Romney's Conservative Problem

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
by Patrick Dorinson

Poor old Mitt Romney. He just can’t figure out why conservatives just don’t like him.

Every political pundit and soothsayer has picked over his entrails to see if they can divine the answer, but none have really put their finger on the real problem.

So as long as everyone else is weighing in allow me to offer my two cents.

His problem is a simple one.

Mitt Romney is not a conservative of conviction. Conservatism doesn’t run through his veins.

If you have to explain to a meeting of conservatives why you are a conservative and a “severely” one at that you ain’t a conservative.

Rick Santorum is a conservative of conviction as is Sarah Palin. And even Ron Paul is one albeit with libertarian leanings.

 Whether you agree or disagree with what they have to say, it comes from the heart and personal life experience. With Romney it comes from talking points, focus groups and poll tested messages. He seems inauthentic and eager to please and doesn't challenge his audiences to join him in the struggle. His message seems to be "Vote for me and I will take care of things".

At a time when conservatives want a bare-knuckled brawler to lead them and stand up to Obama and his gang of Chicago toughs, he comes across as someone who wants to fight with boxing gloves in the ring using the Marquess of Queensbury rules.

So if he is not a conservative of conviction what kind of a conservative is he?

Romney is a conservative of convenience. He tells conservatives what he and his consultants think they want to hear. He knows he needs a riled up conservative base to help him beat Obama should he get the nomination, so he is “conveniently” conservative not “severely” conservative. Conservatives fear that once he wins he will return to his moderate comfort zone and not defend conservative ideals.

And his ideas are not really that conservative to begin with.

One only has to look at his economic plan on his website. It has 59 points and the summary alone is 87 pages. In it in he identifies problems, gives charts and graphs to further illustrate the problem and then offers a solution. It offers bromides not boldness.

It is not a campaign document. It is a business plan that he is offering to a struggling nation much like something he would have put together in a Power Point presentation while he was at Bain to help a struggling company.

Romney is also not an entrepreneur or inventor who had a vision and made it a reality like Steve Jobs. He is salesman. But salesmen sell other people’s products while entrepreneurs and inventors sell their own. And you can always tell the difference.

I have no doubt that Romney loves America and would be better than four more years of Barack Obama.

But how much better?

America desperately needs a political entrepreneur and inventor pushing new ways of doing things and willing to take the bold steps to institute the drastic changes we need. Unfortunately, Romney does not fit that profile.

At the CPAC Conference, Newt Gingrich said the mission of his campaign was to “change Washington not accommodate it”. While he did not say this about Romney directly it is clear who his target was.

I believe that is the genuine fear of many conservatives of conviction. That Mitt Romney the conservative of convenience will merely accommodate the Washington establishment and slow the pace of America’s slide toward the precipice, not change the nation’s course.

Winston Churchill once said, “People who are not prepared to do unpopular things and defy the clamor of the multitude are not fit to be ministers in time of difficulty”.

In the coming years there will be many unpopular things that will need to be done and the multitude will certainly clamor.

That will require a conservative of conviction not one of convenience.