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:

  1. All of the Republican candidates have issues with the conservative orthodoxy
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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:

Romney’s management technique is frightening. See:

Then there is Romney’s indecisiveness and lack of leadership. See:

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.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S.: See:

 

 

 

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