…if he were elected president?
I’ve read many comments (at this blog and other sites) like this one from “geran” on the subject:
“The worse habit of a ‘True Conservative’ is a certain disconnect with reality of any sort.”
I’m that “True Conservative” that does not like the reality. We have spent ourselves into oblivion. About 50% of the country does not know how many States there are, or any science, or history.
And, we are hoping a wishy-washy Massachusetts liberal, claiming to be a Conservative to get elected, can save us.
There’s some reality for you….
I think I understand where that commenter’s coming from. As I’ve said many many times, Romney would not be my choice if I had my druthers. But I don’t, because my picks aren’t running.
I also don’t think Romney is merely claiming to be a conservative to get elected, and that he’s really a closet liberal. What do I think is so conservative about him? Well, his entire personal and private life, and his career right up to his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, a post he held for only four years. Take a look, especially at his private and personal life (a few choice excerpts follow), and tell me whether the following sounds like a liberal:
[Growing up,] Romney idolized his father, read automotive trade magazines, kept abreast of automotive developments, and aspired to be an executive in the industry himself one day…In March of his senior year [of high school], he began dating Ann Davies [who is still his wife], two years behind him, whom he had once known in elementary school…The two informally agreed to marriage around the time of his June 1965 graduation…
Romney attended Stanford University for a year. Although the campus was becoming radicalized with the beginnings of 1960s social and political movements, he kept a well-groomed appearance and enjoyed traditional campus events. In May 1966, he was part of a counter-protest against a group staging a sit-in in the university administration building in opposition to draft status tests. He worked as a security guard again in order to fund secret trips home to see Ann…
In July 1966, Romney left for 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary, a traditional duty that his father and other relatives had done. He arrived in Le Havre with ideas about how to change and promote the French Mission, while facing physical and economic deprivation in their cramped quarters. Rules against drinking, smoking, and dating were strictly enforced. Like most individual Mormon missionaries, he did not gain many converts, with the nominally Catholic but secular, wine-loving French people proving especially resistant to a religion that prohibits alcohol…In Nantes, Romney was bruised defending two female missionaries against a horde of local rugby players…He was promoted to zone leader in Bordeaux in early 1968, then in the spring of that year became assistant to the mission president in Paris, the highest position for a missionary…Romney’s support for the U.S. role in the Vietnam War was only reinforced when the French greeted him with hostility over the matter and he debated them in return.
I’ll rather arbitrarily stop there, but it just goes on and on and on. Romney was such a straight-arrow social conservative that he was almost a caricature. And after that, he had a career in business that contained no hint of liberalism.
It was only when he had settled in Massachusetts and started running for office (first time in 1994, against Ted Kennedy) that some moderation showed. He had to refute the Kennedy forces’ charge that he was like Reagan—which, in Massachusetts, would have been a death-blow to anyone’s political aspirations. It was during this campaign, against one of the most liberal members of Congress, and then again in 2002 when he ran for governor of Massachusetts and won, that he tacked to the left of a conservative line. That’s the way he governed as well, and it’s really probably the only way he could have governed in Massachusetts, with its highly Democratic legislature and electorate.
You may call him a hypocrite for that, and most definitely he had to compromise some of whatever conservative principles he might have had to hold that office. Perhaps a “real” conservative would not have even run for senator or governor from a state such as Massachusetts—or, if such a person did run, he/she would certainly not have expected to win, but merely to have a platform to voice some conservative ideas. Romney ran to win, and he did.
In short, he became a politician—although rather late in the game.
Now, you may not want a politician as president. I’d actually prefer something else myself. But I like to think of myself as a realist, and I think that’s what Romney is, too. The question is: which was the pose and which the real convictions of the man?
Some would say, “Convictions? He hasn’t got any.” But what if he compromised his inner conservative in order to be elected in Massachusetts, rather than compromising now?
I don’t pretend to know what the man would do as president. I don’t like the idea of electing another person who might say one thing and do another, or who would cave on important principles, either. This very much concerns me. But Obama’s personal background and his voting record screamed “left,” whereas Romney’s background screams “right,” and the only political record he has is in Massachusetts, an ultra-liberal state that he took more to the right than his predecessors. Isn’t it highly possible that, if Romney were to be elected president with the more conservative message he’s giving out now (and as champion of political change, I believe it’s probable he has become more politically conservative over the years), and if there were a Republican Congress as well, he would find it both pragmatic and ideologically congruent to govern as a conservative?