Mitt’s Other Conservative Problem

by Sean Hackbarth

The last thing I want to do is get into an analysis of a debate performance. But Daniel Casse claims Mitt Romney “blew it” last night. Romney did defend himself well from the rude sneering of Sen. McCain. McCain appeared to be a sore winner after his Florida victory and looked small and vindictive. However, Romney didn’t launch salvo after salvo needed to combat McCain’s “inevitability.” Casse writes,

Romney should have been on attack mode from the first moment, stirring up every conservative trepidation about McCain, stressing his unreliability as a consistent voice for the cause. “We don’t need a maverick, Senator, we need a steadfast, principled and predictable conservative leader,” was the line I was waiting for. Instead, Romney dove head-first into McCain’s alleged smear about who supported the surge — a minor kerfuffle given all the other heat McCain has taken these last few months.

Why didn’t Mitt do better? It’s because he’s still a recent convert to conservatism. It’s only been a few years since he has evolved from liberal Northeastern Republican to self-appointed Reagan standard bearer. It takes years of consuming conservative books, magazines, and weblogs to develop the intellectual thinking processes needed to launch into a full-throated defense of conservatism. Romney’s thinking comes from his business experience. That’s good, but it’s not enough when engaging in ideological debate. An interesting question would be to ask him what his favorite conservative book is.

Even if his conservative conversion is genuine Romney still hasn’t had the time to develop that core, that conservative instinct. He may think and believe conservatism is the right set of ideas, but one must soaked in it to get to the point of defending it in a Presidential campaign. Mitt’s not there yet.

I’ll say it again: Romney would have been better off running in 2012 (assuming no Republican wins this year). Another four years would have taken away much of the suspicion of his conservative bonifides. In addition he would have four more years to internalize conservative ideas in order to better employ them as rhetorical devices.

“The Man Who Blew It” [via Michelle Malkin]

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9 Responses to “Mitt’s Other Conservative Problem”


“It’s because he’s still a recent convert to conservatism.”

Hint: He’s not. Well, he’s as much a convert to conservatism as John Edwards is to the war against poverty.

Fred was real. Mitt is a fraud, an illusion generated by a pretty face speaking all the pretty words conservatives want to hear.

Sean, remember this, if you remember nothing else about Romney:

“I have indicated that as governor, I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice, and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that” May, 2005

Look past his words. Remember his actions; or lack thereof.

This is a man who compromised his beliefs and his church’s beliefs when politically challened. Conservative? Hardly.


Chancellor, a valid point which prevents me from endorsing him. Call me naive, but I want to think his conversion is legit. That’s why I think he would have been better off running in 2012 or later. He possesses leadership abilities, it’s trust in him that’s lacking.


Fair enough, but there’s still no contest between doubts over Mitt and the fact that we KNOW from years of experience (and recent developments) that we can’t trust McCain.

How can the guy who just talked about “punishing” some “greedy people on Wall Street” possibly be considered a legitimate conservative standard-bearer?


Calvin – if you only have doubts about Romney, you’re not looking at his record. This is what absolutely baffles me about conservatives right now. We don’t believe Edwards conversion…because we know by his record that his walk doesn’t match the talk. We know HRCs a liberal, no matter how much she wants to paint herself as a centrist, because we know her record. Romney’s record sits in front of every conservative, and for the most part, they’re simply ignoring it. His record indicates a guy who’s a flaming liberal on abortion, a moderate at best on taxes, and strongly pro-illegal immigrant. Not to mention anti-gun, pro-gun legislation.

If you believe in deeds and not words, McCain’s overall voting record is more conservative than Romney’s. In addition, McCain, for all his flaws, is at least campaigning on something close to his record. You can choose to believe Romney’s “Conversion on the road to Washington”, but I’ll be darned if I’ll risk a David Souter in the White House.


Call me naive, but I want to think his conversion is legit.

Dear Sean,

You’re naive.



RE: “It’s because he’s still a recent convert to conservatism.”

If this bothers you so much then you throw in with the candidate who has a 30-year track record of being conservative even when it is not cool. Three decades is a long time to internalize the virtue of small govenment, low taxes, armed citizens, secure borders which is why Ron Paul can make the most of the 5 minutes Fox News deigns to give him in an hour debate.

Come on, Sean, admit it. You want to vote for the actual conservative candidate runing for the GOP nomination. You know the one with more money than Romney and still raking it in at $6 million a quarter.

Conservatives who love liberty and the Constitution should vote for conservative candidates who love liberty and the Constitution.


John, I want to vote for a candidate who understands that U.S. troops overseas doesn’t mean the we deserver terrorist attacks. I want a President who’s willing to attack and destroy our nation’s enemies. Paul has demonstrated he won’t do that.

Then there’s the lack of personal responsibility over his news letters. I believe he knows who wrote them, but won’t say it. That’s a shameful lack of leadership.


But continual blowback and honor killings of the troops in order to save face is a better foreign policy? That is twisted.

Iraq had no WMD. Saudis attacked us on 9/11/2001. But we attacked Iraq even though Osama bin Ladin issued a call to kill the apostate Saddam Husein in his 1998 fatwa. The Niger letter was a fake. At the time one piddling Congressman from Texas was alone on the floor of Congress stating attacking Iraq wa not only unconstitutional but a bad idea. He predicited the invasion of a foriegn country would not be a cakewalk but a quagmire which would chew up our troops to no discernable good.

I would like a President who can ACCURATELY predict the consequences of his actions. Ron Paul has a demonstrable capability to do just that. A clear thinking President would make the country SAFER from attack. Switzerland never seems to suffer from foreign policy blow back. Why is that?

And, yes, Ron Paul should out the new letter author as he did when he ran for congress in the early ’90’s. The current audience in national. The current answer has to be national.


[...] Mitt Romney. He didn’t win Missouri, he didn’t win Georgia, he didn’t win California. Romney hasn’t won a primary in a state he didn’t consider a present or past home. It’s evident he doesn’t have a foothold among Southern conservatives. Even if he would end up winning the GOP nomination he would have a hard time winning in the South, an area Republicans have to win to have a chance at keeping the White House. I doubt that a month of talk radio hosts praising Romney would have helped Mitt. Not enough voters have accepted Romney’s conservative conversion. Part of that comes from him transforming so soon before running for President, and my theory that he lacks the immersion in conservatism needed to adequately defend it. [...]

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