John Bolton

John Bolton

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Conservatives Don't Trust "Severely Conservative" Romney

There are just too many moderate skeletons in his closet!

On February 28 Michigan holds it's primary. It was supposed to be a slam dunk for Romney who was born there and whose father was a popular governor. But all the recent polls show Rick Santorum leading by a wide margin. Romney's problem with the GOP base has not only not gone away but has gotten worse after his slash and burn campaign to defeat Newt Gingrich in Florida.

It didn't help when Romeny showed up at CPAC, the conservative meeting in Washington a week ago and said he was "severely conservative." Is that like severely disabled?

Ed Rollins, political guru of times past has a great column highlighting Romney's problem. The bottom line? Romney says he is a conservative now but his family roots and his record in Massachusetts don't match the rhetoric.

Mitt Romney used the word conservative and conservatism more than two dozen times, according to the Washington Post’s Dan Balz , in his speech last week at the CPAC convention. That rhetoric is quite different from ten years ago when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts.

He stated during that campaign that he was “not a partisan Republican" but rather a "moderate" with "progressive" views.”

In his CPAC speech he described his four years in office as: “I was a severely conservative governor of Massachusetts.” Whatever that means, many will argue that his most far reaching accomplishment, the implementation of “Romney care," betrays all conservative principles. President Obama has on many occasions stated this was the model for his ObamaCare.

He also stated in the CPAC speech, that he had learned his conservatism from his family. “My path to conservatism came from my family, my faith, and my life’s work. I was raised in a home shaped by and rooted in conservative values.”

The values and religious beliefs may have been conservative but the family politics certainly were not!

Mitt Romney’s father, George, was the three term moderate governor of Michigan. Like his son, George Romney was a successful business leader before entering politics.

After being elected Governor in 1962, he broke with conservative Republicans in the legislature and with Democratic support implemented, for the first time, income taxes on Michigan’s citizens and also gave collective bargaining rights to public employees.

He, along with Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Gov William Scranton of Pennsylvania, were the moderate leaders fighting to deny the “conservative icon” Senator Barry Goldwater the Republican nomination in 1964.

As a 17-year-old high school student, Mitt Romney went to the San Francisco convention. as an aide to his father. He watched the bitter proceedings where the Romney-Rockefeller-Scranton efforts were defeated by the conservative delegations supporting Goldwater. George Romney never endorsed or supported the Goldwater-Miller ticket.

Mitt Romney’s mother, Lenore, was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate running as a pro-choice Republican in 1970 (three years before Roe v. Wade decision) against liberal Democratic incumbent Phil Hart. Hart won the election with 67% of the vote.
Either for these reasons or others, Mitt Romney shied away from politics for decades and declined to register as a Republican until he shifted his voting status from independent to Republican in order to run against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts in 1994.

He proudly stated in that campaign that: “I was an independent during Reagan –Bush; I am not trying to return to Reagan –Bush.” He even declined in 1992 to choose between President George Bush and challenger Pat Buchanan in the Mass presidential primary instead voting for Senator Paul Tsongas in the Democratic contest.

A lot can change, including core convictions, over two decades, but Mr. Romney still has to convince conservatives that he is not a “moderate with progressive views” and he won’t waffle back if he wraps up the nomination.
A lot has been said about Romney's inability to connect with conservative voters. Some have suggested that the reason he appears so uncomfortable discussing conservative issues is because it's not second nature to him. It's forced in a way that comes across as insincere and phony.

I had my own personal opportunity to judge Romney's conservative sincerity for myself four years ago in a face to face meeting. I came to the same conclusion as others have and see no reason to change my opinion. If you want a conservative to beat Obama, vote for someone other than Romney!

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