Exactly How 'Moderate' Was George Romney, Really?

Detroit News Photo - Courtesy of the Reuther Library Archive of Wayne State University

Let's do a thought experiment. Imagine Mitt Romney speaking about government spending, social problems, crime, and the failure of our public schools. Now let's say Mr. Romney, in addressing those issues, said the following:

As a result of the tremendous prosperity in this country and the result of the politicians misusing that prosperity to try and solve problems with just government money, especially social problems, our social problems have exploded. This nation is confronted with unprecedented spiritual and moral and social problems. When kids are having kids and the government's subsidizing it, and subsidizing it only if the father is out of the home, could you have conceived of that happening 40 years ago? I couldn't have. When kids are killing kids. When so many kids are going into school, that they're not ready to learn and when the teacher can only spend about fifteen minutes out of the hour educating, the rest of the time she's trying to discipline the kids, we're not going to have an educated set of employees. And one reason we became the most prosperous nation on earth was because we had the best educated populace in the world as the result of public education. Now we're not even equaling the other industrial nations. We don't even equal our old level of educational achievement and this, in my opinion, together with the moral and crime and other problems constitute a threat to the future of this nation of an unprecedented character. I think we're confronted with the most serious challenge since the Civil War.

Would any left-leaning pundits call that a "moderate" speech? Saying that you can't solve problems with government spending? That America's social problems are rooted in spiritual and moral flaws? That there's something wrong with our public education system, now dominated by teachers' unions, not parents and students? This sounds like a checklist of conservative issues. When you consider the hyperbole about the Civil War, I think that imagining the left-wing commentariat characterizing those remarks as anything other than "extremely right-wing" seems ridiculous.