Quotes of the day

This brings on the second Willis stare — eyes narrowed, brow wrinkled. “I’ve been through enough of these,” he says. Just that — enough of these, not “enough of these to know.” Enough of these. Then he explains: “I get cranked up, I start talking about Hollywood and what’s wrong with what. Or politics. I might start in on Mitt Romney.”


And with that one simple follow-up, Willis gets mildly cranked up. “Yeah, Romney. He’s just such a disappointment, an embarrassment. Chin up, hair up. He’s just one of those guys, one of those guys who says he’s going to change everything,” he is saying. “And he’ll get in there, and they’ll smile at him and introduce themselves: ‘We’re Congress, we make sure nothing changes.’ He won’t do it. He can’t. Everybody wants to be Barack Obama. And what did he change?”


Now that Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination, a lot of partisans are urging conservatives to bury the hatchet and refrain from criticizing him, warning that doing so will hurt his chances of beating President Obama. But in a new ebook, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era, I argue that this is the exact wrong approach. Sure, it’s one thing for to vote for Romney over the much worse Obama, but that doesn’t mean conservatives should carry water for him in every instance and let conservatism morph into some sort of Romneyism. Doing so would represent a repeat of the mistake conservatives made when they set aside their principles to consistently defend Bush even as he pursued big government policies, and would make it far less likely that Romney pushes a conservative agenda if elected. It’s important to remember that conservatism and the Republican Party, while at times allied, are entirely separate things.


Ironically, one of the most frustrating aspects of Romney’s character — a calculating political nature that has enabled him to effortlessly reverse prior statements and positions — could prove essential to conservative efforts to pressure him into doing the right thing.

Critics of Romney who argue that he’s really a liberal and boosters who claim that he’s a true conservative both err by attempting to understand Romney through an ideological prism. In reality, he’s a businessman who wants to apply his well-honed management skills to the public sector. If one is to be successful in the business world, the important thing is to satisfy customers and maximize profits.

If Romney is convinced that conservatives will enthusiastically support him no matter what, then he’ll make the calculation that he has room to migrate left during the general-election campaign and throughout a potential presidency. But if he feels uneasy about his support among conservatives, he’s much more likely to run and govern from the right.

Rather than resting on their 2010 laurels, conservatives should work hard this year to put as many principled lawmakers as possible into Congress — people who won’t merely talk tough about shrinking government when a Democrat is in the White House, but who will be willing to resist calls for party unity and stand up to a Republican president if he tries to expand government.


Congress, though, would be the least of President Romney’s troubles. The real threat will come from the Republican Party’s very core, which likes him little and trusts him less. The moment he shows the slightest moderate or rational tick, someone such as Rick Santorum will barrel out of the GOP’s piney woods, screaming oaths, and enter the 2016 Iowa caucuses that, you might remember, Santorum won in 2012. He must be itching for such a fight, having already called Romney “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” That, folks, is not a fudge…

It’s hardly conceivable that, as president, Romney will become the Romney some think he is. The forces that shaped him in the primaries and caucuses will not go away. He has been clay in the hands of the political right, and this will not change. After Romney recently disparaged Carter’s political courage, Gerald Rafshoon, once Carter’s communications director, shot back with this via Bloomberg View: “Scour Romney’s record for a single example of real political courage — a single, solitary instance, however small, where Romney placed principle or substance above his own short-term political interests. Let me know if you find one.” Rafshoon’s phone has not been ringing.


[I]t’s increasingly looking like Paul, 76, and his passionate loyalists are consolidating clout in state party organizations and laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2016 by the congressman’s son, freshman U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

A run even — and, perhaps, especially — if Romney is the incumbent president. It’s a scenario that the younger Paul, 49, a Tea Party favorite, has not tamped down…

“Since the Republican Party is the vehicle through which this action is happening now, it’s probably better if Romney wins [this year] and is as bad as the libertarians expect him to be,” Brian Doherty, senior editor of the libertarian Reason magazine, said recently at a Cato event to promote his book, Ron Paul’s rEVOLution.

That scenario, Doherty argued, would allow a “convincing primary challenger to make very real to the party that there are two wings to the party fighting for supremacy — the Romney wing vs. the Paul wing.”


For more than a decade (not just the Great Recession but going back to 2000), economic growth has been far below its postwar average, and too low to keep the old regime afloat. You can’t have low taxes, high spending, and low deficits when the economy can’t break 3 percent growth.

This is something the D.C. establishment still does not seem to get. For years, their “farsighted,” bipartisan compromises were possible because the guys with the green eyeshades told them that the economy would grow to fill the gaps that they couldn’t fill. But now the economy can’t do that – so we have a mind-bogglingly large deficit and increased polarization in the political sphere.

That’s why the Beltway establishment has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the Tea Party. That’s why they think the GOP battle over the debt ceiling was just plain rude. That’s why Mann and Ornstein have come back with these four sorry ideas. They don’t understand that the old way does not work anymore.


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan predicted Tuesday that November’s elections could bring a broad mandate for the Republican Party to enact aggressive reforms to the nation’s finances.

In a nearly 30-minute speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Ryan, a top name in the Republican Party, repeatedly evoked the Gipper as he called for changes to taxes and entitlements that Ryan said would parallel Reagan’s first year in office.

“We will not only win the next election — we have a unique opportunity to sweep and remake the political landscape,” he Wisconsin congressman said in a speech occasionally punctuated with applause and laughter.


“During the Bush administration, they had four years where the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the executive branch. We had a great opportunity to do great reform to fix what was wrong with this country. We didn’t do it — that’s where careerism comes in,” Coburn told TheDC.

“Careerism isn’t just a problem for Democrats. It’s a problem for Republicans too. When the number one goal is to make yourself look good at home, rather than fulfill your oath and fix what the country needs to have fixed, you’re actually adding to our downward spiral, and so I think it was a missed opportunity of tremendous proportions that the Republicans didn’t embrace what they said they believed in during those times.”

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