Romney at CPAC: My record is “severely conservative”

posted at 4:50 pm on February 10, 2012 by Allahpundit

Not a gamechanger but not a bad speech either. If you like him, this will do nothing to dissuade you; if you don’t, this won’t change your mind; and if you’re undecided, you’re still undecided despite him dropping the word “conservative” into virtually every other sentence. (According to WaPo, a Republican strategist advised him recently to include more “conservative code words” in his rhetoric. The first conservative code word deployed: “Conservative,” of course.) His best moment here, I think, comes at 9:00 when he defends his work at Bain, but the takeaway line emerges at 14:15 when he describes himself — the architect of RomneyCare, remember — as having been … a “severely conservative Republican governor.” The awkwardness of that phrase is Romney’s whole candidacy in a nutshell. The word “severely” is almost always used colloquially in a pejorative or clinical sense (“severely unhappy,” “severely handicapped”), yet he’s using it here in a boastful way, as if to say that he can be as strident and unreasonable as he thinks the crowd needs him to be to give them comfort on his ideological bona fides as nominee. I go back and forth between being annoyed that a guy as intelligent as he is can’t even fake his identification with the right more effectively and feeling sympathy for him that he can’t connect with his audience on a gut level. That’s a tremendous retail disability for a politician and it must cause Romney no little agony, but he limps on towards the nomination regardless. If he ends up winning in spite of it, even with all his other advantages it’ll be an achievement.

Anyway, interesting to see shades of Mitt 2008 here touting his record on social conservatism. That’s proof positive of how worried he is about Santorum, especially as the backlash to the new HHS contraception rule picks up. Gingrich is speaking as I write this in the day’s other potential gamechanger. Stay tuned for that video in an hour or so.

Update: Rush Limbaugh: “I have never heard anybody say, ‘I’m severely conservative. No, I’ve never heard anybody SAY it.”

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“I have never heard anybody say, ‘I’m severely conservative. No, I’ve never heard anybody SAY it.”

I’m of the opinion that if you have to say it, then your actions probably don’t bear it out.

teke184 on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Update: Rush Limbaugh: “I have never heard anybody say, ‘I’m severely conservative. No, I’ve never heard anybody SAY it.”

Neither have I. One could say though that Romney’s electoral prospects are severely in doubt.

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Finally…and of course, it cannot stand on its own. We need to have criticism from Rush. Awesome.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Riiiiiiiight … sure you are, Mittens.

OhioCoastie on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

and of course, Rush’s criticism is the focus of the post…not what Romney said.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Severely constup…..

William Amos on February 10, 2012 at 4:53 PM

The first conservative code word deployed: “Conservative,” of course.

I don’t think he or his handlers understood the assignment, lol.

Fallon on February 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

What would a liberal say? Oh yes, I’m very conservative.

HopeHeFails on February 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

So the ‘words’ that is suppose to make us vote for you mitt? Actions speak louder than words, IMO.
L

letget on February 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

One time I have heard people use severely as an adverb is to describe unpleasant things. Like I am severely dehydrated, I am severely broke, I am severely underpaid.

You never hear that word used in a positive way. Have you ever heard someone say I am in a severely good mood today? Never.

The fact he chose that word means he views conservatism as a negative.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

One = Only

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Severely Moderate

joepub on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

and the whole post is an attack on Romney, when the whole post about Santorum was a glowing fawn. This is a man who is on record as hating the tea party, and voted against right to work legislation.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I can’t tell if that squeaking noise is Chumpi’s whining or the world’s smallest violin.

CurtZHP on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Did he say it with a straight face?

carbon_footprint on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

and of course, Rush’s criticism is the focus of the post…not what Romney said.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Are you about to cry?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

and of course, Rush’s criticism is the focus of the post…not what Romney said.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Uh, Rush’s comment is an update at the very end of the post. And it’s a severely strange thing to say, BTW. I think he meant to say “solidly” but couldn’t think of the word. Bottom line is no matter what words he uses to describe his ideology, his actions as governor indicated otherwise.

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

What would a liberal say? Oh yes, I’m very conservative.

HopeHeFails on February 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

If you have to tell people you are, there’s obviously a doubt.

CurtZHP on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

I could barely see Karl Rove’s mouth moving…

d1carter on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Vote for me or go to jail.

lorien1973 on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

You mad bro?

carbon_footprint on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Finally…and of course, it cannot stand on its own. We need to have criticism from Rush. Awesome.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

So sensitive. Rush even said he was not criticizing him. Chilax.

kerrhome on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Are you about to cry?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I thinik you need to go back to school and learn some remedial english comprehension before you can talk to me.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

and the whole post is an attack on Romney, when the whole post about Santorum was a glowing fawn. This is a man who is on record as hating the tea party, and voted against right to work legislation.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Stop whining. Quit being a Drama Queen.

Romney is no more Conservative than you are.

kingsjester on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

“severely conservative Republican governor.”

And the ocean has been severely acidified with a change from a pH of 8.2 to a pH of 8.1

chemman on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

How many times did he say he loves America?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Finally…and of course, it cannot stand on its own. We need to have criticism from Rush. Awesome.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

The Drama Queen drops in and gives us some words of wisdom.

RickB on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Sooo..the Santroum post was all gushy love by Tina and Mitt gets the Allah treatment. Wonder who will get the Newt post? Sorry, I liked the speech. The “severly conservative” was a bit..off. But, whatever. Hot Air for Rick!!!!!

bluealice on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

He’s as severely conservative as I am severely anti-gun.

MadisonConservative on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

but the takeaway line emerges at 14:15 when he describes himself — the architect of RomneyCare, remember — as having been … a “severely conservative Republican governor.” The awkwardness of that phrase is Romney’s whole candidacy in a nutshell.

“… but… but… Hair! Teeth! HIS TURN, DAMMIT — !!!”

Kent18 on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Are you about to cry?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I thinik you need to go back to school and learn some remedial english comprehension before you can talk to me.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Says the moron who doesn’t capitalize English.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

“Severely”?

yet he’s using it here in a boastful way, as if to say that he can be as strident and unreasonable as he thinks the crowd needs him to be to give them comfort on his ideological bona fides as nominee.

Exactly.

As Jonah Goldberg said, this is alien to him because he’s trying to speak conservatism as a second language. He’s on the outside looking in.

“I can totally be just as much a nutjob as you folks are, I swear!”

According to WaPo, a Republican strategist advised him recently to include more “conservative code words” in his rhetoric

See, conservatives don’t need to be told to address conservative issues and use conservative language. Just like people who speak English as a first language don’t need to be told to use English phrases.

amerpundit on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

“I hunt those deer things with a lever action revolver, just like all of you guys.”

-UberCon Mitt

Bishop on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

The Rombot has been reprogrammed to say “conservative words.”

29Victor on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Severely conservative??

HHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!

Mitt, you look like you are SEVERELY CRAMPED!

A good dump will take care of that!

ToddPA on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

(According to WaPo, a Republican strategist advised him recently to include more “conservative code words” in his rhetoric. The first conservative code word deployed: “Conservative,” of course.)

Shades of “Message: I Care”…..

TeresainFortWorth on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I’m terribly conservative and severely Republican.

Better adverbs he could have used to say “I’m ______ conservative.”

Wonderfully
Proudly
Magnificently
Solidly
Greatly
Powerfully
Pornographically
Ardently
Completely
Exceptionally
Supremely
Unshakably

Nethicus on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I’m thinking he got so used to using “liberal speak” in MA b/c he had to, that now he just can’t speak to conservatives w/out using liberal speak in there. I will vote for him, of course, but I’m not convinced he “gets it.”

JAM on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

“severely conservative Republican governor.”

Good grief.

This guy is terrible.

forest on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I am severely about to throw up if I hear Willard say he’s conservative one more time today.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

“I’m severely conservative.”

Oof. I’m a dumb business major and even I can come up with a better adverb. Here’s a few: deeply, profoundly, sincerely…pick one. Oy.

rcpjr on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I think this is the equivalent of Michele Bachmann saying “I’m a serious candidate!”

Galadriel on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I saw this some where-

Mitt pretending to be the ‘not mitt’.

tinkerthinker on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Says the moron who doesn’t capitalize English.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Ooooo, self pwn. Ouch.

29Victor on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Bishop on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

LOL

d1carter on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Are you about to cry?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

He only does that when the Nigerian National soccer team loses to an “inferior” team. The rest of the time he just calls everyone names or tells us to STFU.

chemman on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Dude

crash72 on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

but the takeaway line emerges at 14:15 when he describes himself — the architect of RomneyCare, remember — as having been … a “severely conservative Republican governor.” The awkwardness of that phrase is Romney’s whole candidacy in a nutshell. The word “severely” is almost always used colloquially in a pejorative or clinical sense (“severely unhappy,” “severely handicapped”),

According to an internal Romney Campaign memo; these phrases were focus-group tested but not chosen:

“Critically Conservative”
“Horribly Conservative”
“Disasterously Conservative”

Norwegian on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Did he say it with a straight face?

carbon_footprint on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Five bucks says he can’t do it while Karl Rove is drinking a glass of water.

Kent18 on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Chudi has just realized the 3 years he spent pimping for Willard are for naught. Sorry amigo, no job for you in the WH after all.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I am severely about to throw up if I hear Willard say he’s conservative one more time today.

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Ironically, he’s being very liberal with his use of the word “conservative”.

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Not too severely, Mitt.

You made me laugh out loud.

kingsjester on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

severe
Definition
se·vere[ sə vr ]ADJECTIVE
1. harsh: very harsh or strict
“a severe punishment”
2. dangerous: extremely bad or dangerous
“severe injuries”
3. stern: looking stern or serious
4. extremely unpleasant: causing great discomfort by being extreme
“a severe frost”
5. difficult: difficult to do or endure
“severe hardship”
6. exacting: having standards or other criteria that are difficult to meet
“a severe test”
7. plain: plain or austere in style, with little or no decoration
“severe clothing”

All I need to know about what Romney thinks about conservatism.

29Victor on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Andrew!!!

Sorry… couldn’t help it.

Fallon on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I thinik you need to go back to school and learn some remedial english comprehension before you can talk to me.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

For you.

fiatboomer on February 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Uh, Rush’s comment is an update at the very end of the post. And it’s a severely strange thing to say, BTW. I think he meant to say “solidly” but couldn’t think of the word. Bottom line is no matter what words he uses to describe his ideology, his actions as governor indicated otherwise.

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Of course, it is an update…yet the first post addresses that. This has always been my point. Negative things about Romney and attacks on him are always rushed out immediately…but everybody else is treated differently. Imagine if Romney had voted against Right to Work or said the tea-party would destroy the Republican party, I bet it would have made this post too. Go to the fawning post on Santorum and tell me where it is.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I’d say this guy is excruciatingly conservative.

Greek Fire on February 10, 2012 at 5:02 PM

He used the terms “conservative/conservatism” at nauseum. He is severely desperate.

Breitbart’s on!

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:02 PM

“…why, I’m so conservative I thought about joining the Klan.”

29Victor on February 10, 2012 at 5:02 PM

We’re not taking it anymore…!

d1carter on February 10, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Five bucks says he can’t do it while Karl Rove is drinking a glass of water.

Kent18 on February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Five bucks…pffft that’s a bet for peasants.
How about a $10,000 bet instead?

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Torquemada was severely conservative. Also Phillip II. Also Ayatollah Khomenei.

Seth Halpern on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

I think I’ll write Romneys speeches. Thanks.

blatantblue on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Great bedside manner you have.

chemman on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

He is conservative with his severity.

carbon_footprint on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

This “severely conservative” line reminds me of an old SNL skit where Will Ferrell, as George W. Bush, claimed he read the Koran “constantly.” Oh how my family enjoyed that one.

Still, despite Romney’s awkwardness, I think him the better choice. Strangely, at the core I think he is more conservative than Gingerich or Santorum. His life is that of a very conservative, almost nerdy conservative, guy. Too bad he can’t express it.

MaxMBJ on February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

What Mitt wanted to say is “I’m so totally conservative…dude” but he knew HA heads would explode. Ruthless, yet thoughtful.

FlaMurph on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Breitbart/West

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Finally…and of course, it cannot stand on its own. We need to have criticism from Rush. Awesome.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Rush’s response was given exactly two lines at the end of the post. Is it so hard to assume that AP listened to the speech, read the transcript, and formulated his own opinion?

Doomberg on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

What this speech shows, is that Rick is the real leader…finally someone forced Mitt to actually talk about Obama, talk about issues, and even got him to state that he is a conservative.
All you Mittwits, thank Rick for pushing him to the “center”, thank Rick for re-focusing Mitt on the issues. He finally has began to move away from this policy of personally attacking candidates.
Rick has shown leadership, leading by example, and Mitt is finally recognizing that and is following.
Rick has helped Mitt, and I hope that Mitt continues down the path that Rick has led him.

right2bright on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

In 2008, Rush said he embodied all three legs of the conservative stool, but in 2011, he is not conservative enough. I wonder why that quote was not part of the post too.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

A number of days ago, you mentioned on a thread that you have an MD/PhD, and I asked if you had both. I came in late, and you must not have seen the question, so I’ll ask you here–do you have both? What is your PhD in?

DrMagnolias on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Yeah, but is he strenuously conservative?

catmman on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Conservative code words?

These beltway insider dudes are laughable. Code words, as if conservatives are going to Pavlov themselves because Mitt fires out some panel-tested word.

Bishop on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

“That’s a tremendous severe retail disability for a politician”

FIFY..

tenxthinking on February 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

When are these candidates going to start talking about how the Supreme Court is one nomination away from having an anti-Second Amendment majority?

Mark1971 on February 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Did he say it with a straight face?

carbon_footprint on February 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Yes, and I sincerely felt sorry for him.

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Maybe Rombo meant he was smacktastically conservative, that I could believe.

Bishop on February 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Yeah, but is he strenuously conservative?

catmman on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Heh. That reminds me of the scene in A Few Good Men:

“Your Honor, we object. Your Honor, we strenuously object.”

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Romney THEN: “My views are PROGRESSIVE”

Romney NOW (when he’s about to lose his ass in this primary): “I’m severely CONSERVATIVE!!”

LOL … what a clown.

HondaV65 on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Bishop on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

“Shut up, you toothless, gun-toting hick” –joana

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Rush’s response was given exactly two lines at the end of the post. Is it so hard to assume that AP listened to the speech, read the transcript, and formulated his own opinion?

Doomberg on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Oh we know his opinion alright. Why not treat Romney the same way Santorum was treated. Write a post on his speech, that is free of negative judgments and insinuations.

Don’t worry, in 2008 he embodied all three legs of the conservative stool, but in 2011, he is not conservative, he is a liberal.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Breitbart: This election we’re going to vet (Obama).

*wild applause*

Fallon on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Is he like, super-totally conservative?

catmman on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Breitbart has videos from BHO’s college days and he is going to vett him this time…

d1carter on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Look on the bright side, he didn’t once say My Friends. So we have that going for us….

angryed on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

In 2008, Rush said he embodied all three legs of the conservative stool, but in 2011, he is not conservative enough. I wonder why that quote was not part of the post too.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:04 PM

He hadn’t been vetted well enough in 2008 – and that was before we found out that RomneyCare was the sire of ObamaCare.

Nuff said.

HondaV65 on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Reminds me of an Emerson quote:

“The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

WordsMatter on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

A number of days ago, you mentioned on a thread that you have an MD/PhD, and I asked if you had both. I came in late, and you must not have seen the question, so I’ll ask you here–do you have both? What is your PhD in?

DrMagnolias on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

yes, I did an MSTP, and my PhD is in Biochemistry.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

he is not conservative, he is a liberal.

Chudi on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

He’s not a liberal, but he’s not a conservative either.

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Doughboy on February 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Yep. :)

catmman on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

OT

Is there any news on the Occupy CPAC front scheduled this afternoon.

RickB on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

I’m beginning to think the Mitt haters are just plain jealous of his success. He’s a good honorable man. I wonder what these people would say when Reagen explained why he left the Democrat party. Once a RINO always a RINO? Right? The Reagen hate here would be immense.

rubberneck on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Like Rush I’ve never heard anyone say “Severely Conservative” but I HAVE heard Rush call Romney a Conservative, in 2008.

AYNBLAND on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Oh we know his opinion alright. Why not treat Romney the same way Santorum was treated. Write a post on his speech, that is free of negative judgments and insinuations.

Don’t worry, in 2008 he embodied all three legs of the conservative stool, but in 2011, he is not conservative, he is a liberal.

Chudi

Because Romney doesn’t think consensual sex in a position you disagree with should be illegal, hence he must be destroyed.

Zaggs on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Let me see if I can clear this up. Mitt purports to be “severely conservative” because, after all, from the Republican elite’s persective, “conservatism” is is a congenital defect. For example, all Tea Partiers are born with it. In other words, in addition to being gun-totin’, Bible thumpin’, bitter clingers, Mitt just told all of us that we should have been extras in “Deliverance”.

My collie says:

*perks-up-ears* Do you hear Banjo music?

CyberCipher on February 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Breitbart, what a mensch!

Schadenfreude on February 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

What is severely conservative? You are a conservative or you are not — very simple. No other adjectives or adverbs needed. I don’t care if Romney gave the best speech in the history of mankind, I am still not voting or supporting him. Anyone who has to tell me how conservative they are is probably being a good actor because his record and comments even recently are not that of a conservative. Mandatory increase in minimum wage? That is definitely not conservative. Flip flopping on various issues is not conservative.

Bottom line he can say he is whatever conservative all he wants but it doesn’t make it so.

PhiKapMom on February 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Rush’s response was given exactly two lines at the end of the post. Is it so hard to assume that AP listened to the speech, read the transcript, and formulated his own opinion?

I didn’t see Rush’s quote until after the post was drafted. It was grassroots buzz on Twitter that first alerted me to the “severely” line. I agree with people who thought it was odd.

Allahpundit on February 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

What is your PhD in?

DrMagnolias on February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Chudi’s PHD is in MEDIA SPIN.

HondaV65 on February 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

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