Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will Romney Kill Conservatism?

There has been a lot debate within the mainstream media and conservative media about the possible ideological leanings of a Romney presidency (Andrew Sullivan has a nice summary here).  And, yes, my fellow Rombots, this is open to debate. Romney was a pragmatic Republican in MA who portrayed himself as right-wing conservative in 2008, but is now running an "I'm not clinically insane," right-of-center campaign for President. Romney's record has not changed, but how he tries to appeal to the electorate has. So who is Romney and what will his Presidency look like?

For once, I hope Erick Erickson is right and I fear if he is wrong. Erick believes that Romney will kill "conservatism." I place conservatism in quotes because the term is up for grabs, as I will explain.
But there is something else too — Mitt Romney is winning the nomination without conservative help. The only time he pays conservatives any attention is when they cry loud enough that the media takes notice and Romney decides the story needs to go away. Once he is the nominee, it will be all about wooing the independents.


Hell, he can give the base Marco Rubio as the veep nominee, just like McCain did with Palin — a token for the base. But don’t delude yourself into thinking he will seriously take conservatives seriously. He got the nomination without them and he’ll only use them when it is opportunistically convenient for him.


Conservatism itself will not really die. But it might as well be dead as even conservatives in the heartland of the country stop taking Washington conservatives seriously.
So what is Erick Erickson's conservatism that he believes Romney will destroy?

First of all, it's more cultural than cerebral. Erick is focused on appealing to "conservatives in the heartland" rather than "Washington conservatives." City folks may not apply. Especially city folks who go to ivy league schools and who don't say "ya'll." We can all remember Palin's dichotomy of the United States into real Americans and everyone else. Erick has been all on aboard with Palin's populism even if he dropped the Alaskan for a newer model.

Second, Erick's not so merry band of followers are much more concerned about the emotions of fighting the enemy of liberalism than with recommending a better, conservative form of government. How else can you explain Chris Christie? I would have loved to have seen Christie run for President if for nothing more than to see the Tea Party sour on him. They will find, like every Northeastern Republican, that Christie is not one of them. At present, they only see Christie's war against the teacher's union (a worthy fight), not the entire picture. And this is perhaps why good Republicans don't run. Christie knew that everyone would get to see how he doesn't fear Muslims, how he cares about the environment, and how he doesn't think shutting down the government is good for the economy. RINO.

Third, when Erickson type conservatives do venture out into the public policy world they quickly reveal to everyone except for themselves that they are pilgrims in a foreign land. That's why Erickson thinks that Cain's 9-9-9 plan and Perry's flat tax plan are good ideas. They are not. They are math defying. They would blow large holes in the deficit, the very thing that Erickson and company claimed to be against. But yet Erick charges forward with these ridiculous ideas because it feels so good. And Perry and Cain gladly lay out these plans, not because they harbor any dreams of those ideas ever becoming law, but because they want to win a primary that consists largely of Erick Erickson conservatives. It's a vicious cycle and it's hard to sort out the chicken and the egg.

And not only are Erickson conservatives bad at policy, they are bad at politics. They really think that the way to beat the opposition in a year when people are protesting against Wall Street is to demand that the poorest of Americans start paying income taxes and that the richest receive a gigantic tax cut. If (or when) President Obama wages class warfare against Romney, it will be a blatant political move and a lie. If President Obama wages class warfare against Cain or Perry, it will be an accurate assessment of their politics. It will be literally true. Rick Perry literally wants to dramatically cut taxes for the rich and dramatically raise taxes on the poor. And the most amazing thing about this is that Erickson cites Romney's wealth as a reason why he will lose against Obama's class warfare.

Breathtaking.

The great news is that Erick Erickson does not get to define conservatism all by himself and that is why he is so fearful of a Romney presidency. Romney seems to be interested in governing. He seems to be interested in data and empirical analysis. Romney may very well throw the Tea Party under the bus in order to get the economy going again, because getting America back to work is more important than obeying a bunch of know-nothing radio clowns. With Romney, we may get a return to William Buckley conservatism.

He may very well kill Erickson's conservatism. I hope he does.

Please check us out on Facebook and If you like what you see, please "Like" us. You can find us here.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pablo,

Nice job articulating exactly what is happening, and what needs to happen.

-Martha

Ohio JOE said...

Well at least you are just as honest as Pablisimo Martha, you now admit that you support Mr. Romney because you want Conservatism dead. Haha, that is a smart way to get our support in the general election. Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag.

Terrye said...

People like Erickson are afraid of losing influence..they know that a guy like Romney won't kiss their behinds.

The truth is they would also hate Christie or Daniels..or just about any effective Republican Governor you can think of. Because those guys are often times too busy doing their jobs to pander to the rightie bloggers and talk radio people.

Ohio JOE said...

"Because those guys are often times too busy doing their jobs to pander to the rightie bloggers and talk radio people." Yes, but they are also quite busy pandering to their crony friends. I'd rather have somebody that panders to nobody, but that is not in the cards now.

Anonymous said...

OJ...I know you and Martha love to go back and forth but in all seriousness...I don't see Levin's, Ericksons, Rush's, point to these types of declarations. They want to alienate Romney from conservatism, and thus his suporters, but there are a lot of us who have listened to and read these guys for years and consider ourselves to be conservatives...are we all delusional? We agree with them on so many fronts but by supporting Romney we're all of a sudden "not one of them." So essentially they are saying that they don't need us anymore. Not only that, but that we're all out to destroy conservatism. How do I square this in my head? i can't. They declare to the "establishment" that it's their way or the highway...but what about us? (I know there's a flipside to that statement) Most of us would back any of these candidates against Obama, but we don't get the same respect if our guy wins. Seriously?
My conservatism is based on limited government, family values, strong foriegn policy etc. and Mitt checks all those boxes and yet I'm suspect in my "true conservatism" because of that decision? I'm not asking for you to jump on the Romney team, you never would or could, but at least respect the fact that there are conservatives who do and that we shouldn't be declared as traitors for doing so.

Gordon

Pablo said...

OJ,

Are you suggesting that Romney, Daniels, or Christie is crony?

And Romney will not kill conservatism. Only, possibly, the cultural flavor that Erickson promotes.

Ohio JOE said...

"My conservatism is based on limited government, family values, strong foriegn policy etc." Well than you Gordon sound like a true Conservative and yes you are not the only Conservative in the Romney camp. However, with respect, you make it sound like Mr. Limbaugh and talk radio declared war on the Romney camp and that you guys are the victim. If anything, the establishment has declared war on both talk radio in particular and Conservatism in general. It is clear that they no longer want Conservatives in the party. Well good luck without us then. For the record, I realize that you among others in your camp did not declare war on Conservatism, but their are too many bad apples that it has become too difficult to maintain that spirit of trust.

Ohio JOE said...

"Are you suggesting that Romney, Daniels, or Christie is crony?" Hello, how soon you forget that not only, Mr. Romney support TARP, he chose to endorse Pro-TARP candidates over conservatives.

Pablo said...

OJ,

Fantastic, at least logic will require you to call Sarah Palin corrupt since she supported TARP as well. I know, I know, she only did it because of John McCain, which makes it worse, since she just wanted power.

Of course, the problem is that a person who believes that TARP is corruption will probably not be altered by the constraints of reason.

Ohio JOE said...

Fortunately, Mrs. Palin learned unlike your camp leader who failed to back the anti-TARP candidate in NY-23, not once, but twice because he did not want to offend the party establishment. Huh? What about that oh smartie pants?

leighrow said...

Gordon

My sentiments exactly. I have defended the tea party movement and I have voiced my support for Palin and Bachman when liberals in MN attempt to trash them. I consider myself to be a strong conservative and I am a strong Romney supporter for the reasons you have stated.

I researched Perry and I quickly saw that he was not a conservative but yet these conservative pundits are touting him as some rock solid conservative.
Perry opposes e-verify,like Huntsman perry supported in state tuition for illegals. Perry proposed a binational healthcare plan with Mexico and Perry doubled government spending in Texas. Perry also wanted to take thousands of acres of land from private land owners for the Trans American HWY and Rush,Levin and Erik think this guy is conservative?? Something really stinks in conservative politics!

Anonymous said...

Romney2012!!

Anonymous said...

There is a serious need to stop letting people like Ericksen have the power to declare who is and who isn't conservative.

In many polls most people consider themselves conservative. Myself included. But I am not one of THEM.

Ericksen speaks for the footloops.

There is no place or person that is really that kind of conservative. Not Ericksen himself would govern the way he intends to force others to do.

The fruitloops are just a bunch of discontents. They will never be happy. Never.

There is a fringe group like that on the left as well. They will never be happy. That is why it is so frustrating to talk to the Occupy people. They can't ever be happy.

Ericksen is the right wing equalevent of the Occupy folks. He makes no sense. He follows the last fad in Tax ideas. Spouts some nice talking points that have no relationship to the real world, and hates on Romney.

This isn't going to die off either. Those people have always been there.

If I could, I would suggest to Ericksen, that he find a nice cabin on top of a mountain in Montana and carry on.

He adds nothing to the debate but his discontent with life. And that is not at all helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response OJ...great points. I did say in my post that "the flipside of this can also be said"...I just don't see the "establishment" as being behind Romney to the extent that "conservatives" declare. They were trying like mad to get a number of other candidates into the race that seemed to have more ties to the "establishment." Need we forget that the "establishment was hell bent on denying Romney the nomination last time. Romney may have some warts but he does accomplish the "main task" at which he was hired to do. Massachusetts elected him to fix their fiscal mess...that was the overwhelming theme of the 2002 gubenatorial election in Mass...not healthcare. He was successful in that endeavor. He is now running to turn our fiscal situation around at the federal level and like I've stated multiple times, he will use all of his capital on this endeavor.

Gordon

Terrye said...

Ohio Joe..

Daniels does not pander to anyone. I know, I live in Indiana and I have watched him. I also have heard people like Rush say things about him that I know are untrue.

Right now, Daniels has an approval rating of over 70%. We have a surplus. He ended collective bargaining for state employees. He pushed for and got charter schools. He supports a voucher system. He signed every bit of pro life legislation that passed his desk...but he is not a firebrand and he is not all about shooting his mouth off and he has actually worked with Democrats in this state from time to time..so Rush just had to trash the guy...no matter how conservative his record was. That was irresponsible and dishonest of Rush.

Anonymous said...

If all the republicans in Ohio are like Joe, it's no wonder why we lost the collective bargaining vote. What a failure.

Ohio JOE said...

"If all the republicans in Ohio are like Joe, it's no wonder why we lost the collective bargaining vote. What a failure." hahaha, typical establishment crybaby. For the record we did relatively well in my precint and precints where I went door to door dropping off pamphlets. Too bad the party hacks bungled the campaign. BTW, thanks to the great leadership of the Tea Party, we won Issue 3 in Ohio by a greater margin. Perhaps next time the estlishment in our state will get off the fat bums. Second thought, we don't need your help anyway. We won it our way.

Nice try though.

Terrye said...

Ohio Joe:

Why do you see every single comment as some kind of challenge to the Tea Party? You have a chip on your shoulder.

Machtyn said...

Terrye: I haven't been here as long as some of the others, and likely you. But even I can see the chip on his shoulder. hehe.

Good article. It's like saying, "If Erickson's conservatism is Conservatism, then I want none of it." However, Erick Erickson did state that he was pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, pro-family, etc. and that "Romney is none of that." Of course, he failed to back up his claim. The fact is, Romney is all of those things, too. You can see it in his statements, in his record, in his actions, in his life.

Alan said...

The Erickson, Rush, Levin types are looking for an arch conservative even more conservative than Ronald Reagan. They rant and rave against the establishment Republican party as the evil boogie man, but the fact of the matter is that a large majority of the Republican party is moderate. Why else do Republicans keep nominating moderate 'establishment Republicans'? (i.e., Bush I, Bush II, Dole, McCain).

Anonymous said...

Anyone who spends even a few days visiting this group will see the childish chip on OJ's weak, slumped shoulder.

Slick-Willy said...

The defining problem of Erickson/Rush/Levin/etc. is not that they believe the wrong things. When you break it down, they believe the same things I believe. The major problem is their arrogance. They believe that they're so important that they get to choose who is allowed into the club and who is not. People with that much arrogance should not be trusted.

I loved the Tea Party when it began unseating crony Republicans in red districts. I started to mistrust the Tea Party when it got arrogant and started pushing a purist only campaign giving us candidates like Angle and O'Donnell.

We need conservatism. We also need pragmatism. We never need arrogance.

Slick-Willy said...

BTW: Great article Pablo. Really.

Anonymous said...

Ohio Joe lost us the collective bargaining debate. great work! I love how the tea party loses us easy campaigns. How about you just leave the heavy lifting to us in the establishment? Dont worry, we'll beat Obama for you. You can just sit around and think of new and creative ways to lose elections.

Anonymous said...

Anon, picking on OJ because of Ohio's vote isn't fair; lots of union workers in Ohio, which makes anything conservative a challenge.

That being said, I, too, tire of being called a RINO because I support Mitt. My sister who is far less passionate about Mitt than I am is beginning to hear it, as well. Some of us like to win elections and pass good law; we'd like to take out a few bad laws, too. The more the better; but I prefer to focus on the "possible" not the latest fad idea. I still consider myself a conservative.

AZ

Paul said...

Pablo, I really like your last paragraph in this piece. I do disagree somewhat on whether the poor should pay taxes. I think that they should. It would be an approoriately small proportion of their resources. It would allow them to feel invested in America, instead of feeling only entitled. Entitlement only brings them to shame, anger, and class warfare. It keeps them praying to the social progressives. Paying their small, but significant tribute would bring to them some dignity, and I think it should be done.

Paul said...

Pablo, I also agree with your criticism of Erickson. Although it seems clear that Romney is more socially conservative than Ronald Reagan was, Erick screams that Romney will "destroy conservatism." It seems that bigotry causes otherwise reasonable people to abandon logic, and even integrity. If it were not for bigotry, Erick would be able to exercise due diligence, and would give a research-based admission that Romney is pro-life, has governed by pro-life principle, and is protective of marriage, and our gun rights. Bigotry causes people like Erickson to want to make up lies, believe lies, and disseminate lies, if the lies provide cover for their unsavory indulgence in hate. There is no other explanation for his crazy behavior on Red State. As the threat of exposure becomes greater, bigotry refuses to die, and it SO loves an alibi, no matter how ridiculous. Watch for Erickson and his ilk to become even more unglued as Romney breaks away from the pack and solidifies his inside track to the nomination.

Paul said...

Slick Willy, I agree with you argument about arrogance, and that it plays a big role in the behavior of people like Rush, Levin, and Erickson. Out of pride, and a desire for a feeling of importance, power, and control, they have stood their ground, seemingly willing to go down with their own ships. I would add that there is a reason that they and their followers (these guys have to flatter their followers along the way to remain lucrative and in demand) staked out such an unreasonable position against Romney in the first place. See my post above. At any rate, they definitely do not want to eat crow. There would have to be a prolonged series of convoluted excuses and much airwave talk to cover their tracks before Rush and Levin could belatedly get behind Romney again, like they did too late to help in 2008. Meanwhile, Romney remains just as conservative as he was in 2008, only even better as a candidate and communicator. To quote Mr Spock: "I am, and always have been, your friend," (that is, a friend to conservatives and conservative causes). However, I now feel alienated by some self proclaimed conservatives that seem to have strayed away from love of country for other motives. Pablo, Slick Willy, and several others are making some sense here, but God help us.

Ohio JOE said...

"Why do you see every single comment as some kind of challenge to the Tea Party? You have a chip on your shoulder." I guess you haven't been here long. The Generalisimo among other can hardly utter a word without attacking the Tea Party or Conservatives of any sort. Frankly, I wonder why those in the establishment are so freaking bitter against the people.

Terrye said...

Ohio Joe...you have done the same sort of thing to me and I have never gone after the Tea Party. You and Cain seem to have something in common..you can dish it out, but you can't take it.

Ohio JOE said...

Oh, please what did I do to you personally? Your side has joined forces with bimbos who make false accusations. And your side has questioned whether Mrs. Palin in Trig's mother. Your side has accused the Tea Party of choosing poor candidates when you have failed to choose better candidates. I am sorry sir, but it is not my problem if you do not know how to pick your friends. I cannot help you. If anything you guys are the one who dish it out and cannot take it. You whine and complain about how talk radio is so bigoted and what not all, yet you will be the first one calling for Fox news and talk radio to bail you out when your fair-weather fans turn on you.

Anonymous said...

OJ, I am not aligned with Bimbos or Trig birthers. Your insinuation that they are my "friends" is simply false. There are people at every extreme. Should I accuse you of being friends with bigots because there is a certain percentage of the anti-Romney group who hate him because he is a Mormon?

You are not correct in your logic and should not attack those of us on here who have been your friends in spite of being Romney supporters.

AZ