note to Geraghty: Romney is NOT the answer if the question is who is the more competent
The increasingly tedious, blustery, credulous, and remote Jim Geraghty argues that, “at this moment, for conservatives seeking to choose their nominee in 2008, it really is competence, not ideology.”
Here are Geraghty’s points as we read them:
- All of the Republican candidates have issues with the conservative orthodoxy
- Hence, for the “down-the-line conservative,” there is no clear choice. You either
- vote for the candidate closest to your top issues
- vote for a second tier candidate with no chance of winning
- There does exist a “conservative consensus” among the candidates at least on economic and foreign policy issues
- Presumably, no Republican candidate as president would e.g. raise taxes or publicly finance abortions
- Presumably, no Democratic candidate as president would do the opposite
- President Bush’s policy differences with his base have hurt him; what has hurt him more is poor management, e.g.:
- Rumsfeld’s departure
- The Alberto Gonzolas affair
- The Harriet Miers affair
- The immigration bill
- The surge in Iraq etc., etc.
Here is the argument as we read it: Conservatives have no clear choice on ideological grounds, and no conservative issue is really at stake (i.e. presumably, no Republican candidate as president would e.g. raise taxes or publicly finance abortions). Further, what has hurt the Bush administration is poor management as opposed to his policy detours and departures. Hence: A future Republican president who is less conservative, but a better manager, may achieve more for the right than President Bush.
Were we to accept Geraghty’s argument on its face—which we do not, as we have serious doubts about (3)—in fact, to ask us to accept (3) as a premise begs the whole question, because whether Romney is a conservative or not, or whether Romney once in power will completely “transform” himself again, is precisely what is at issue!—the question then becomes, who among the Republicans is the best manager? The question reduces to competence; for Geraghty we are not so much electing a president as hiring an administrator.
Answer to the question of who is the more competent: it is certainly not Romney.
Romney has laid waste to the Massachusetts economy. See:
Romney has botched his own campaign despite his personal fortune. See:
- Anderson: “Romney is going to find himself strapped for cash soon and will need to put more and more of his own money into the campaign”
- Cillizza: “[Romney] campaign has sought to downplay the extent of [Romney’s] personal donations”
- Rizo of AHN: “Romney Trails GOP Rivals, Takes Swipes At Clinton”
- Top Romney aid claims to be “’special ops’ employee who toils in the ‘underbelly of politics.’”
- Boivie to Romney: “spend less money and keep quiet”
- NYT: Romney sees sharp decline in donations
- Willard Milton Romney and the law of diminishing marginal returns
- Etc., etc.
Romney’s management technique is frightening. See:
- Romney: an American Diocletion writ very-very small?
- Romney’s supporters damn him even as they praise him
- Romney surrogates reach out to Libertarians with hilarious results, where a so-called Libertarian describes Romney’s management technique as “locking” experts in a room until they achieve consensus, her account of how Romney’s Massachusetts health care program came to be.
- Etc., etc.
Then there is Romney’s indecisiveness and lack of leadership. See:
- Romney lashes out at his father for indecision even as Romney himself vacillates wildly
- Romney’s fatal indecision (i): the Hamlet of YouTube
- Romney’s fatal indecision (ii): Hamlet ponders his Mormism
- Romney’s fatal indecision (iii); Romney! Develop ONE lie, and stick with it!
- Romney tests different alibis for his flip-flopping
- Etc., etc.
Conclusion: even if we set aside “ideology,” we are still left with Romney. And that is unacceptable.
Because of what Geraghty refers to as the “conservative consensus” among the remaining candidates, we could imagine ourselves voting for Giuliani, McCain etc. But we would never vote for a Romney, ever.
- Willard Milton Romney purchases influence at National Review
- National Review challenged by Movement Conservatives; the issue: Romney
- The equity sector candidate, Romney, discovers that the political right is largely for sale