I May Vote for Romney, But I Won't Like it

Written by John Vecchione on Friday September 30, 2011

David manfully takes up the job of stirring enthusiasm for Mitt Romney as President. I was for Pawlenty before that became impossible. Now Perry has revealed himself to be another Republican politician who cannot talk. Worse, he seems to insult the base without knowing it. At least with Huntsman it’s a strategy.

I think David is factually wrong on three statements he makes in his piece.

Romney was not broadly acceptable to conservatives in 2008. He left them cold which is why he lost to McCain who gleefully incensed them. Secondly, health care premiums are going up partly because of Obamacare and to use such increases as an excuse not to repeal Obamacare strikes me as not repealing prohibition because of a rise in alcohol prices. Finally, defunding Obamacare and even its outright repeal can be done through the budget process which does not need 60 Senate votes but only a majority.

It is also unclear to me that given the next cycle for Democrats that 60 votes could not be gotten if the Republicans have 56 or 57 seats in the Senate. Finally, if the Solicitor General puts a brief before the Supreme Court that Obamacare is unconstitutional it raises the chances of Justice Kennedy striking it down.

Certain items David sees as strengths of Romney I see as weaknesses. Mitt Romney has never said anything controversial about social security or Medicare or entitlements, but his not having done so is not a plus. It means--to my mind--he is not going to stop entitlements from destroying American prosperity and, as Mitch Daniels points out, power.

Unlike Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie, Mitt Romney has never gone against the conventional wisdom of the business class. If we use this historic opportunity to put a Republican President in with Republican majorities we run the risk of aiming to low if Romney is President.

I have called Perry “too Texan” for this election. He is easy to demonize and has now shown an inability to deflect attacks or explain positions. Does this mean Republicans are forced to Romney? Jonathan Last looks at that prospect here. I am still undecided (and have given no thought to Cain or Santorum) but I think anyone voting for Romney has to be prepared for the following:

First, no action on Obamacare. Romney will not spend the time or effort on getting rid of it. He will let it fester, gobble the budget, and drive this country left. Congress may take it on but there will be no Presidential leadership on the issue.

Second, he will take no bold action on entitlements. He will not even try. And without taking them on he will only be able to nibble at the edges of our budget problems.

Third, it is highly unlikely he will make the Courts a priority. Romney failed to appoint conservatives to the Courts when he was in Massachusetts and never picked a fight on judges as Christie has in an almost as Democratic state.

Fourth, for those concerned about immigration one can expect the “Chambers of Commerce” view on immigration to prevail. That means no enforcement and I would not be surprised if the pace of deportations we have had under President Obama, slackened.

Fifth, Romney will be tagged a conservative without actually doing anything for the conservative agenda. Like Pataki and Giuliani, when he left office the Republican Party was weaker than he found it. Conservatives will face all of his failures being laid at their door and all successes being ascribed to his “pragmatism” (doing what his opponents want).

I suspect David and I disagree on whether all of these items are a bug or a feature of the programming of the Romneybot 4000-03. But as voters we must be prepared to live with them. One critique of Romney I do not buy is that he will double cross social conservatives (except on Judges). He has too many left-wing actions on abortion and the like to ever go back. I have no idea whether he was pandering to liberals for his positions when he ran in Massachusetts or if he is pandering to conservatives now but politically it does not matter-his troth is plighted.

I am going to vote for whoever the Republican nominee is. But it strikes me that Romney has been running for President for years. He is basically the acceptable candidate for those running out of time and choices that truly excite them. For all his good looks, he is the Sam the Butcher of Presidential Candidates.