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Is Mitt Romney More of a Dude Than We Thought?

You know whom I'm beginning to like, respect and admire? Mitt Romney.

I know! We conservatives aren't supposed to do that. We're supposed to look askance at him as one of those hell-bound establishment moderates, a RINO in Reaganesque clothing. We're supposed to bitch and moan about his lack of vision, his suspect credentials, his refusal to eat the children of illegal aliens for dinner (they are tasty). We're supposed to complain that he hasn't gotten specific enough about which federal workers he's going to guillotine and is therefore not really committed to returning the government to its 1776 levels of spending as God and the founders intended. If we really want to strut our red cred, we're even supposed to claim there's no real difference between Romney and Obama — and we're supposed to do it with a straight face, too.

But I've been watching the guy operate and I'm beginning to think a lot of that may be — how can I put this politely? — crap.

Don't get me wrong. It's all good conservative stuff all right. In fact, it's generally how we roll. As the brilliant Ann Coulter brilliantly pointed out in her brilliant book Demonic, "Most of the time, conservatives can barely tolerate their leaders. Republican presidents are lucky if their own party doesn't move to impeach them." She then goes on to prove her point by citing the ceaseless stream of criticism conservatives trained on Ronald Reagan when he was, you know, being the greatest conservative president of, like, ever. (Coulter, I should add, was an early Romney supporter and, as far as I can tell, hasn't got a moderate cell in her whole stirring cellular makeup.)

But while conservative Mitt-crit is certainly in keeping with our characters, I'm starting to feel much of it isn't actually true. For instance, I watched, listened to, and then read the transcript of Romney's address to the left-wing NAACP last week. I thought it was an excellent speech, clear in its free market approach, as rich in specifics as it needed to be, and courageous in speaking truth to a hostile crowd.