Rich Lowry writes:
My bottom line on all of this is that the work of Bain is quite defensible, yet it’s not terribly sympathetic or always very intuitive. In an ideal world, you would not pick a representative of this particular sector of the economy to be your presidential candidate. But Romney has a very good chance to be the nominee. Fred Barnes recommended yesterday that he basically come up with a different rationale for his candidacy. That doesn’t strike me as very likely; this is Romney’s hill and he has no choice but to fight on it.
I think that’s right. The second sentence should probably have been considered months ago, before many in the conservative punditocracy decided to dive into the tank for Romney. I just can’t figure out what other rationale for his candidacy Romney could come up with. He’s not Captain Hopenchange; he has to run on who he is and what he has done. At times he seems like a hologram as opposed to a real person; it’s nearly impossible to figure out what he truly believes because he has weighed in passionately on both sides of so many issues. The Bain work does not bother me at all and does tell us that Romney is a sincere capitalist, but it is fairly obscure to most people, and it will be easy for the Democrats to demonize. If we were using candidates’ actual records in office to weigh them as potential presidents, then we’re forced to conclude certain things: That Gov. Romney did not advance conservative policies, that he did advance liberal policies, and that he probably would not have been re-elected. Yet, we’re told he is the most electable candidate. And even at our most respected conservative policy publications, the candidates’ actual records are not being weighed or discussed very much.
We always hear the argument about electability made from the perspective of getting a Republican elected in a Democratic state. But how about Romney’s electability in a Republican state? I’m fairly sure that the Mitt Romney that campaigned and won and governed in Massachusetts could not get elected statewide in most Republican states. At least, not without already being the Republican nominee chosen for them by other states.
If we’re going to base our votes on who campaigns well, speaks smoothly and can get elected and re-elected only in blue states, then we should have nominated Jerry Brown. He meets all of those criteria and some of his policies are at least sincerely moving, inch by inch, to the right.