was the contrast ads. The others were able to point to them and call them attack ads and paint Romney as a smear merchant.

Second, you don’t run attack ads against a no-name like he did against Huck. When you do that, all you do is help your opponent get name recognition.

He made some mistakes, but I wouldn’t call it lousy campaign. He is still in it, after all.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:19 PM

I don’t disagree with that assessment. He will have 4 years to make all the necessary amends unless a miracle occurs. It looks as though McCain is picking up all of Rudy’s support.

He will be better for it. Everyone will be more comfortable with him, he can add to his foreign policy credentials and hone his message. I think he will be a candidate we will all rally around.

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:25 PM

Let me get this straight, he is too much of a wimp or as one NRO poster said, “effete,” yet his mistake was in running contrast ads. That makes no sense. He should be running more of them. That’s one of the problems.

I do agree on the “change” comments. I wrote to the campaign at least 10 days ago and told him to change that to something more original and upbeat, like On to the Future or something similar.

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 7:31 PM

One of the lamest moves he made was to adopt Obama’s slogan and characterize his accomplishments as “change.” It undercut what was really his strong suit — effectivness.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:14 PM

I agree with that. I think he should have focused on his turnaround ability instead of change which is just a boring word, and used a theme that we’re tired of waiting for Washington to act. The chairs thing was good though.

By the way, I just saw Johnny Mac’s ad on FNC – prattling about “special interests” again.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Well, at least Mitt won’t be drinking it.
Mormons don’t drink coffee and conservatives don’t swallow McCain.

Tzetzes on February 1, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Please quit with the Mormon comments. I expect better from this group. There is not a religious test!

JDH on February 1, 2008 at 7:12 PM

Well, I for one am strongly supporting Mitt and have absolutely no problem with (in fact, great respect for) Mormons. And I don’t drink coffee either!

Tzetzes on February 1, 2008 at 7:34 PM

mccain has the name recognition, thats it.
wish romney would have been more aggressive and out spoken early on as i didnt even look at him till fred dropped out, now we are gonna be stuck with mcain im afraid.

trailortrash on February 1, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Pal2Pal on February 1, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Was this directed at me? It has nothing to do with being strong. He wasn’t a national figure so — when in Iowa — his focus should have been building that name recognition. By running contrast ads against Huck he was helping build Huck’s name recognition. Second, he ran them first and when he was ahead (and thus, didn’t need to). So he opened the door for everyone else to run their attack ads and say — hey, he started it. It’s not about being nice. It’s about being tactically smart.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Speaking of religious tests, this is from the Hot Air Headlines.

Check out what it says the purpose of the website is (see the small type under the title.)

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Buy Danish on February 1, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Did anyone bring up the Keating 5?

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:37 PM

If he made a mistake early on it was the contrast ads. The others were able to point to them and call them attack ads and paint Romney as a smear merchant.

Second, you don’t run attack ads against a no-name like he did against Huck. When you do that, all you do is help your opponent get name recognition.

He made some mistakes, but I wouldn’t call it lousy campaign. He is still in it, after all.

Spolitics on February 1, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Ron Paul is still in it too, and anyone would still be in it if they had an seemingly unlimited fortune that they could spend on a campaign, only to lose State after State even while outspending everyone by a wide margin.

Chakra Hammer on February 1, 2008 at 7:38 PM

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