Mit Romney will not go on Special Report with Brett Baier to answer the tough questions as the other candidates have done. No worries. Conservatives will bitch and moan for a few days and Romney will claim it was a scheduling issue, he’d always meant to go on, and he will go on.Should Mitt Romney win the Presidency, conservatives will find this pattern play out repeatedly. Romney will head in a direction conservatives do not like and they will bitch and moan repeatedly and maybe, just maybe, he’ll part his hair in their direction.We’ve seen this play out over and over. Jon Huntsman comes up with the best economic plan of all the candidates, Herman Cain follows up with 999, Perry comes out with a flat tax, and Romney refuses to do anything. Until he does something.Mitt Romney is not the George W. Bush of 2012 — he is the Harriet Miers of 2012, only conservative because a few conservative grand pooh-bahs tell us Mitt Romney is conservative and for no other reason.That is precisely why Mitt Romney will not win in 2012. But no worry, once he loses, Republican establishment types will blame conservatives for not doing enough for Mitt Romney, never mind that Mitt Romney has never been able to sell himself to more than 25% of the GOP voters. It’s not his fault though, it is the 75%’s fault.Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. And his general election campaign will be an utter disaster for conservatives as he takes the GOP down with him and burns up what it means to be a conservative in the process.
Mitt Romney will be the nominee because the other candidates, right now, are a pretty pathetic lot.The base will not forgive Rick Perry his immigration sins. In fact, that has hurt him far more than his debate performances, but his debate performances have hurt him badly. Perry, who came out principled and fiery with a record others could only envy, has left others with the impression that he’s a poor man’s version of the village idiot, which in the SEC we call “Aggies”. Maybe he can turn it around.Newt Gingrich will not be the nominee because, despite his daughter’s rebuttals to the horror stories of how Gingrich divorced his first of three wives, Jackie Gingrich told the Washington Post on January 3, 1985, “He walked out in the spring of 1980 and I returned to Georgia. By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said Daddy is downstairs and could he come up? When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from the surgery.” Gingrich went on to cheat on the second wife with the third. Regardless of the actual facts or even the spin, he won’t win women.Herman Cain won’t be the nominee because he can’t win women either. Regardless of what you think of the Politico story, Cain’s handling of the story has been an epic disaster. He’s down at least 10 points with women in Iowa. He’s falling even further and doesn’t even realize it. He’s largely been emboldened by a conservative media that is so used to standing by its men that too few are telling Herman that he is now at the point where he must actually sit and answer questions whether he wants to or not and whether he feels maligned or not and whether I think he should have to or not. If he loses women by as big as he is starting to lose the women, he cannot win.So Mitt Romney will be the nominee. Conservatives will not rally together with the least of the bad alternatives and Romney, like John McCain before him, will run up the middle to the nomination. But, just like McCain, Romney will not beat Barack Obama.
You’d think that given the economy, jobs, and the present angst about the direction of the country that the GOP would have an easy path to victory. You would be wrong.You forget the electoral college. The vote is coming down to a handful of states and Barack Obama still maintains the advantage of incumbency and not terribly terrible polling in those swing states.Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected. As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man.I’ve been reading the 200 pages of single spaced opposition research from the John McCain campaign on Mitt Romney. There is no issue I can find on which Mitt Romney has not taken both sides. He is neither liberal nor conservative. He is simply unprincipled. The man has no core beliefs other than in himself. You want him to be tough? He’ll be tough. You want him to be sensitive? He’ll be sensitive. You want him to be for killing the unborn? He’ll go all in on abortion rights until he wants to run for an office where it is not in his advantage.Along the way, he’ll drop lots of coin to grease the skids for himself. Mitt Romney is the silly putty of politicians — press on him real hard and he’ll take on whatever image you press into him until the next group starts pressing.Republican billionaires have a fantastic track record of getting Republican opinion leaders to support them and an even better track record at losing elections. Mitt Romney will be no different.To beat Barack Obama, a candidate must paint a bold contrast with the Democrats on their policies. When Mitt Romney tries, Barack Obama will be able to show that just the other day Mitt Romney held exactly the opposite position as the one he holds today.Voters may not like Barack Obama, but by the time Obama is done with Romney they will not trust Mitt Romney. And voters would rather the guy they don’t like than they guy they don’t trust.
Conservatism is already dying. Republicans on Capitol Hill are about to raise taxes on the American people with this Super Committee, but they’ll say they are just “raising revenue,” not taxes. Conservatives will give them a pass as they have on virtually every other major issue. Conservatives keep giving passes to people who shouldn’t be given passes because conservative in Washington have been there so long, they’d much rather get invited to the cocktail parties and avoid awkward encounters.Washington, D.C. conservatives will also rally around Mitt Romney, just as they kept doing over and over and over with George W. Bush even after steel tariffs in Pennsylvania, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the GM Bailout, and TARP. At some point the public will cease taking conservatives seriously when the most prominent conservatives — those in Washington who pose as the faces, voices, and writers of the conservative movement at large, keep throwing their lot in with a guy who keeps selling out the very principles conservatives claim to hold dear.Some conservatives, of course, will not go all in for Romney. These conservatives will be blamed by major Republican and “conservative” mouth pieces for not doing enough to help Mitt Romney. They will be alienated, blamed, and made the scapegoat for the failures of the establishment GOP.But there is something else too — Mitt Romney is winning the nomination without conservative help. The only time he pays conservatives any attention is when they cry loud enough that the media takes notice and Romney decides the story needs to go away. Once he is the nominee, it will be all about wooing the independents.Hell, he can give the base Marco Rubio as the veep nominee, just like McCain did with Palin — a token for the base. But don’t delude yourself into thinking he will seriously take conservatives seriously. He got the nomination without them and he’ll only use them when it is opportunistically convenient for him.Conservatism itself will not really die. But it might as well be dead as even conservatives in the heartland of the country stop taking Washington conservatives seriously.
It is striking to me that in 2012 there is broad based popular angst against Wall Street and Washington and the Republican Party is on the verge of nominating a multi-millionaire scion of the Rockefeller Wing of the Republican Party whose closest encounters with the common man are accidentally touching one of the many hired hands in one of the many rooms of one of his many mansions. But then many of the DC-NYC Republican “conservatives” who support Romney are the same, only coming into contact with regular people when they are served their breakfast by a steward in the first class car on the Acela Express.Neither Romney nor the Washington GOP crowd who loves him have very much at all in common with fly over country conservatives who see the GOP and Democrats both as out to lunch tools of K-Street and Wall Street. The party that could lead a conservative, populist campaign against Wall Street and Barack Obama, the former getting fat off the latter, will instead nominate a guy more at home on Wall Street than Main Street.And enough conservatives will be cheerleaders and rally around him that by November of 2012 the ideological underpinnings of the modern American conservative movement will be coming apart.I’m starting to think I need to walk it back on my rejection of Jon Huntsman. Because I’m starting to think even he would be more faithful in his conservative convictions than Mitt Romney. [Note: A lot of people are reading this as an endorsement of Jon Huntsman. It is not. Considering this, you might want to view it more as an expression of just how frustrated I have become with the field that I’m starting to think I may have to have another look given my conviction that a Romney nomination would (a) cause Barack Obama’s re-election and (b) the destruction of the conservative movement as we know it.]