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Conservatives to Mitt: We never liked you anyway

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This article originally appeared on The American Prospect.

The American ProspectAs often as not, parties nominate candidates for president that pretty much all their own partisans acknowledge are less than inspiring. Democrats were so excited about Barack Obama in 2008 partly because their previous two nominees, John Kerry and Al Gore, rode to the nomination on a stirring sentiment of “Well, OK, I guess.” The same happened to Republicans, who adored the easygoing George W. Bush after the grim candidacies of Bob Dole and Bush’s father. And now that Mitt Romney has suffered through an awful few weeks—a mediocre convention, an embarrassing response to the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, then the release of the “47 percent” video in which Romney accused almost half of America of refusing to “take responsibility for their own lives”—the knives have come out.

First it was a widely-shared Politico story full of intramural Romney campaign sniping, most directed at chief strategist Stuart Stevens (the article full of anonymous backstabbing is the hallmark of a struggling campaign, as mid-level staffers explain to reporters how everything would be going better if they were in charge). Then came a parade of criticism from prominent conservative commentators. Peggy Noonan called the Romney campaign a “rolling calamity.” David Brooks responded to the 47 percent comment by sounding like Romney himself talking about Barack Obama: “It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America.” Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said Romney and others in his party “mouth libertarian nonsense, unable to even describe some of the largest challenges of our time.” William Kristol called Romney’s remarks “arrogant and stupid” and asked, “Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country, and who have so little substance to say about the future of our country?” Sarah Palin even got into the act, encouraging Romney and Paul Ryan to “go rogue” to revive their campaign, though whom she thought they should rebel against (themselves?) was unclear. Romney’s problems even trickled down to other races, as one Republican Senate candidate after another rushed to distance themselves from Romney’s dismissal of the 47 percent. No wonder the strain of removing sharp implements from her husband’s back led Ann Romney to tell conservatives, “Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring.” It’s a little late for that though; Republicans are stuck with Romney whether they like it or not. And they’re making sure everyone knows they don’t.

Romney is not yet doomed, of course. Something might happen to upend the campaign and convince large numbers of people to change their votes. But an Obama victory remains more likely than not, which means that a few months from now Republicans will be telling each other that they saw it coming all along.

It isn’t hard to figure out what they’ll be saying. The first explanation for their loss will be a strategic one. “I worked for the Romney campaign,” Republicans will say, “but they never took my advice.” He should have spent more time talking about the economy, or more time talking about social issues. He should have worked harder to win Hispanic votes, or spent more resources on the ground game and less on television ads. He was too vague in his policy prescriptions, not giving America enough of a sense of what he wanted to do.

And of course, they’ll say the news media were hopelessly biased against Romney, elevating every one of his mistakes and ignoring the self-evidently horrifying things Obama said. (Did you know that once, 14 years ago, Obama used the word “redistribution” favorably? I mean, come on!) Forever seeing ideological bias when the truth is that those trailing in the polls get negative coverage and those leading get positive coverage (a kind of bias in itself, but not the kind conservatives mean), they are practiced at blaming their own failures on the media.

On the fringes, they’ll say Democrats cheated, something they’ve believed in the past and will no doubt believe in the future (in late 2009, one poll found that a majority of Republicans believed ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama). The idea that a majority of voters willingly chose this president conservatives despise so fervently strikes them as simply impossible, so there must have been a secret conspiracy assuring his election. This year the only voting conspiracy is no secret; it’s the coordinated Republican effort to put as many roadblocks as possible between Democratic voters and the polls, from photo ID requirements to purging rolls of voters whose names suggest they might just be non-citizens. Yet should Obama win, conservative web sites will trumpet every available story of someone suspicious who cast a ballot, as though it were possible to mobilize millions of voter impersonators to flood the booths.

Then there will be the explanations about Mitt Romney himself, and this is where conservatives will begin to move toward agreement. Some may gently suggest that perhaps a party dogged by a reputation for caring only about the rich could have done better than to nominate a guy with a quarter of a billion dollars whose 2011 tax return was so complex it ran to 379 pages, and who exudes a strange combination of over-eagerness and sheer terror whenever he comes in contact with people whose incomes fall below six figures. But in the end, Republicans will agree that for all Mitt Romney’s weaknesses as a candidate, his real problem was that he just wasn’t conservative enough. As Digby has observed many times, as far as Republicans are concerned, conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. If Republicans lose at the polls or preside over disastrous policies, the only possible explanation is that they weren’t true enough to their ideology. It may be true that Romney became, in his own words, “severely conservative.” He gave the party’s base everything they wanted (and kept giving it to them long after it became a liability). He adopted their agenda, aligned his policy positions with theirs, and told them whatever he thought they wanted to hear, with sometimes disastrous results (see “47 percent”). But they’ll say the problem was that he didn’t really believeit deep down in his heart, and the voters could tell. If only they had nominated a true conservative, everything would have been different.

There may be a Republican here or there telling the party that they’ve gone astray. Perhaps Christie Whitman will write an op-ed lamenting her party’s turn to the right. But as they have in the past, these voices will be ignored. Republicans will promise never to make the same mistake again. Next time, they’ll pledge, we’ll nominate a real conservative, and our ideological purity will be rewarded at the polls.

by on Sep. 26, 2012 at 1:13 AM
Replies (21-24):
by on Sep. 26, 2012 at 5:16 PM
1 mom liked this

That's part of it.  A party in favor of limited government has turned into a party in favor of big government, rules/regulations, and a police state.  Not to mention the war on terror and war on drugs.  I find that pretty disturbing too.

Quoting Kate_Momof3:

 The party has been corrupted by religion. Plain and simple.

Quoting rachelrothchild:

The GOP has gone off the deep end.  It's been a slow process.  Each candidate is a little less conservative than the last.  People don't even know what a real conservative looks like anymore.


by Silver Member on Sep. 26, 2012 at 5:26 PM
1 mom liked this

Quoting Kate_Momof3:

 This isn't a rant! I think it's great.

And I agree, abuse of our tax dollars should be eradicated. However, if you're going to get a bigger bang for your buck (no pun intended), I think going after corporations who's policies have adversely effected the middle class would be the way to go.

Welfare fraud is but a pittance in the big picture of government waste.

Quoting broncfan:


Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting broncfan:

Does anybody but me wonder who "feeds" these articles to the people that post one after another?  No way, at the rate they are posted, would anybody have time to search, read and post so darn many.  There must be a "pool" of crap the Dems have for people to pick from.

Do you feel Romney is a real conservative?

And, if not, do you think he would do better in the coming election if he were a real conservative?

Who did you originally support?  Was it Romney, or was it Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich?

I guess I am a crazy mixed up Independent.  I do not consider myself a "real conservative" at all.  I am very much a social liberal, but just as much a financial ultra conservative.  I have the belief that our economy is the backbone of our social agenda.  There is so much I would like to see done for our needy, but I know that the only way we can do it is to have a strong, robust economy and I believe that business, big and small, is where that strong robust economy comes from.  It is like wishing for a new house but never taking that second job or starting that savings account to prepare yourself to acquire the house, you just keep on wishing and bitching about all the people in the big new houses around you.

In my perfect world we would take care of our sick, elderly and handicapped in a solid middle class lifestyle. Gone would be the horrible nursing homes we stick our medicaid elderly in, replaced with bright clean and up to date facilities.  We would have a real food program for our under privileged kids, not just enough money to buy the starchy, sugar filled crap that food stamps affords.  We would have a task force to find and remove every single case of abuse and fraud in our welfare system. Every penny we save in fraud is one more penny we can give someone that can not help themselves.   If we had a well managed system our unemployed could probably have at least 25% more in unemployment benefits, not the pitiful amount we are able to give now.  But we can not do all of this on borrowed money and we can not do all of it on the backs of 10% of the people of our country. We have to get more people working in the public sector, temp jobs and government jobs are not going to do it.

My older brother is the president of a Fortune 500 company, he just told us this past weekend that his bosses, the COO and CFO has demanded that he produce an additional 5 million dollars before the end of the year. They are hedging for a downturn after the election.  He has to reduce spending ie: travel expenses of his field reps, advertising, look at laying off about 10 people and push his people to sell more, more, more.  Business is scared of what is happening, the trends are not looking good and we could very well be right back where we were 4 years ago.  I just do not know if we can survive another hit.

So to answer you question after such a long winded stand on my soap box.  I did not have a candidate I absolutely supported, I could not stand R. Santorum or Bachman, Huntsman I never learned enough about, I thought Cain could have done some good for the economy, Perry did not repulse me because I am use to southern men and I think Newt is probably the smartest of them all but did not have a snowballs chance in hell of winning anything (although I do love the fact that he is an animal lover).  So as bad as it sounds I am in the "anybody but Obama" group.  I just do not see his policies working in the economy, and not much better socially, I just do not think he has what it takes.

The way I look at, I do not have to "like" the President personality wise I just have to like his results, and I think Romney will give us good results.  If I had to choose between 2 surgeons to operate on me, I would take the one that knows what he is doing once he opens me up over the one that sits on the side of my bed and makes me laugh, I could care less if he is a jerk as long as he is good.


I try my best not to pontificate over things I am not sure about or do not live.  I heard a speaker last year say that welfare fraud listed at 2-3% which equals about 15 billion a year, he went on to say that a realistic figure would be around 10% or 60 billion a year nationwide.  Some states are much better than others in keeping this in check. My state is terrible.  You know the work to welfare requirements?  Well here all you have to do for the first 6 months is to say you have gone out and looked for a job, the next 6 months you have to give names of where you put in an application, at least one a month the next 12 months you are required to put in 2 applications a month, now this is not interviews this is just saying you went by the Target and put in an application on their little computer, no proof that you listed your real phone number for a call back.  We do have a problem here, probably bigger than in many other areas.  At the hospital I work for we have 200 plus open positions for unskilled non-medical workers, housekeeping, security, cooks, parking lot attendants, receptionist, ward clerks, file clerks, restaurant workers, vending machine fillers, laundry workers, patient meal delivery and more.  Not one of these require any college and some not even a high school diploma.  You must pass a drug test.  Our unemployment rate is 9.5% and there are 200 plus jobs in one place that can not be filled.  Now the people that will not apply for these jobs would not fall in the numbers of fraud but in my opinion if there is a job out there that you could do and you will not go apply and then go to work that is fraud.  We will never be able to measure these numbers, but they are high, at least around here.

I wish I knew how to change the mind set of people on both sides, those that need to be working and those that are afraid of offending people.

I can be at work and in a single night I will see one child from a poor family that is obviously in need, the parents  are trying then I will see the next 3 that Mom has better manicures than I do, a new phone and taking pictures and posting on FB the entire ER visit (I can not tell you how many times I have to ask that my pic not be used in their FB post) I see more Juicy on Mom butts and VS Pink sweat pants than any welfare person should be able to afford.  So what I see fits right in with the things people say we should not assign to those on welfare. In my world the assignment fits.  This is the fraud I want to do away with, I want that first family to be able to have the things they need, and maybe a few they just want. But our system is ripe for the picking, it is set up to be "kind and compassionate" when in real life it is cruel and misleading. 

We have a bigger problem with disability SSI, we have millions of people that are really disabled and can not get into the system because of various reasons, the one I think is most often the case is they did not get lucky enough to get the right hearing officer.  Have you seen how many people are now on disability, rates have shot up in the last few years, another reason our unemployment numbers are not anywhere close to real, people move off unemployment on to disability and this is for life.  While we have those that need it, deserve it but can not get it. 

All I know is we need some serious, hard reform in our system, it is broke and not working for those that need it, deserve it and have earned it.

by Bronze Member on Sep. 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I was really interested in Huntsman too. He had a shot.  I am an Independent, but seeing the Republican party hijacked like it has been, makes me run far away from any Republican candidate now.

by Socialist Hippie on Sep. 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM


Some will vote for Obama because they believe (just as you do with regards to Romney) he is the lesser of 2 evils.

It goes both ways-

Quoting LadyByrdNest:

At this point it really is an election of the lessor of the two evils. Romney is the lessor IMO.

Others are going to vote for Obama based on the fact that his favorite show is Homeland, and Michelle likes Modern Family. Yep that's the pulse of our great nation currently lol!

Quoting jcrew6:

Romney isn't my first choice. However Obama has proven isn't a leader. He has failed America and doesn't deserve another 4 years.

Separation of church and state is for the protection of BOTH church and state.
Leading with hate and intolerance only leads to MORE hate and intolerance.
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