Challenge to Conservatives: Explain Romney’s Electability

Can He Win?

I’ve grown somewhat impatient with people who claim to be conservative telling me why Willard “Mitt” Romney is electable.  Frankly, I think some of them are being disingenuous, or worse, have deluded themselves, but I don’t think the facts support their claims in any case.  What seems to be the argument is that Romney can capture moderates and independents in the general election.  It may be pointless to argue the matter, but the reasons offered for this are his business record and the fact that he governed a very blue state.  Effectively, what I’m being told is that because he’s one part Dukakis and one part Rockefeller, he can defeat Barack Obama.  I dispute this claim, because I know that moderates and independents are not so much ideological in their voting as they are risk-averse, and the one characteristic of a candidate against which they react with the greatest vigor is flip-flopping, or inconsistency.  If they’re offered two choices that are nearly the same in ideological terms, they will tend to choose the one who has remained most consistent.  It’s for this reason that Mitt Romney will not defeat Barack Obama.

Whatever else you may think about Obama, he has been ideologically consistent throughout most of his presidency.  Mitt Romney, by contrast, has flipped and flopped and moved all over the place on a host of issues. He’s changed his position on so many issues that it’s now difficult to catalog, but one of his biggest problems is an issue on which he has not directly flip-flopped, but on which the inconsistency shines through most glaringly of all.  The matter of Obama-care is a big issue for the electorate, since more than 60% of Americans still oppose it.  The problem is, Romney can’t use it.  He enacted a program that has been called “the model for Obama-care” while governor of Massachusetts.  Independents and moderates may not be strictly ideological, but they know an inconsistency as glaring as that when they see it.

On the one hand, Romney promises to issue a waiver to any state that wants one, but what did he do to his own home-state of Massachusetts?  Did anybody there get waivers?  No, that program is now bankrupting the state, and you can imagine that this too will come back to haunt him.  More, there is no known provision in Obama-care that actually permits waivers, and while Obama has been issuing some waivers, it’s clear that if he should leave office, there would be immediate legal challenges to such waivers.  He has also admitted that he would effectively reshape Obama-care, but not seek to repeal it, though it depends on the day of the week how he’ll answer. The best I can gather is that if Congress sends him a repeal bill, he might sign it, but that’s a long way from a done deal.

It is for this reason that Romney will be neutered on the matter of Obama-care, and as you saw in 2010, that’s still a hot issue with voters.  To surrender an issue of this type, where so much energy is on your side, and so thoroughly identified with your opponent is to yield the election if it’s anywhere near close.  Independents and moderates will note that Romney’s own plan wasn’t far from Obama’s, and that will be the end of Mitt Romney in 2012.

We’ve been over most of this ground many times, and rather than further pound it into the ground, I’d like to know from conservatives how you think Romney will walk back this inconsistency.  I’d like to read your responses in terms of how he can win a campaign in which he will be forced to yield one of Republicans’ strongest issues against Obama.  I’m not trying to put you on the spot, but I am interested to know.  Remember, it’s all well and good to tell me he can capture the nomination, and he might well do so, but it’s another thing to argue that he’ll be able to draw a clear distinction between himself and Barack Obama.  I don’t believe he can do so in a positive sense, and that the only distinctions voters will notice is that he is another rich guy who can’t relate to voters.

At this point, you shouldn’t be imagining how he will side-step his inconsistencies, because he can’t, but instead explain to me how he’ll overcome the campaign Obama will put up.  It will consist of class envy, that works on independents and moderates, and it will be pointing out his flip-flops, all of them, that works on independents and moderates.  It will be the revelations about which you do not yet know concerning Mr. Romney’s tax returns that he still refuses to release.  It will be other issues dealing with Romney’s financial backing, and it will be every manner of thing I can scarcely imagine.  On McLaughlin Group this week, Eleanor Clift hinted at what is coming, and you can bet it will get worse from there.  I will bet you that there will be a commercial done from the point of view of a dog, being loaded into a pet carrier on roof-top, forced to endure the wind and rain and violence of a ride atop the car, with the narrator saying: “If Mitt will treat his own family dog this way, how will he treat you?”  This by itself will be good for five points in the polls. I note this because my own bride said of him when this story crossed the wire: “Cold-hearted ba$$(@!#)”

So again, my question to you is simplicity itself: Can you explain to me what it is that Mitt Romney offers that recommends him to independents and moderates as better than Barack Obama?  If you can’t answer me, how will you answer them?  How will Romney?  If you nominate him, that’s fine, but I don’t think most of you want to do so. I think most of you are like me, looking around for better options still.  The problem is that if Romney is our nominee, we will have difficulty making the case even to the Republican base and Tea Party to energize and unite behind him, and many will simply stay home.  He will never bring a single Ron Paul supporter along, as far as I can discern, although there are those who argue none of these can do that.  What I am asking you is for an explanation as to how his supposed electability translates into victory in November 2012, and the problem is that I don’t think you can, unless Obama completely implodes, which he won’t.  Make your case for Romney independent of any any assumptions about events that you think might help him.  Don’t assume 8.5% unemployment, but assume 7.5% and declining.  Don’t assume all of the factors you’ve been told to consider.  Stack them up side-by-side and tell me how Romney differentiates himself from Obama to the degree that risk-averse independents and moderates who voted for Obama last time now cross over. Tell me  how Romney motivates the GOP base better than John McCain, who would have lost by twice the margin if not for Sarah Palin.  Tell me, because I can’t figure it out.  I’m doing the math, and it looks pretty abysmal.

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9 Responses to Challenge to Conservatives: Explain Romney’s Electability

  1. FLPatriot says:

    As a supporter of Ron Paul I can tell you in four words why I would vote for Mitt Romney in November:

    He Is Not Obama.

    It's that simple. Neither party will allow a true conservative get the nomination to the president, they barely allow it for Congress. So we have to choose between Obama or the Republican this November and I will grit my teeth and cast my vote for the Republican.

    I only hope that if the Republican is elected that when he continues the same failing policies that a real American third party rises and takes congressional seats in 2014 and then runs for president in 2016.

    Voting for a third party this year is a waste of time and will only lead to a 2nd term of Obama. We need a third party to take congressional seats before it can be taken seriously in the Presidential race.

    Lastly, I have come to the conclusion that the Republican party only talks conservative to get our votes. Very few, if any, of them actual vote or administer conservatively. This primary season has destroyed any hope I had that the GOP would nominate a conservative.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your response. Keep up the good work.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Thanks for writing. You're unusual among the Paul supporters I've run into, inasmuch as you are willing to support anybody but Ron Paul(although I have seen a number who would have supported Sarah Palin.)

      Your assessment of the Republican party is correct, sadly.

      • Dave says:

        I agree with FL Patriot for the most part. I am still hopefull that Ron Paul has a chance at the presidency. However, I am not willing to hand the reins back to Obama. Mitt may be "Obama lite," but even slowing the pace at which we are headed for disaster is better than moving at breakneck speed.

        If, by chance, RP makes it to the white house, he can do a lot to change what the government is doing (veto power, rescinding executive orders, etc.) he will need congressional approval to get the rest done. We need to make sure we pay attention to congressional races this time around to build on what we started in 2010.

  2. DJLAW says:

    I agree with you that it's not at all clear that Romney is the most electable choice. I think people misread the great "middle" in America. My sense is independents are about 1/3 moderate and about 2/3 blue collar conservatives (Reagan Democrats). If they truly understood what the Democrat party in 2012 stood for, they would be Republicans, but Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot with this group. Romney is not the kind of guy that will appeal to them. The Republican establishment was horrified that we'd nominate Reagan in 1980.

  3. Doc Spad says:

    I think you are being a bit short sighted.
    Th fact of the matter is that most Americans are not ideological.
    They reject the hateful rhetoric from the right on topics of abortion, immigration, gay rights, etc. They are just as averse to a rabid left that calls for big government that takes care of everybody from cradle to grave. The hypocracy of many on the extreme right is that they seem to see no problem in using "big" government to further their agenda. Most of us in the "middle" merely want to see our jobs restored, our pensions growing, and our taxes reasonable. In other words, the social issues do not move us as they do the extremes of either party, where the social issues are central.
    Obama won his presidency by pretending to be moderate, then once elected, stood back, showed no leadership, and let the democratic machine do it's work. Pelosi had his testicles in her top desk drawer. She laid out the agenda and created the legislation and he just went along. The average American knows this fact.
    What the American people want of a president is someone that can work the other side and bring them to the table a bit more than halfway. They want a candidate that talks of "working together", and no matter how disabused the American people are of the contentious nature of legislative bodies, they want a candidate that at least talks of compromise and "working together". Romney has shown his ability to compromise and create consensus by working as a governor with a strongly democratic majority in the Massachusetts state assembly. He does bring an understanding of business, no matter how fervently his opponents try to paint him as a scrooge.
    If we just look at our Republican roots, back to our first presidential nominee, Lincoln, we can see the value of nominating someone that at least appears to be less fervent in his views. Seward was the leader of the party, the man that brought the many anti-slavery interests together to form the Republican Party in the first place. The leaders of the party knew , without the benefit of polls, that Seward could easily win the nomination, but would never win the general election. Lincoln, who had mildly expressed his anti-slavery colors, was electable. We need a dose of pragmatism as Republicans. We need the right of our party to not be spoiled sports and lose the election for all of us because they are incapable of electing someone from the extreme right of the party.
    Getting a piece of the pie is far better than getting no pie at all.
    Again, the independents and the moderate members of the Republican Party know this already….it's the right wing of the party that seems to be blinded by ideology and can't seem to see the reality of the situation.
    Electing a republican Senate and a republican president are the main objectives that must be accomplished, if we are ever to reverse a democratic agenda that is destroying this country. It IS the party…The Tea Party already has great influence in the House….we need a Republican Senate, where their influence will dovetail into a strongly conservative voice. Congress will make way more progress against a Republican President, regardless of his "moderate" views, than they will ever get against Obama. My advice to my fellow Republicans…get real!!!

    • birdleyspike says:

      Doc,I don't think I want a piece of your pie,i'ts toxic.I concider myself as an Independent brcause I do not trust either party.There is not a nickle's worth of difference between them.

  4. gengm7 says:

    You may already know this, you can go to Clear channel communications inc. was taken private by Bain capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leverage buyout in 2008 Clear channel is the largest owner of full power AM , FM and short wave, there you will realize why Fox and Limbaugh are in for Romney, Bain also has put in millions to support Romney in his bid for President, If we can win over the money that is in this to purchase the Presidency we will win our rights as Americans, you should know you are being lead astray by the media and if you are for Romney it is because you are being lead that way

  5. juneau says:

    I think 'middle America,' and independents are just about sick of settling for anything, and they will not vote for Romney if they think they are electing another 'politician.' They will opt out and stay home. That will lead to Obama's re-election. In my humble opinion, if the Republican party does not nominate someone who can also win the independents, we should just prepare for another 4 years of destruction. We may or may not even have an actual Constitution in 2016.

  6. PalinSupporter2012 says:

    In the debate, Romney is being smug and saying he will wait until April to consider releasing his taxes. He is wanting to wrap up the nomination before he releases info. He is wanting to outlast and outspend the others before he might release his info.