Not This Mitt Again
The serious rumblings are already out there. Undaunted by the failure of one of the most expensive presidential primary runs in history, Mitt Romney apparently wants to take another shot at getting the GOP's nomination. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is "quite sure" Romney will run, and has said that the former Massachusetts governor "would be my preference."
Sadly, there's a hoary tradition in the GOP that certain establishment-favored candidates, even though they're not the best available, have somehow earned "their turn." That belief has usually led the party straight to the presidential political graveyard, which includes the campaign corpses of John McCain (2008) and Bob Dole (1996). Following that tradition this time around would mean that the party's "it's my turn" nominees would have moved from a somewhat conservative and usually credible war hero (Dole), to an occasionally conservative and all too often not credible war hero (McCain), to a decidedly not conservative and not credible guy who didn't serve (Romney). There's a reason why the GOP is often called the Stupid Party.
Perhaps the most potent portent that Romney's 2012 aspirations are serious lies in an attempt by some to explain away his 2008 defeat as supposedly the result of his membership in and the public's bigotry against the Mormon religion. In a pair of presentations on the program at the Mormon Media Studies Symposium earlier this month, a trio of Brigham Young University professors attempted to "prove" this claim. According to the Salt Lake City Deseret News:
[BYU prof John] Gee cited examples of counter-cult activity by the John McCain and Mike Huckabee campaigns. These politicians would slip false information about Mormons into a casual message.
... "[The media] need to know some of these things that have been going on that haven't been covered, the way the coded language and off-hand remarks can be inserted in," Gee said.
... "Mitt Romney will not be able to overcome half a century of hate and bigotry, but I would love to be proven wrong," he said. "The media has to get the story correct, and it's too much to ask for."
Cry me a river. As far as I know, and I followed the GOP primaries very closely, the only evidence that anyone attempted to use Mitt Romney's religion against him was one alleged early-December 2007 push poll in Iowa. Oddly enough, the only people who came forward to claim they had received the offensive phone calls were Romney campaign operatives, who "somehow" forgot to tell the press that they were on the candidate's payroll.
The alleged push poll gave Romney, whose Hawkeye State campaign was already in serious trouble, an excuse to garner national attention with his "Faith in America" speech. Patrick Ruffini, who was blogging at the site of Romney cheerleader Hugh Hewitt at the time, observed:
This is relatively unexpected. Romney's Mormon faith, though ever-present, has not been as big an issue as could have been expected earlier in the year. Questions still linger as to whether the most recent Mormon "controversy" (the push polls) actually reflected any real concerted anti-Romney strategy.
Apparently Professor Gee won't let the lack of real evidence of a "concerted anti-Romney strategy" based on Mormonism get in the way of a historically revisionist fable.
The fact is that Mitt Romney lost in 2008 for a huge collection of reasons having absolutely nothing to do with his religious affiliation. Here's the short list:
• His heinous betrayals of social conservatives in Massachusetts when he was governor. On Romney's watch, abortion became a legislated, subsidized, state-sponsored "benefit" for the first time. Regarding same-sex "marriage," Romney broke his sworn oath to uphold the state's constitution by implementing the Goodridge decision before the Bay State's legislature enacted the enabling law the court's ruling required (to my knowledge, the legislature still has not done this).
• His proactive pursuit of state-controlled health care legislation in Massachusetts, signed with the late Ted Kennedy standing behind him approvingly. By late 2007, it was already clear, despite sympathetic media attempts to portray it as "pioneering" and a "grand experiment," that Commonwealth Care (aka RomneyCare) was turning into a coercive, failing statist monstrosity. Despite its self-evident flaws, RomneyCare was often cited by leftists as the prototype for ObamaCare.
• A host of life story and resume inconsistencies, including but not limited to: his antiabortion "epiphany," after which he signed the abortion-enabling Commonwealth Care law; his assertion, having hunted twice, that he was a "lifelong hunter"; and a completely disproven contention that his father George "marched with Martin Luther King" in Michigan.
On the ground, the real reason why Mitt Romney lost is that a few brave conservative activists whom Romney abandoned while governor banded together to get the truth out to a legion of sympathizers and then to the electorate -- first in Iowa, then in New Hampshire, and finally on Super Tuesday. There's your "conspiracy," Professor Gee.
There are even more reasons why, if he chooses to run this time, Mitt Romney should again be summarily rejected. Among the new ones are at least these two biggies:
• At crunch time in March 2009, when the Obama administration was orchestrating a statist boardroom coup at General Motors, Romney went on CNN and applauded the president for his "backbone." Seriously.
• After all these years, Romney refuses to concede that creating Commonwealth Care was a mistake. In March, he even called its imposition of an individual mandate to purchase insurance "the ultimate conservative plan."
The majority of the USA's population, which Frank Luntz recently found is sensible, constitution-loving, and conservative, cannot and will not abide Mitt Romney receiving the GOP's presidential nomination in 2012. We've had more than enough of this Mitt.