“Among Romney’s positives is the fact that he has a demonstrated ability to trick liberals into voting for him. He was elected governor of Massachusetts — one of the most liberal states in the union — by appealing to Democrats, independents and suburban women.
“He came close to stopping the greatest calamity to befall this nation since Pearl Harbor by nearly beating Teddy Kennedy in a Senate race. (That is when he said a lot of the things about which he’s since ‘changed his mind.’) If he had won, we’d be carving his image on Mount Rushmore.
“He is not part of the Washington establishment, so he won’t be caught taking money from Freddie Mac or cutting commercials with Nancy Pelosi.
“Also, Romney will be the first Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan who can talk. Liberals are going to have to dust off their playbook from 30 years ago to figure out how to run against a Republican who isn’t a tongue-tied marble-mouth…
“Instead of sitting on our thumbs, wishing Ronald Reagan were around, or chasing the latest mechanical rabbit flashed by the media, conservatives ought to start rallying around Romney as the only Republican who has a shot at beating Obama. We’ll attack him when he’s president.
“It’s fun to be a purist, but let’s put that on hold until Obama and his abominable health care plan are gone, please.”
“In fact, as they struggle to settle on a leader by indulging in serial infatuation with a variety of unelectable alternatives to the front-runner, the Republicans are revealing a fundamental fact about a large and controlling segment of the party: they can only tolerate leaders who are simpler than Mitt Romney seems to be. The ‘anybody-but-Mitt’ attraction to simpler alternatives is just the latest expression of a concept known as the attraction to non-thought, an unconscious defense first identified by British psychoanalyst Gianna Williams. The appeal of the phenomenon is simple: why make the effort to entertain notions of complexity when to do so invites the risk of psychic chaos that uncertainty can produce?…
“The Republican resistance to Romney is rooted in this same mindset, expressed as a desperate need to find a leader who is simple, certain, and who will never change his mind. Like Obama, Romney is perceived as Other — wealthy, northern and Mormon, which arouses deep distrust bordering on hatred among Tea Party voters. Compared to his Republican rivals, whose rhetoric can rarely be confused with sophisticated thought based on a command of history or the facts, he comes off as a thinker and as different as the exotic Obama.”
“[Gruber] credited Mitt Romney for not totally disavowing the Massachusetts bill during his presidential campaign, but said Romney’s attempt to distinguish between Obama’s bill and his own is disingenuous.
“‘The problem is there is no way to say that,’ Gruber said. ‘Because they’re the same f***ing bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying. The only big difference is he didn’t have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes.'”
“[T]he Democratic leaders and liberal opinion makers forgot these rules in 2009-2010. Too many of them believed that the 60-year political dynamic had suddenly been displaced, that a new age of Democratic dominance was at hand, and that the party should go about achieving its long-standing ideological goals. Democrats passed an inefficient stimulus that favored party clients too heavily, then spent more than a year working on health care and cap and trade while real incomes declined and unemployment continued to soar. The public made them pay for their neglectfulness in the 2010 midterm.
“Republicans cannot make the same mistake as the Democrats in 2012. What this means in practice is not that the party must forsake its conservative values, but rather it must find a nominee who can relate them to the practical worries of these non-partisan, non-ideological voters in the center, and make those voters believe that he will be the best choice for the future. Put another way, he must be a great salesman of conservatism to non-conservatives. And then in office, he must govern always with an eye to holding them in his voting coalition.
“An ideological firebrand or a polarizer who alienates the political center will not do. Because, after all, the GOP’s opportunity next year is not thanks to an emerging Republican majority, but because the emerging Democratic majority the liberals were awaiting never happened. That means all those swing voters who backed Obama in 2008 are up for grabs, and the top priority of the GOP is now to find a candidate who can win them over.”