Mitt Romney is a Paper Republican. We don't know where he stands on anything because the Republican Party no longer knows where it stands on anything. That's why the Republican race for the nomination has been so schizophrenic. Rick Perry was unacceptable because of the DREAM Act, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his support for comprehensive immigration reform. Newt Gingrich was unacceptable because of his economic populism, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his repeated support for government bailouts. Rick Santorum was unacceptable because of his big-spending ways, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his implementation of Romneycare in Massachusetts.
The problem isn't Romney. The problem is the Republican Party.
Now this isn't a call for a third party. Third parties are doomed to failure; the system is geared toward a two-party system. But what the Republican Party does need is a housecleaning. Call it a purge, if you must. But do it.
That's what the Democrats did after their shocking defeat in 2004. John Kerry was a flip-flopper, a wishy-washy liberal who made liberals squeamish. So they responded by moving to the left, bringing in Nancy Pelosi to run the House and the anti-Kerry, Howard Dean, to run the Democratic National Committee. The result was a Democratic victory in 2006 in the House, and the victory of the most far-left candidate in American history, Barack Obama, in 2008.
Most Republicans protest that this isn't the right time for a purge. They hope that opposition to Obama will unite Republicans around a Paper Republican. The problem with this logic is that it always justifies a Paper Republican candidate, because the Democrats will invariably run somebody worse. And Paper Republicans don't help matters. The Republican Party has, for the last half-century, consolidated liberal gains and trimmed around the edges. The result has been an unstoppable juggernaut of government growth and the loss of traditional American freedoms. The Paper Republican experiment has been a dramatic failure for conservatives.
We are now at a crisis point. More Democratic rule is the highway to hell; more Paper Republican rule is the slow road to the same destination. It's time for the Republican Party to present a true conservative alternative. Anything else is suicide by inches.