How Romney Finally Satisfied Conservatives: Winning

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Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks during a victory rally in St Petersburg, Florida on October 5, 2012.

For two presidential campaigns, Mitt Romney has been battered by right-leaning commentators for his old crimes against conservatism. When he lurched to the right, they snickered; when he tacked to the middle, they said it was only a matter of time. First they called him a phony. Then, when Barack Obama opened a lead in the presidential race, they called him incompetent. Now, after Romney pummeled President Obama in their first debate, they are suddenly swooning. After six long years, Romney hushed his chorus of doubters with 90 good minutes. 

Take, for example, Peggy Noonan, a respected center-right columnist and former Reagan speechwriter. Noonan has been tough on Romney throughout the campaign, but two weeks ago she’d finally had it, anointing his candidacy “incompetent” and “a rolling calamity.” After Denver, she was singing hosannas to the “good and competent Mr. Romney,” a “smart adult [who] knew things both about America and about public policy.” Not a particularly high bar, but certainly a 180 from her previous columns.

How about RedState’s Erick Erickson, a card-carrying member of the “anybody but Romney” caucus (and contributor to TIME’s corporate cousin, CNN)? Erickson once argued Romney’s nomination would spell the death of conservatism and guarantee Obama’s re-election. Seriously: that was the headline. After Romney waxed Obama in Denver, Erickson wrote a post titled “Bam! Slam! Pow! Crash! Boom!”, which urged readers: “Mitt Romney showed he can do it. But the campaign needs your help now more than ever. Every penny helps.”

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The newfound conservative love affair with Mitt Romney is a tale of two CPACs. Back in February, when Romney was busy fending off Rick Santorum’s swipes from his right flank, Romney came to the big conservative confab in Washington to face his skeptics. He laid it on thick, describing himself as “severely conservative” and using the latter word approximately once per minute. The right had a chuckle at that; no true conservative would need to go to such lengths to convince the tribe he belonged.

The day after the debate, however, Romney returned to CPAC the conquering hero, making an impromptu appearance at a regional event in Denver. “He’d won their heads. Now he’s won their hearts,” gushed David Keene, the former head of the American Conservative Union.

Had these folks paid close attention during the debate, they might have noticed that Romney’s answers were not exactly “severely conservative.” Romney repeatedly said he didn’t intend to cut the tax burden for the wealthy, called regulation “essential,” praised aspects of Obama’s education policy and called the health-care plan he implemented in Massachusetts “a model for the nation, state by state.” One might expect conservatives to be discomfited by these relatively moderate stances. Instead, here’s USA Today on the fresh Romney fervor at Denver’s CPAC:

In the hours that followed Romney’s appearance here, an unusual sound could be heard inside the halls of the Crowne Plaza hotel: conservatives talking excitedly about Romney, retelling their favorite parts of the Wednesday night debate at Denver University.

Dr. Jill Vecchio, 53, a radiologist from Denver, who described herself as a very active Republican, she has had her doubts about Romney due to the health care law that he championed as the governor of Massachusetts. “I was a little lukewarm for a while and last night absolutely solidified my enthusiasm,” she said.

Cut these flip-floppers a little bit of slack. What does it matter if Mitt Romney is going to kill the quest for conservative purity? He has a shot at knocking off Obama, and that is this Republican Party’s paramount goal.

24 comments
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Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"One of Mitt Romney's main campaign promises is that he would reduce tax rates by 20% and make up the lost revenue by eliminating deductions. Now the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official, nonpartisan scorekeeper on tax policy has issued a report on the subject. If Romney were to eliminate deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, AND state and local taxes, the amount of revenue recovered from them would allow the rates to be reduced ONLY 4%, NOT 20%, from the rates that will be in effect next year if Congress does nothing. This would mean a top rate of 38% (vs. 35% now and 39.6% under Bill Clinton)."

Lar5
Lar5

Which Mitt is the liar? The new pretend moderate Mitt or the extreme right wing Mitt. Perhaps maybe both. 

It will make no difference because if elected he will be collared by the leash held by the zealot's in control of the GOP.

ahandout
ahandout

 It's very, very funny to read the comments from Obama supporters here.  Who do you think Barry is?  He's the phony caricature that every liberal wet themselves over in 2008.  And, before that he was the slimy Chicago politician.

Obama won his electoral

victories through technicalities, getting opponents thrown out or forced

to withdraw for one reason or another.

http://savingtherepublic.com/b...

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

If the eight years of slavish "conservative" support of George W. Bush, as he committed every "big government" sin they falsely and hysterically accused of Bill Clinton, didn't convince you that all Republicans care about is winning, nothing should.

SCMcCarthy
SCMcCarthy

8 years of Bush created about the same amount of debt as 4 years of Obama. If thats any indicator of how awful Obama has been, that he even out-debted Bush, We are screwed if he gets elected again. 

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"8 years of Bush created about the same amount of debt as 4 years of Obama."

Riiiight. Obama "created" all that debt...from Bush's unpaid-for tax cuts, Bush's unpaid-for wars, Bush's unpaid-for Medicare drug entitlement, Bush's recession...

http://www.offthechartsblog.or...

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Oh, I'm not so sure about that. Come back on November 7 and we'll talk again.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Shorter GOP: "Principles, schminciples, as long as he wins..."

sacredh
sacredh

Romney got a really good bounce out of the debate. He exceeded anyone's expectations. He probably had the best debate he's ever had in his political life. It remains to be seen whether he can replicate it.

Tommy3134
Tommy3134

Oh Romney won the debate hands down and Obama was a complete no show. If OB loses the next debate, even I will not vote for the him and I doubt hist followers on the Steve Harvey show will do so  as well!!!

Leann Min
Leann Min

 yea wasn't Romney debating an empty chair

SCMcCarthy
SCMcCarthy

Awesome spelling and punctuation you Communist.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

I'm reminded of what was once said about the CIA... that they'd make a pact with Satan himself if it advanced US interests.

Same with Romney... if he has a chance to beat that "usurper" in the White House (and mentions "God" at least once in every speech), the GOP wouldn't care if he came out with pointed ears, a red cape, and forked tail. Bald-faced lies for what they see as a "just" cause are just the cost of doing business.

This is about "winning"... nothing else matters. Not morality. Not ethical considerations. Winning. And I'm at a loss as to how this fits in with any version of Christianity I've ever heard about.

jmac
jmac

Winning at any cost.  To  attempt to say the military can vote early in Ohio - but no one else as they try to shorten days and hours.   Closing voting areas in blue sections?   Why not let bankers and the 1% in on that early voting as they try to  deny everyone else?   The sad thing is Romney will have the votes that were given to Bush on exact same bills - the same votes that were denied Obama so he wouldn't be considered a success.  As unAmerican as you can get; a horrid precedent should they win.

outsider2011
outsider2011

Lets see how things look after the next few debates. Obama was not good. But he might be better; Biden will be better. And Obama still leads.

And the conservatives who are swooning now will jump all over Romney when he does lose.

I think Mitt should enjoy this; because this is as good as it's likely to get for him. 

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"the conservatives who are swooning now will jump all over Romney when he does lose."  I agree.

palinhb
palinhb

delusional virgin libtard

Obummer lost the election

outsider2011
outsider2011

cant refute the statement, so just hide behind name calling eh.