As the record shows, I was no big fan of Mitt Romney. On the 2011 National Review cruise, I predicted that if Romney was the Republican candidate against Barack Obama he would lose, and on the 2012 cruise I had to say: told you so. I took, and take, no pleasure in that; in fact, I even succumbed to an election-eve bout of irrational optimism (along with most of my PJ colleagues) that somehow the American electorate would see through the fraud that is Barack Obama and do the right thing. Oops.
But now that we’re well into the fifth year of the very slow slog known as the Obama administration, maybe Romney’s loss wasn’t so bad. Like John McCain, who’s all but gone over to the other side, Mitt would have driven us conservatives crazy. Deep down, we all knew his “severe conservatism” was just an act, delivered with Mitt’s trademark sincerity. And in any case, the thing that should have instantly disqualified Romney as the GOP nominee — Romneycare in Massachusetts — would have been the gift that kept on giving. Does anybody really think that Romney would have started dismantling Obamacare on Day One?
Of course not. And that’s why it’s not surprising to see Mitt pop out of his La Jolla mansion to warn against the campaign by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and other radical conservatives in Congress to defund Obamacare. After all, that might mean (gasp!) shutting down the government should the Democrats call the Republicans’ bluff, and we can’t have that — because what would the United States of America do without the federal government? From the Washington Times:
“We need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government,” Mr. Romney said at a fundraiser in New Hampshire for the state’s Republican Party, according to prepared remarks. “What would come next when soldiers aren’t paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?”
The former Massachusetts governor said that the GOP has better options for removing Mr. Obama’s health care law.
“I’m afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy,” he said. “I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare.”
I can think of one right off the top of my head: running better candidates than the two RINOs who cost us the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, candidates who would have excited the party’s conservative base instead of taking it for granted. There are a lot of reasons Romney lost — narrowly but still decisively — to Obama last year, among them the customary Democrat willingness to bend or even break election rules in order to win; for them, as for Vince Lombardi, winning isn’t everything — it’s the only thing. The thought was that conservatives would have nowhere else to go once they got to the ballot box, but the flaw in that thinking was exposed when not enough conservatives bothered to show up at the polls in the first place. Contrast that with the Left’s relentless bush-beating; the Democrats managed the amazing feat of actually increasing black and minority turnout for the second Obama election, which proved to be their margin of victory. That’s how you play the game: to win.