After learning that the candidate I had been advocating for since August 2011 was going to suspend his campaign that same afternoon, I was faced with a personal political dilemma.
I could dutifully line up with Mr. Inevitable (who I have always believed to be the inevitable nominee and still believe will be an inevitable loser this November) or go with someone else as a protest vote, US Representative Ron Paul of Texas or ex-House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Allow me to quickly dispense with the Paul option: I’m not going to support a candidate for president who does not see a difference between Iran and Luxembourg.
My problems with Romney are copious.
Romney is not a sincere conservative and his clumsy political tacking does not inspire much confidence that he will be able to hang with Mr. Smooth in a debate.
I’ve always maintained that conservatism was not rejected in the 1996 and 2008 presidential elections since conservatives were not listed on the top half of the ballot.
Conservatism was misrepresented with tired Beltway pols who struggled to talk like a conservative with a straight face. They didn’t believe in the message and thus could not effectively sell it to the public.
Secondly, Romney has the least Republican cred of any GOP nominee since Wendell Willkie. The same politician who hyperventilated over Santorum’s attempts to get registered Democrats to support him in states with cross-over voting had himself voted in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic Primary.
Third, there’s the giant rhinoceros in the room: RomneyCare. Expect Obama to lecture Romney on health care the same way Bill Clinton lectured President George H.W. Bush on taxes after the latter violated his once famous then infamous “read my lips” pledge.
Please feel free to check out RomneyCare in its full coercive and punitive glory on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.
Consider it a preview of the ObamaCare horror experience waiting for Americans just around the corner.
It was with good reason why the words “health care” didn’t leave Romney’s lips during his speech at the 2011 CPAC.
Fourth, I have a tough time believing Romney will do a decent job building a rapport with the average American. Democrats will paint Romney as a bad Republican stereotype, or put more succinctly, a GOP version of John Kerry.
Let’s hope Romney doesn’t celebrate winning the Pennsylvania primary by windsurfing in Boston Harbor.
Finally, there was the obnoxious manner he has handled his political business, as an individual and presidential candidate and through his Super PAC cronies.
Romney associates were fingered as the source of unflattering leaks about Sarah Palin while she and John McCain were on the campaign trail in 2008, with the goal being to damage the Alaskan enough so she would have a tough time seeking the GOP nomination four years later. You can read more of this here.
It seemed Romney’s 2012 interests took precedent over the party’s and America’s interests in 2008. But that’s how the Romney people play.
Savage first, co-opt later.
While Gingrich is neither perfect nor ideal, the Georgian has done far more for the Republican Party than Romney has ever done or will ever do.
Two years after Romney “heroically” voted for Paul Tsongas, Gingrich orchestrated and led a Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives. That Gingrich’s very real contributions to conservatism and the GOP were misleadingly marginalized in pro-Romney Super PAC hits was disgusting.
Newt deserved better and Romney and his ilk should have behaved better.
Though he will not be our party’s nominee and will not be president, Speaker Gingrich has my support and I hope others who see Romney for what he is will send a signal through caucus contests and primaries remaining on the calendar that conservatives do not want to see the achievements of the TEA Party movement cavalierly discarded, the party platform eviscerated of conservatism and a running mate selected more to appease the New York Times than the party base.
Though the fight to have a true conservative representing our party in the November election is over, the fight to keep our party conservative continues through Gingrich’s candidacy.
Every strong showing by Gingrich means one less shake of the etch-a-sketch.