Despite the surging Herman Cain, the White House’s attempt to link his health care advisors to the much-maligned and constitutionally dubious Obamacare, and tepid support from the Tea Party, Mitt Romney and his backers are confident. And why shouldn’t they be? He appears to have the the D.C. GOP establishment – both movement conservatives and moderates – behind him, heretofore disengaged GOP donors are looking in his direction, and he is consistently polling well in most important primary states. What is more, the mainstream media is reporting that his nomination is almost inevitable, D.C. insiders have pronounced him sufficiently “vetted” and “reassuring,” and Rick Perry’s supporters have grown increasingly disconsolate after their candidate has fallen in the polls as quickly as he climbed them upon his entrance into the nomination race. All is well in Romneyland. Or is it?
The various GOP insiders – talking heads, Hill staffers, lobbyists and other Washingtonians with a myopic D.C. focus – who declare Romney “ready” for the nomination, and sufficiently investigated, are apparently ready to accept a candidate whose record remains largely unexamined and whose talking points and policy prescriptions conflict starkly with his gubernatorial record. Further, they overlook the fact that Romney’s record alienates him from some of the most crucial voting constituencies necessary to capture the nomination and the presidency. Despite his seemingly positive trajectory, Romney’s ascendancy to the nomination isn’t the ineluctable conclusion many assume.
First, his recent speeches, talking points, policy proposals and debate commentary notwithstanding, Romney’s record suggests that he is likely not a committed social conservative or small government conservative. It requires only five minutes on YouTube to find plenty of evidence of this: his support for abortion rights and gay marriage rights during his candidacy for the Massachusetts governorship; his enthusiastic support for Ted Kennedy; his embrace of the alarmist global warming-cum-climate change agenda; his lackluster support for the Bush tax cuts; his obtuseness on TARP, the stimulus and the debt ceiling debate; and the conspicuous elephant in the room, Romney-care.