Why is Mitt Romney Any Less Conservative Now Than He Was in 2008?

Bookmark and Share    In 2008, I supported Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.  I found him to be a strong conservative oriented leader with experience, vision, and all that we need in a President, including a record of success.  Romney has proven himself to know how to turn things around and while prudent, can at times be bold.  In addition to his economic expertise, I found him to be a managerial genius, who knows how to get the right people to do the right job, the right way, at the right time.  I still feel this way about Romney. 

And I was not alone in this opinion. 

In 2008, Mitt Romney won the endorsement of most of those in the conservative talk radio community, including Sean Hannity, William Bennett, Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt,Laura Ingraham, and even the king of conservative talk radio himself,  Rush Limbaugh.

On February 4th, of 2008 Rush told listeners of his program ; 

“I think the one candidate of the three still out there on our side that matter… in saying who more closely embodies all three legs of this conservative stool, you’d have to say that it’s Mitt Romney. There’s actually no choice in the matter.”

The second most listened to radio talk show host, Sean Hannity, had this exchange about Romney with a caller on January 31st, of 2008;

Hannity: I am voting for Romney.

Caller :…but you had [Guiliani] on the show all the time!

Hannity: I had him all the time, Romney all the time, Fred Thompson all the time, Huckabee all the time, we’ve even had Ron Paul on this program a number of times, we’ve had Alan Keyes whose running, we’ve had Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter on all the time …and having come to know and like all of these guys, I’m making a decision on issues. And if you ask me who the conservative, the most conservative in the race is, that most represents my values at this time, it is by far and away, Governor Romney!

On that same show, Hannity decalred;

”I’ll tell you right now, and I’ve not announced this, but I will be voting for Mitt Romney in this campaign. It’s the first time I’ve stated it publicly, I’ll state it now!”

The abrassive and less listened to conservative talking head Michael Savage told listeners of his May 4 th, 2007 broadcast;

”Romney on the other hand has movie star good looks, he’s the governor of a state, he made a fortune on his own, he has a history, and I believe Romney could easily be the next president of the United States, which is good news because he’s a, I think a very good candidate and a very good American. I’m very encouraged by this. I didn’t know Romney before the debate. He came across really well, and on my poll, now I didn’t vote, you voted– he’s the clear winner…”

He added;

”I’ll tell you, Romney is super articulate, very handsome, and he’s very articulate. More over he was very comfortable, the others were shaking, their hands were shaking. They got frightened. No, I’m sorry, we disagree. I think the new president has emerged, unless they smear him, which of course we’re going to see in a few months…”

On November 29th in 2007 Glenn Beck  told listeners;

”Do you know why I lean towards Mitt Romney? … I lean towards Mitt Romney because I watch his family. I know his family and I know the people around him. That’s why I lean towards him… the reason why I think we have to look at the man, … not just his record, but I need to look at the man because I really, truly believe we’re entering a period where things are going to happen faster and faster and the President has got to feel something in the core of his being.”

And then there is this from my two favorite conservative radio warriors, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham.

Mark Levin;

”Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. But McCain is the least perfect of the viable candidates. The only one left standing, the only one, after all these weeks of voting, who can honestly be said to share most, most of our conservative principles is Romney… If conservatives, people who care about the future of the Republican Party, don’t unite behind Romney at this stage, and I mean right now, and become vocal in their support for him, if they don’t coalesce around this one candidate, I’m talking about you folks who continue to vote for Huckabee knowing full well he can’t win, then you will get McCain as the republican nominee and you will likely get Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as president of the United States.”  – (Jan. 31, 2008)

Laura Ingraham;

In response to a guests remarks, Ingraham stated….. ”Alright I’m going to see your endorsement and raise you an announcement. February 12th is the big D.C. primary– I’m pulling the lever for Mitt Romney! No doubt about it. No hesitation.”

The there was this from Michael Medved on February 4th, 2007;

”It is a great day for increasing political clarity, why? Well, because lots of people have talked about the Christian conservatives, the religious conservatives, the values conservatives, and the difficulty that people have had in the social conservative movement coalescing around one candidate. It appears, increasingly, that, that sort of unity is occurring, and its in behalf of a candidate named Romney, and he is the former Governor of Massachusetts, … Matt Lewis at Town Hall, my colleague, says its official, Romney is now the social conservative alternative.”

Can you imagine that, Romney was “the social conservative alternative”?

I could go on with some more glowing praise from the likes of numerous other conservative airwaves hall of famers but you get the point, or at least you should.  Back in 2007 and 2008, more than a year after Romney finished accruing his political record in elected office as the Governor of Massachusetts, leading conservatives were praising Mitt as the conservative standard-bearer, the one to lead us, the man with all the conservative bona fides needed to lead the conservative cause as the Republican presidential nominee.   So much so that he was called “the social conservative alternative”.

Now the theme of 2012 is “who is the alternative to Mitt Romney”


What has Romney done between now and 2008 to make him any conservative today than he was yesterday?

It certainly can’t be anything he did as Governor, because all these conservatives endorsed him based in part, on that record which he had already achieved.

Then there is CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee.

Each year CPAC holds it’s February convention.  For three days every year, it has become to conservatives what Mecca is to Muslims.  And in 2007, 2008, and 2009, Mitt Romney was the winner of their famous presidential straw poll.

But now he is somehow too liberal for conservatives.

The bottom line is that it just doesn’t make any sense.

If anything, Romney has become more conservative since he ran in 2008 and there are no new positions that he has taken which could be considered to be to the left of any of the other candidates running against him.

Perhaps it is time for conservatives to stop listening to their own campaign rhetoric.  Perhaps it is time for those who oppose Mitt Romney, to state their case on based on something other than distortions that try to make Mitt look like a 60’s Greatful Deadheader, spinning in the mud of Woodstock. 

Romney has his faults.  They are the same ones he had in 2008 when conservatives coalesced around him to defeat John McCain in 2008. 

They failed to do that with McCain back then and now they are trying to find someone whom they can coalesce around to defeat Mitt Romney.  Now it is hard for me to argue the case for Mitt Romney in 2012, because I am supporting Newt Gingrich as my first choice for the nomination.  But at the same time, I am not going to pretend that Romney is an incompetent conservative.   An imperfect conservative, yes, but he is no liberal.  And had Newt Gingrich ran in 2008, I believe I would have supported him then as well as I do now.  But given the choice between the two in 2012, I favor Newt because not only is he a conservative, he has proven himself to be more of a conservative innovator than Mitt.  Newt is a person of ideas with an important anti-establishmentarian streak that I believe is quite necessary if we want to make the type of reforms that we need.  It is that area where I believe Mitt Romney is lacking, at least when compared to Newt.

But what I will not do is what conservatives like Ann Coulter have done.

I will not support my choice for the nomination by trashing Mitt Romney.

Ann Coulter warned that conservatives better be prepared to get behind Mitt Romney if we want to defeat Barack Obama in 2012.  However; she did so by trashing Newt Gingrich based on his personal life.  I on the other hand am urging that conservatives make the case for their first choice by building that person up, without tearing the others apart.    And I am also reminding them that Mitt Romney is the same man that he was when social conservatives coalesced around him in 2008 and picked him as their choice for President three years in a row at CPAC. 

Perhaps it is  not Mitt Romney who needs to come to grips with his past changes of mind.  I think it is those who supported Mitt in 2008, but now consider him too liberal to support in 2012, who have to come to grip.  And before they accuse Mitt Romney of flip-flopping, they need to take a good long look in the mirror.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: