I was in Barnes and Nobles today and I picked up a copy of Romney's recent book. I admit I have not read it, but I am making plans to do so in April (I already have a strict reading schedule until then). When I get a chance to read it, I will be sure to post a review here at Rightspeak.
Nevertheless, I couldn't help but spend some time in Barnes & Noble reading Romney's section on entitlement spending. And to my relief, Romney is as worried about that 40 percent of the budget as I am. He actually has some very clever ideas on how to reign in mandatory spending. He also rightfully believes that the budget should be published each year in order to raise awareness on how the government spends taxpayers' money (it is effectively an entitlement spending agency guarded by a large military).
My only regret is that Romney has hidden these serious proposals in his policy book (that will only be read by people who care about public policy) and has not made them public to the grassroots. As far as I am aware, Romney made no mention of entitlement spending in his CPAC speech. Daniels did. Chris Christie talked about entitlements in his AEI speech. Paul Ryan has publicly promised to tackle the issue as well.
Now, I understand the strategy. Romney already has a huge following that consists of quite a few senior citizens. Daniels, Christie, and Ryan do not. In fact, Daniels has absolutely nothing to lose by being the "truth teller." But if Romney does not watch his step, Daniels is going to take the mantle of the 'serious candidate' from Romney. Daniels has already stood up to the base/talk radio/Fox News cabal on several occasions. The conventional wisdom is that truth telling doesn't get you very far within the conservative movement and it might not get Daniels very far this time. But it also might work. I have noted in the past week that I sense a different mood creeping into conservative circles. If Romney doesn't step up to the plate, he might miss a golden opportunity to publicly promote serious proposals at deficit reduction.
As far as I can tell, there are four Republicans who have publicly admitted that Medicare needs to be cut: Romney, Daniels, Christie, and Ryan. Of those four, one of them has spoken out only via his policy book. That's not enough.
I am pledging right here and now that I will not cast a vote for anyone, Republican or Democrat, who does not publicly propose that we reduce Medicare spending in some way. If Mitt Romney will lead the charge, then my vote will go to him. If he doesn't, then I will likely be a Daniels man.