Friday, August 31, 2012

Will Romney Govern as a Conservative?

I, along with many others on the Right, was quite pleased with Mitt Romney's acceptance speech last night.  A far as I'm concerned, he hit all the right notes, allaying the always elusive if not undefinable moderate/independent voter concerns, but doing so without appearing to pander to them in an embarrassingly overt fashion.  For example, I thought he wove the "No, we're not waging a War on Women, to the contrary..." theme in quite nicely.

But not everyone agrees.  Charles Kesler, for one, thinks the speech was written and delivered more from a posture of fear and weakness than the contrary.  He contrasts it negatively with Paul Ryan's speech from the night before which was delivered with much more ideological conviction.

While I think Kessler is wise to remind us that Romney is not, after all, one of us, that is, a movement conservative, I also think he may be worrying a bit too much.

It's true, Romney's pedigree is much like that of George Bush, both of them.  For him and for them, the GOP is the "establishment" party, distinguishing it importantly from the crazies who populate with populism the Democrat alternative.  Public service is principally an act of noblesse oblige, privileged people doing their duty, and conservatism mostly means, "Shhh! Sit still!"

So, why did, and will in Romney's case, movement conservatives support them?  First, and most importantly because of the alternative.  No serious conservative could ever bring himself to vote for Michael Dukakis or Al Gore, and certainly not for Barack Obama.  That, we pray, will be enough to get Romney elected as it did the Bushes.

But how will he govern?

In George the First's case, he governed domestically too often like a moderate and it cost him reelection.  But in the case of  George the Second, he governed, again, domestically, too often like a moderate and it did not.  Why?

The most obvious answer is his conduct of the War on Terror.  Conservatives know that had 9/11 happened with Gore in the White House, with almost any Democrat in the White House, it would have been handled entirely differently, likely with nausea producing soul searching and the self-imposed restraint of multilateral manacles.  However it would have been handled it would not have been done with anything like the decisive and unapologetic leadership Bush provided.  As a result, when it came to Bush too often governing domestically like a moderate, many conservatives simply averted their gaze.  I know, I was one of them.

Absent a similarly serious  foreign policy challenge, Romney will not be afforded this kind of latitude.  Conservative enthusiasm for him is only as deep as his ability to successfully supplant the current White House occupant and, once in office, undo much of his agenda.  If he temporizes in any fashion, conservatives, and more importantly, conservative congressmen and senators will abandon him almost immediately.  If Romney doesn't already know this, he will learn it very quickly if he departs from conservative orthodoxy.

As a result, I think we can be fairly confident that whatever his personal predilections, Mitt Romney will govern from the right.   


  1. Maybe he will suprise us all.....I certainly hope so. By the way, has anyone noticed that Obama hasn't bothered to show up in Louisiana? Bush was criticized for overflying the area. Obama didn't even bother to show up. Heck, he didn't even plan a trip till Romney showed up today.

  2. No one but Rush, as far as I know.

    Hear those crickets?

    It's the elite liberal media.