The Washington Post plays catch-up today with a front page piece on Romney’s wavering social views. Nothing that would be new to readers of this blog, but I wanted to make note of this:
Paul M. Weyrich, who is head of the Free Congress Foundation, said Romney should not underestimate the problem he may face as he prepares to launch his campaign.
“I think it’s very serious,” he said. “Our position is that, if a candidate can change his position sort of overnight, what would he do once he got in office? Would he do the same thing?”
To me, that gets to the biggest downside with Romney. He has a very limited political record, and all we know of it is that he’s always taken positions that were the most politically advantagous at the time. He ran two campaigns as a moderate Republican with liberal positions on social issues, and once he decided to run for president, he began to stake out conservative positions on those issues. Were he to get past the primaries and capture the White House, he would no longer be beholden to conservatives, but to the broader public. His record doesn’t inspire much confidence that he’d actually govern as a conservative if he’s no longer worried about the Republican primaries, especially given the type of pressure that is put on a president by polls, the media, political advisors, etc. This stretches beyond social views. Would he cut a deal with Democrats on Social Security that involved a payroll tax hike? Would he compromise with Democrats on a disasterous universalized health care bill in search of a legacy? Would he be convinced to negotiate with Iran and Syria? Conservatives can’t say with any confidence that he wouldn’t, and that’s a problem.
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