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The PJ Tatler

Robert Wargas


July 10, 2012 - 8:05 am

Last week, Charles Krauthammer said the following about Mitt McRomney:

“Romney’s problem is not just that he doesn’t know how to deliver a message or that he is not charismatic. I think the way to put it is he simply hasn’t been ideological enough.”

I would go further and say that McRomney is actually incapable of being ideological because he doesn’t know the ideology. What famous works of conservatism, libertarianism, or classical liberalism has McRomney read?

It’s obvious that McRomney’s camp are trying their best to make their man appear “presidential” by not straying into strident philosophical territory. This is exactly where he needs to go, however. He needs to start quoting Hayek and Friedman. He needs to get up there and drop a reference to some obscure work by Bastiat. Call the Cato Institute and get a list of economic fallacies to start mentioning. This will get people talking, even on the lib networks (“What does he mean by ‘broken window fallacy’?”) and the sheer novelty of it all will work in his favor. It doesn’t have to be all ideology all the time. Just some treats here and there. Make it interesting. For God sakes, Mitt, mention the tulip bubble!

As of now, McRomney is still a Lowell Weicker Republican, and this image of him will not change unless he changes pace. There are no two ways about it. The central fallacy to this whole debate is that “ideological” somehow means “radical.” This is not true. You can get philosophical and not be Ron Paul. You can have principles without being an extremist. You can quote Ayn Rand without believing in every tenet of Objectivism. Principles must be articulated. Have some fun with it.

To try to appear “presidential” by not discussing ideology is to play into the Obama trap. Doing so is based on the progressive premise that questioning Obama’s principles is somehow “racist.” The moment you give up discussing principles, there is nothing left but the postmodern wordplay that our policy debates have become. Stop trying to be the Republican that gets kind words on the Bill Maher show and start getting serious.

Robert Wargas is a contributor to PJ Media. A native of Long Island, he was educated at the City University of New York and Yale University, and has also written for The Daily Telegraph of London and The Weekly Standard. Outside of opinion writing, he has worked as a professional historian for a major research laboratory and university, documenting the history of biotechnology since the 1970s. He has also reported for both weekly and daily newspapers, including Newsday. He maintains a personal blog/website at Follow him on Twitter @RobertWargas
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