My issue with the Romney campaign

Both here and at RedState, a number of people have asked why my issue is with the Romney campaign. I’ve done my best to avoid writing about it, but given a few posts at RedState this week, I decided it was time to have it out. For your enjoyment and edification, here’s what I posted at RedState:

“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” 1 Tim. 3:6 (NIV)

“The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.” Prov. 18:11 (NIV)

These are the two verses I’ve dwelled on for a while contemplating the Romney campaign. I’ve given a few people the impression that I dislike Mitt Romney. That could not be further from the truth. But, given repeated concerns, I figured I should tell you exactly how I feel.

In short, any position you can think of today held by Mitt Romney probably has a related sound bite of Mitt Romney saying exactly the opposite within the past five years. I am willing to suspend belief and believe that Mitt Romney’s conversion to conservatism was sincere and not politically expedient. He did, after all, run as a Republican in Massachusetts and he won (of course it was as a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, anti-Bush tax cut, indifferent to Reagan New England Republican).

Nonetheless, I have a hard time seeing why we should hand the reins over to a new convert to conservatism. He has not yet had time in the wilderness through good and bad to make sure he has necessary fidelity to our core beliefs. I have deep concerns that when it becomes politically expedient for him to do so, he will sell us all down the river. As Paul warned Timothy, new converts tend to think it is about them, not the message. They grow prideful and arrogant. They get sloppy. They forget or ignore the principles.

You may take issue with that, but in looking at Mitt Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts, I have seen no more than a handful of examples of him fighting the good fight on principle knowing he was going to lose. And if you don’t believe me, I would point out again that he did not exercise his veto of the $50.00 abortions. Short of Saul of Tarsus due to his unique conversion, I believe we should put no new convert in charge of any movement, be it religious, ideological, or political, until the convert has had time to prove he really believes the tenets. In two debates already, Mitt Romney has used tokens of class warfare that should make any conservative wince — once about tax cuts for the rich and once about social security benefit cuts for the rich to help the poor.

My other deep concern about Mitt Romney is not about him, but about his campaign. His campaign has largely operated on the idea that through their money they could wage war against anyone in the primary and anyone in the general election. That hasn’t worked out so well for him. The arrogance of fortune in that campaign gave way to a sense of invulnerability. That sense led to the achilles heel of the campaign — they could buy up all the air time, but they could not sell their candidate to the voters. He has a hard time connecting with the average person. I have no doubt that Mike Huckabee’s line about people wanting to vote for the person they work with, not the person who laid them off, was directed at Mitt Romney, Huckabee’s denials notwithstanding.

This fortress of wealth has made the Romney campaign one of the most predictable campaigns of all time. Every move seems choreographed through abundant polling and implemented with abundant cash. That captures the overwhelming point here. All of Mitt’s money and all of Mitt’s men have not yet been able to connect him to the voters at large, but they’ve spent a hell of a lot of money trying (I suspect they’ll succeed in Michigan).

Finally, I will not belabor this point, but Ben Domenech successfully mocked my last concern. This has absolutely nothing to do with Mitt Romney himself, but it goes to the core of his campaign. Some vocal supporters and sycophants of the Romney campaign have deluded themselves into thinking that if a voter does not like Mitt Romney, he must be anti-Mormon bigots. It is unfortunate, but it has happened. Certainly some people will not support Mitt Romney because they are anti-Mormon bigots. But the vast majority of people do not support him because (1) they do not trust him or (2) they trust someone else more. It is unfortunate that in a Republican campaign, we have stooped to liberal attack canards, e.g. if you don’t like affirmative action you must be a racist or if you don’t like MItt Romney you must be a bigot.

You feel free to disagree with me on these points. I don’t care. Many of you have asked about how I view the Romney campaign. Well now you know (and may wish you didn’t).

44 comments

  1. Harry says:

    You make good points. Though I love all our candidates, some of them do need additional time in the wilderness. McCain claims he’ll only serve one term, so maybe we’ll see familiar faces four years hence and we can re-visit their qualifications.

    And yeah, it seem this close to Super Tuesday, that McCain has it locked up. Seems to bother some folks having a strict litmus test, but McCain HAS been through the wilderness and I love him all the more for that.

  2. eburke says:

    Erick, I had that same verse come to mind last week pertaining to Romney and others who have come to the pro-life position only recently. I respect that he has come around but I will not want someone in leadership who is not committed to the truth or to principle. I think only time will show whether one is committed or whether it is a passing fancy.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    Gee…I didn’t know my innate sense of logic and commonsense (i.e., that I knew MONTHS ago that Romney was playing games on his “conservatism”) could be traced back to Bible verses I’ve never read.

  4. Bottom line, he ain’t gonna win in November even if he wins now. Heck, the people in his own state of MA don’t like him. Rudy polls 10 points higher.

    I’m amazed that he is doing so well in Michigan given the fact that his empire is built on dismantling corporations and outsourcing jobs to overseas. From what I’ve read, even from his website, he has significant investments with China. But of course, he’s trying to convert the commies to capitalism and democracy.

    It would be entertaining to watch an election between Romney and Hillary. Half of America can’t stand either.

    One last point. Governmental management experience should be a plus in electing a President. It largely is not. I cannot understand the polarization in Washington. In the last two and half years we’ve added more than 2 trillion to the national debt, which is obscene. Every candidate in every party talks about the runaway spending. I would think that effective leadership would build consensus with all the elected to reign in the expenses. There are only 535 legislators. You would think they could accomplish something. Romney has the least governmental experience of any candidate in either party.

    A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to have a sit down with one of the most inflamitory legislators from our state while in DC. They were gracious enough to give us nearly 2 hours of their time, even had lunch with her aides. The legislator talked of dirty Republicans and scandalous Dems. It happened to be the day after Congressman Kennedy wrecked his vehicle at the capitol while in a drunken stupor. Toward the end of our conversation I asked why these people can’t seem to come to agreements on things that are basic and so common to what impacts any individual’s lives. The blank stare was the answer. The lady was very gracious to us, but was so mired in her beliefs that she would rather fight than come to consensus. All the while we’re paying for it.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Maurice Sez: “From what I’ve read, even from his website, he has significant investments with China. But of course, he’s trying to convert the commies to capitalism and democracy.”

    And, Brudda Bush is trying to convert religious states to capitalism and democracy. Is there a difference in either fruitless attempt?

  6. joe says:

    Erick,

    I quit reading Red State EXACTLY because of what you wrote:

    “we have stooped to liberal attack canards, e.g. if you don’t like affirmative action you must be a racist or if you don’t like MItt Romney you must be a bigot.”

    For months now, any Ron Paul supporter at RS has been accused of wearing a tin foil hat. It is a little hypocritical to hold bigotry accusations against Romney supporters.

  7. John Konop says:

    Mitt Romney is a smart successful businessman. Mitt is probably socially moderate. I think Mitt would have had a better chance if he ran on what he believes. Unlike Rudy he does have the fiscal record to back up what he is running on.

    The problem for Mitt, Rudy and Fred is can a pro-choice Republican win a GOP nomination?

    If Mitt had not pretended to be a social conservative the Mormon issue would not of been problem since they would of not voted for him anyways. Mitt ended up alienated moderates on social issues and not fooling social conservatives.

  8. debbie0040 says:

    I would vote for Mitt before I would vote for the Huckster.

    I am pro life and would prefer a pro life candidate like Fred or Mitt, but would vote for a pro choice candidate like McCain or Rudy over Huckabee.

    Being pro life is not the only thing that matters to me… Illegal immigration, fiscal conservatisim all matter..

  9. John Konop says:

    Debbie

    Why do you disagree with Huckabee’s immigration plan?

    Huckabee Immigration Plan

    The Secure America Plan

    A 9-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security

    Overview: Implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.

    1. Build the Fence

    Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.

    Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.

    2. Increase Border Patrol

    Increase the number of border patrol agents.
    Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.

    3. Prevent Amnesty

    http://controlcongress.com/uncategorized/huckabee-immigration-plan

  10. Paul Shuford says:

    Isn’t a recent convert to Conservatism, like Romney, better than someone who isn’t a conservative at all, like Huckabee – who has tried to use his religious background to obfuscate his leftist fiscal policies? Is a recent convert to conservatism essentially better than what amounts to a religious democrat?

  11. drjay says:

    ‘I am pro life and would prefer a pro life candidate like Fred or Mitt, but would vote for a pro choice candidate like McCain or Rudy over Huckabee.”

    i hope you don’t mean to imply mccain is not pro life–i have not checked lately but i am fairly certain he has always had a 100% pro life voting record–in addition to actually being an adoptive parent

  12. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    It’s pretty simple actually, if you’re a Republican politician from New England, you’re either a moderate (to many on here, that’s worse than a liberal Democrat) or you’re out of work. North Eastern Republicans are moderate. I moved here from New England, and as a Republican, I quickly noticed that the Republicanism practiced down here is totally alien to me.

    You don’t actually believe what he claims to stand for right now do you? Of course Romney would run to the right during a Republican primary.

  13. What fears so many Republicans is their fear of a person’s faith being the cornerstone of who they are. It is thoroughly amazing to me the hypocrisy. My scripture tells me to be the salt and light. If we lose our saltiness we’re worthless. All through time the great leaders exerted strong leadership, sought God and enjoyed his blessing.

    What I read here is that we better never let our faith influence our actions, and God forbid that we ever express our faith on the stump.

    Heck, Ms. Debbie has even gone so far to call the man a charlatan and a false prophet for simple fear that a Christian just might support him, because they share the same faith.

    I really enjoyed Marvin Olasky’s editorial, Wanted: Sam Adams Republicans http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/MarvinOlasky/2008/01/03/wanted_sam_adams_republicans

    “…From Henry to Huckabee, “I like Mike” works for many evangelicals, but Huckabee cannot gain a nomination by appealing only to one part of the GOP coalition — and if he could on that basis, the general election would be a disaster. He’s reached out through an attractive personality, but he needs to counter the fears of non-evangelical Republicans.
    One way to do so would be to give his own version of the John F. Kennedy/Mitt Romney speech about not being beholden to Catholic or Mormon bishops. While doing so, he could point out that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution assume a biblical worldview, so the founding documents of Christianity and America generally complement each other.
    Huckabee could also put compassionate conservatism on the right track again with support from both Christians and libertarians — by showing a commitment to decentralization in education and poverty fighting. Since non-Christian conservatives fear a nanny state, Huckabee needs to show a commitment to voluntary action by individuals and religious or civic groups.
    If he can’t do that, he’s lost — and some of his supporters will become Sam Adams Republicans of a different kind, sipping in taverns as they wonder about what might have been. “

  14. Bill Simon says:

    Peach,

    The Bible is not a logical document.

    And, the fact that it is an edited version of the true series of events that have happened makes it all the more unreliable in terms of logic.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    DrJay,

    I’m sorry, but Ralph Reed and George Bush, Jr. consider McCain’s adoption of a “black baby” to not be worthy of note.

    For the record, I think Ralph Reed, Jr. will burn in his version of Hell for all eternity when he dies for that lie he cooked-up back in the 2000 presidential preference primary race.

  16. Bill Simon says:

    John,

    Let me swing-in here with the truth: If you read people like Peach’s and “True Conservative’s” posts, you realize the message Huckabee is delivering between the lines.

    Huckabee’s plans don’t mean diddly because he is goping to end-up being exactly like Bush when he gets into office. That is, enact as much of the religious Fascist agenda of his biggest supporters and to Hell, literally, with anything else.

    Anyone remember the sham of the “faith-based iniatives?” Bush dumped billions of dollars into organizations and required ZERO audits of how the money was spent. That’s OUR tax dollars spent without adhering to any standards of compliance.

  17. Doug Deal says:

    Maurice,

    I have a great amount of respect for you, but I think you misunderstand why people (myself included) object to Huckabee’s use of religion in his campaign. I object because a person’s view of god has absolutely no place in the office of the Presidency.

    We do not live in theocracy. In our country and in the western tradition, ethics is not defined by religion doctrine. How comfortable would you feel if Huckabee was Islamic, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Unitarian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh or Wiccan?

    The same people talking about him being a “Christian Soldier” and other such nonsense would no longer be so friendly. Jimmie Carter was a devout Southern Baptist, so is he now the best candidate for President (he does have 4 more years of eligibility left)?

    Every person that I have talked to, that is a Huckabee supporter has said that they are one either because of his support of the Fair Tax or the overwhelming reason, because of his status as a self proclaimed evangelical.

    If anyone thinks this is about ANYTHING other than religion, pretend Huckabee is another faith and tell us how much you would support him then.

  18. John Konop says:

    Bill

    I will give you credit and respect on being consistent about being against social conservative issues. But when I see Debbie rip at Huckabee when her own candidate has the same fault or is spinning their position as if it is different that is flat out hypocrisy and transparent.

    The truth is Fred Thompson is not for criminalizing abortion and he has never been a gay basher like Debbie. I actually agree with Fred that abortion is State rights issue not a federal one as well as (my opinion not Fred Thompson) gay rights, medical marijuana………

    As know I am neutral on Huckabee and when people like you and Indy speak I see your point and respect your opinions. My point is when people like Debbie comment it is pure spewing of hypocritical hate!

    As far as True Conservative, GoPeach, Maurice…… I have to give them credit and respect because like you they are consistent in their beliefs and do not spin their candidate like Debbie does.

    The question conservative have to ask themselves is it more fiscally responsible to raise taxes and balance a budget or cut taxes and not reduce spending causing out of control debt?

    The old GOP was for tax cuts and spending if we could pay for them.

  19. Doug, I am an evangelical. I graduated from a Catholic High School, went to a Wesleyan University and have an incredibly openminded worldview. I am staunchly conservative.

    While I appreciate the kindred spirit of our faith, the Presidency is a copulation of our belief system (limited government, but effective government). None of these candidates have proven to me that they can achieve results other than to give us 10 trillion of debt.

    It is undeniable that his religion has impacted his position, however, it has risen partly because of the backlash of those that have accused him of being a theocrat, which he has consistently refuted. Six months ago I would have given this man no chance.

    After reading his positions and listening to his views, I have no problem with the man. He makes sense, which is more than I can say for some of these guys. I could support any one of them save one of the candidates, and it has nothing to do with his religion.

  20. debbie0040 says:

    You know Maurice, Huckabee bragging about how the Evangelical Christians would control the GOP if he is the nominee doesn’t do anything to help the notion he is not a theocrat.

    What do you think the Dems will do with that little statement the Huckster made if he is the nominee?

  21. debbie0040 says:

    Maurice, don’t you get it? It is not just me. It is Coulter, Limbaugh, Noonan, Will, Human Events, Sowell and others.

    Last year I was supporting someone that everyone said was devisive and could not win the general. There were a lot of negatives attached. I stauchly defended him.

    This year it is the reverse. You are supporting someone devisive with a lot of negatives attached and someone that can not win and you defend him with the spin that comes from his web site…Hopefully you won’t prevail

  22. GAWire says:

    “””The Bible is not a logical document. And, the fact that it is an edited version of the true series of events that have happened makes it all the more unreliable in terms of logic.”””

    Yeah, because remember when Tom Hanks and that Sophie girl being chased by French authorities and stopped to listen to that old guy talk about the messages sent to us by DaVinci in the Last Supper where he conveyed to us the truth about the grail and the secret society that has protected it??? Don’t you remember?

    What … does that not sound logical?

    That “logic” is very similar to the group of folks who thinks 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. gov’t.

  23. GOPeach says:

    Doug:

    ” If anyone thinks this is about ANYTHING other than religion, pretend Huckabee is another faith and tell us how much you would support him then.”

    Fair Enough:

    Huckabee is down to earth. Reaches out to people most republicans ignore like tecahers and unions. He cares about the environment and energy.

    He fights for the Middle Class! He is cool – plays bass. He is articulate and witty.

    He campaigns well and can stand strong in a storm without loosing his cool. He remains steady. He is not perfect. He is like most of us.

    He came from nothing and made something of himself with good choices. He is a good husband and father.

    He is can work with people who think differently from him. He is faithful to public service – 10 years as a governor.

    He will do a great job.

  24. debbie0040 says:

    Fred in statistical tie for second in South Carolina. Fred is on the move:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/south_carolina/election_2008_south_carolina_republican_primary

    Monday, January 14, 2008
    Advertisment
    Over the past several days, the only real movement in South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary has been a four-point gain for Fred Thompson and a five-point decline for Mike Huckabee.

    The big winner from that trade-off is John McCain.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows McCain at 28%, Huckabee at 19%, Mitt Romney at 17%, and Fred Thompson at 16%. Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul are tied with 5% support. Giuliani is betting his entire campaign on a strong showing in Florida, where he is now tied for the lead with three others.

  25. debbie0040 says:

    If Fred’s momentum continues, all you “prodigal son” Huckabee supporters that jumped from Fred to Huckabee come on back home to Fred. We will throw a big party…

  26. Bill Simon says:

    I thought Florida is going to be penalized at the national convention for putting their primary on a date in violation of the national rules.

    So, whoever wins Florida will really only wind-up with half of the delegates as I recall.

  27. GOPeach says:

    Question: What does $585,000 buy you?

    Answer: It bought Mitt Romney backers a smear job against Mike Huckabee orchestrated by Beltway Insiders.

    The Club for Growth has an affiliated 527 group, Club for Growth.net, running anti-Mike Huckabee ads in early primary states.

    – At least $585,000 in contributions from Mitt Romney financial backers.

    – Club for Growth has spent $750,000 against Governor Huckabee in Iowa, South Carolina and Michigan. Here are donors that have donated both to Club for Growth.net* and Mitt Romney: Name: John Childs**

    Contribution to Beltway Group $100,000 on 11/16/07

    $100,000 on 12/31/07

    Contribution to Mitt Romney $2,100 on 1/8/07 Name: Bob Perry

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $200,000 on 12/12/07

    Contribution to Mitt Romney $2,300 on 3/13/07

    Name: Kristen Hertel

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $25,000 on 12/21/07

    $25,000 on 1/02/08

    Contribution to Mitt Romney $1,000 on 2/6/07

    Name: Muneer Satter

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $25,000 on 12/21/07 $25,000 on 1/02/08

    Contribution to Mitt Romney

    $2,300 on 2/6/07

    Name: Michael Valentine

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $40,000 on 1/3/08

    Contribution to Mitt Romney

    $2,300 on 4/4/07

    Name: Travis Anderson

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $25,000 on 12/19/07

    Contribution to Mitt Romney

    $2,100 on 2/8/07

    Name: Richard Gaby

    Contribution to Beltway Group

    $20,000 on 12/19/07

    Contribution to Mitt Romney

    $1,000 on 2/12/07 * Only represents donors that contributed more than $20,000 to Club for Growth.net in 2007/2008. ** “Boston investor John Childs, who donated $2,100 to Romney in 2007, recently gave 100,000 to the Club for Growth.” [Morain, Dan. “Huckabee foes open their wallets for attack ads,” The Los Angeles Times. 1 January 2008.]

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