Mitt Romney pro and con

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National Review endorses Romney by process of elimination.

Many conservatives are finding it difficult to pick a presidential candidate. Each of the men running for the Republican nomination has strengths, and none has everything -- all the traits, all the positions -- we are looking for. Equally conservative analysts can reach, and have reached, different judgments in this matter. There are fine conservatives supporting each of these Republicans.

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization -- none of the major candidates has -- he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.

In their view: Giuliani, Huckabee not consistently conservative, McCain not as conservative as Romney, Thompson not a good campaigner.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan White House political director, is worried by Romney's focus on process and pragmatism over principle:

Mr. Barnes says Mr. Romney's "approach to government is not ideological." A Romney adviser is quoted as saying of his candidate: "He's super-pragmatic. He's an eclectic conservative." And Mr. Romney himself says flatly that as president he would "insist on gathering data . . . and analyze the data looking for trends."


Make no mistake. If the leading candidates in the GOP presidential race are to be litmus-tested as conservatives, all would cause conservatives sleepless nights. If the Reagan coalition was of economic and social conservatives combined with national security hawks, each group has something to be disturbed about with this batch of front-runners....

Yet the Romney approach as described not only by Mr. Barnes but more importantly by Mr. Romney himself is an approach that goes far beyond any particular issue. It is, as Mr. Romney himself freely admits, all about process. Whatever the issue--economic, social or national security--Mr. Romney would gather the data, look for a trend and thus "you make better decisions."

This should cause conservatives to break out in cold sweats....

Mitt Romney is clearly one decent guy, one very, very accomplished human being. He has announced where he stands on the issues of the day, putting himself head and shoulders above a Clinton, Obama or Edwards. But as conservatives head into caucus and primary season, they should not be hesitant to question what appears to be his addiction to process for the sake of process.

Go back to Fred Barnes's Romney quote, the one in which Mr. Romney says he looks for a "new alternative that everybody agrees is the right way to go." What Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan shared was a core belief that in fact it was a better thing for some principles to triumph over others. "Everybody" did not agree with Lincoln that freedom was better than slavery, that keeping the Union together was better than not, or with Reagan that the free market and tax cuts philosophy was a better philosophy than one of big government and tax increases. But they went ahead anyway.

Is there a place for data? Is there value in process? Sure.

But base an entire presidency on the importance of data and process over principle? Is this what Mitt Romney would do? Is this where a Romney presidency would lead? If so, conservatives have been here before.

It is not a good place to be.

During Romney's term as Governor of Massachusetts, the equivalent of the state supreme court declared that the Massachusetts ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Columnist Sandy Rios said Romney's hands were not tied. Romney had a choice, and he chose wrongly, issuing executive orders to legalize gay marriage:

Exactly one year ago I signed a letter of challenge to Mitt Romney along with Paul Weyrich and 42 other pro-family leaders asking the governor to use the time he had left in office to "reverse the damage that has been done to the sacred institution of marriage." We urged him to "declare immediately that homosexual 'marriage' licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law."

Why did we make such a difficult and uncomfortable request? After all, Governor Romney had done everything he could to stop homosexual marriage, hadn't he? And as he explained to the people of Massachusetts and to the country, he had "no choice" but to "execute the law." He had no choice when he ordered marriage licenses changed from "husband and wife" to "party A and party B"... no choice when he ordered city officials to immediately begin performing same-sex marriages ... no choice when he threatened them with losing their jobs if they didn't comply ... no choice but to be the very instrument, the expeditor, the person responsible for ushering in same-sex marriage. ...

Except, of course, if you consider that the court order was directed at the legislative and not the executive branch. The Massachusetts Constitution is clear that all decisions regarding marriage shall be governed by statutory law and not by courts. It was an illegal order by a rogue court to a weak legislature advanced by a governor who had no choice--except if he had considered following the dictates of conscience and the Constitution he had sworn to uphold.

We were given an insight into that seemingly premeditated "no choice" in a New York Times article dated September 8, 2007. It reported that, during a 2002 meeting in a gay bar with Log Cabin Republicans, Romney "promised to obey the courts' ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue"--a promise he most definitely kept, despite head fakes to gullible conservatives, pressing them to think he was crusading to protect marriage, children and defend the constitution.

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David V Author Profile Page said:

So, is this your endorsement of Romney?

I think the GOP field has some good candidates this time.
Romney and Huckabee(notice I'm not brain-dead on my spelling this time) best reflect my values.

I'm not comfortable about how Romney can be a life-long man of faith and only recently a man committed to a baby's right to life.

A politician who will embrace faith for votes; will also abandon faith for votes.

Dan Paden said:

In all honesty, I am just ticked at our choices this go-round. I don't like any of the candidates unreservedly, and find myself thinking that my biggest reason for supporting any of them in the general election will be that at least they aren't as bad as the Democratic nominee.

webworm Author Profile Page said:

.....hmmm...given the comments made by various evangelicals here and elsewhere on the 'net, I begin to wonder about the location of their sense of values. There is at least a hint of bigotry here. People of faith must always know that there are a lot of different ways to Believe, and their particular way is not necessarily the One True Way.

My endorsement of Romney? Heck, no. I'm supporting Fred Thompson, although I also like Duncan Hunter.

Michelle Author Profile Page said:

Romney lost me forever when he said he doesn't lose sleep at night over the taxes the rich are paying. You know what? I want to be one of those evil rich people someday and I don't want all my money going to this bloated, unconstitutional federal government. I'm glad that Mitt Romney thinks it's okay to punish success. Maybe when he gets his own planet when he dies, he can make that the law of that world.

B. Blackwell said:


I'm so glad to hear you say that you are supporting Fred Thompson. He's been my guy since the rumblings began that he might get in the race. Now we just need to get Gwen and Chris to get on board. They are falling into the same trap that all the other conventional media types are falling into. The "Fred's campaign is in shambles" thing. I've done some calling into the early primary states for Fred along with many others that are Friends of Fred and our overwhelming conclusion is that most of the voters in the early states are still undecided. That's why the poll numbers are just nuts right now, and the MSM types are all spouting nothing but poll numbers as a reference to how well a campaign is being conducted.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm glad to see that you are on board the Fred 08 train.

I'm sick of hearing all the conservative talking heads whining about "not enough substance" in the political campaigns today. And, when the one guy with nothing but substance gets in the game, all they do is whine about his lack of style.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 13, 2007 8:15 AM.

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