October 22, 2011
No Mitt, No MásBy Chet Arthur
Sometimes it seems as if the GOP Establishment is sleepwalking off a cliff. In 1996, having scored the stunning victories of the off-year congressional elections, the GOP suits dutifully lined up behind the impossible Bob Dole. From the moment Americans realized their choices would be Clinton or Dole, "Bubba" was never behind one day in the polls.
It's looking like déjà Dole all over again. Mitt Romney is the proverbial GOP next-in-liner. After the Tea Party helped Republicans score major victories in '10, the GOP Establishment is hunting desperately for a way to lose the very next election.
Mitt Romney is a wonderful husband and father. He is intelligent and articulate. He rightly rejected religious bigotry, delivering a splendid speech on the topic at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library the last time around.
But he is a terrible candidate. At a time when Americans are hungering for a conviction politician, Mitt Romney is the picture of inconstancy. He will say what he needs to say to get elected. In Massachusetts, he'll campaign as more liberal than Ted Kennedy, a moderate in the mold of Edward Brooke, or a conservative on the make.
In '08, this man who managed to sit out the Reagan revolution spent millions on attack ads lambasting his foes for being insufficiently conservative.
The Republicans in 2004 let Democrat Matthew Dowd run their re-election campaign for George W. Bush. Instead of going after Massachusetts über-liberal John Kerry for his 30-year career of far-left votes, the Bush campaign decided to showcase Kerry's vote on an $87-billion appropriations bill for the war in Iraq. "I voted for the bill before I voted against it," said the hapless Kerry. There, that's it. The re-elect team bored the country for months with cries of "Massachusetts Flip-Flopper!"
They didn't highlight any of the far-left positions Kerry had taken over decades. He had voted liberal with metronomic consistency throughout his career. But that would have called for a campaign based on principled conservatism. That would have required highlighting the differences on issues like the sanctity of human life and the defense of marriage. Better not risk it. Stick with "Massachusetts Flip-Flopper."
How good does that $87-billion investment in "Operation Iraqi Freedom" look today? Maybe we should ask the hundreds of thousands of Assyrian Christians who have had to flee Iraq, where their ancestors lived since the Apostle Mark brought the Gospel to them.
Or maybe we should ask ourselves what kind of "Enduring Freedom" there is in Afghanistan, now that the last Christian church has been closed and there is but one Jew left in the country.
To appease our Afghan friends, our commanding general felt it necessary to burn Pashto-language Bibles. Ten years in, the U.S. command still provides security for Hamid Karzai, a man who admits that he is on the take from the mullahs in Tehran. For this, we have paid $457,000 per hour since 2001.
Mitt Romney wants to send another 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. This most pliable of candidates seems not to have polled that one. Americans have long since concluded that Afghanistan is not going to be a functional liberal democracy any time soon. Purple fingers as proof of having voted are meaningless if 99% of Afghan women and 99% of Afghan men join to vote in a government that wants to kill Abdul Rahman. That young man converted to Christianity and was sentenced to die by a government we had installed.
"Men of intemperate minds cannot be free," said Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism; "their passions forge their fetters." And Burke had never been to Kabul.
Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on his superior business savvy. Good thing, since we would not want to look too closely at RomneyCare in Massachusetts. It not only embraced the unconstitutional individual mandate, but it extended coverage for abortion in the Bay State.
Romney says he does not want to sign the Susan B. Anthony pledge to defund all outfits that kill the unborn. Why? Because that would cut off federal funds to hospitals that do abortions. Yet, he doubtless believes he can sell us on "building a culture of life."
That lovely phrase from the late Pope John Paul II is a lifesaver for politicians who can talk "culture of life" while shoveling money to the engines of death.
Romney is more than willing to tax us for the killing of embryonic humans while he claims the pro-life mantle. How does that work? He might have pursued instead the most promising treatments that are found in ethical stem cell research -- from adult stem cells and other morally uncompromised sources.
Again, he's shovel-ready.
By saying he believes in anthropogenic global warming, Romney will try to become the first politician ever to accept Al Gore's premises without the policies that go with his ideology. These policies invariably include more government micro-management of the economy and population control.
And then there's Mitt's plastic persona. He is not liked and unlikely to become liked. It was T.R.'s indomitable daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who summed up Thomas Dewey's "can't lose" campaign in 1948. "He's the little man on the wedding cake," she said acidly.
Mitt Romney is Thomas Dewey, only taller.
FOLLOW US ON