Kiss of Death? David Frum Hearts Mitt Romney
September 29, 2011 - 11:12 am
Editorial note to David Frum: Just because you assert that something is so, that doesn’t make it so.
Rick Perry isn’t up to the job. Chris Christie isn’t coming to the rescue. Republicans must accept that the candidate they want is right in front of them
Rick Perry has been governor of Texas, which boasts the 13th largest economy in the world, for 10 years. Contrary to the “four aces” mantra of his opponent, Perry inherited a state that was in transition from Democratic rule to Republican dominance and was not yet an economic powerhouse. Perry not only didn’t derail that transition, he sped it up and strengthened it by keeping government small and by keeping that government out of Texans’ faces as much as possible. Texas was the last state into the recession and the first one out of it. How again is Perry not “up to the job?”
By the way, that’s just the article’s subheading. The whole piece is of similar quality.
1) Given the dreadful economic conditions, the Democrats will have no choice in 2012 but to run a negative campaign against the Republican alternative. Message: “We may have disappointed you on jobs, but they will take away your Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance.”
Of all the Republicans in the field, Romney is least vulnerable to this line of attack. He did not associate himself with the Ryan plan to withdraw the Medicare guarantee from people under age 55. He did not denounce Social Security as a “monstrous lie.” He has not condemned the unemployed as layabouts.
But he is deeply associated with RomneyCare. And he has shown, through his Social Security rhetoric, that he isn’t serious about entitlement reform. In fact, Romney’s attacks undermine the case for entitlement reform. But Perry isn’t up to the job?
2) After the campaign comes the presidency. Who can believe that Rick Perry has the wherewithal to do that job? The global financial crisis still rages about us. Just ahead: Debt defaults in Europe. After that? Perhaps the popping of China’s real-estate bubble. What else? Who knows?
The person you want in that job in such a time is someone with a deep understanding of finance and economics. The U.S. is paying dearly now for electing in 2008 a president who lacked such understanding, despite many other fine qualities. As a result (as Ron Suskind now reports), economic decision-making in the Obama White House degenerated into a struggle between advisers to sway a more or less passive president.
What are these “other fine qualities” that Obama possesses? His pants crease? His attention to NCAA basketball brackets? His inability to say more than 30 words without a teleprompter? His total failure as a stuttering mess of a president?
And again, merely asserting that Perry isn’t up to the job doesn’t make it so. Romney did a fine job on the Olympics and has a deep business resume, but was only governor of MA for four years. They’re both more qualified than Obama by a long shot. Asserting that Perry isn’t up to the job is not only contrary to the facts, it undermines the case for Perry should he win the nomination. But this is moderate Frum, tearing down the conservative cause at every turn to build up a weak case for someone he prefers for largely cultural reasons.
3) Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate best positioned to respond effectively to the challenge bequeathed by Barack Obama’s health-care reform.
Now that’s just funny. Whatever Romney’s other qualifications are, RomneyCare is not one of them. His having signed that into law for MA opens him to charges of flip-flopping, of caving in to the left, of failing to defend citizens from the state, and of being economically illiterate. That doesn’t help.
There is a good case to be made for Mitt Romney. David Frum hasn’t made it, not even close.