Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is out on the book trail with No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.
He will be appearing tonight on Sean Hannity’s show and Sunday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Governor Romney is obviously a contender for 2012 and well thought of, deservedly so.
Yet the recent uproar over brand-new Massachusetts’ Senator Scott Brown’s recent vote as one of a handful of GOPers to support a Harry Reid jobs bill reveals an interesting problem that could dog a Romney presidential bid.
Romney, of course, is like Brown a Massachusetts Republican. He took considerable flack during the 2008 primaries for switching positions on abortion and appearing to back away from Ronald Reagan when running against Ted Kennedy. As noted here, one of his “selling points” in 2008, as portrayed vividly by Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard, was that he would be America’s “CEO-in-Chief” if elected. As pointed out at the time, this is a troublesome image, as it seemingly applies the standard Republican liberal mantra of “problem solving” as opposed to conservative principle to America’s challenges.
Brown won his election precisely on this standard, which, all things considered from a Massachusetts standpoint, surely is representative.
Yet winning the GOP presidential nomination with a base brimming with Reagan conservatives creates an interesting problem for Romney, whom Brown has identified as a key original supporter and who was on the platform with his protégé on Brown’s election night.
The problem? Every time Scott Brown departs in some fashion from Reagan conservatism — which in reality is actually, as the late Jack Kemp once noted, “the classic prescription for economic growth” — the increasingly louder question will be: does Mitt Romney share Scott Brown’s view on that issue?
Brown voted for the $15 billion jobs bill. Would a President Romney have even proposed such a bill? Does he agree with Brown’s vote? Brown as a State Senator voted for RomneyCare when the then-governor was trying to reform health care. The results are now in and they trouble. Is this what a Romney administration would bring?
Is a question like this unfair? Not when one candidate for president is so visibly identified with a Senator from his home state and might seek to bring the world-view of that Senator to the Oval Office. Or, more accurately, the Senator might be viewed as bringing Romneyism to the U.S. Senate.
So will Mitt Romney be continually forced to account for his agreements and disagreements with Senator Brown? And if so, what will he say?
Stay tuned to Hannity and Fox News Sunday to see if the topic surfaces.