Romney equivocates his position with respect to Bush policies
CKR of WhirledView, A Look at World Politics & Most Everything else, provides a useful comparison of the Romney and Obama Foreign Affairs articles. (We discussed an excerpt of Romney’s article here).
CKR in a followup post develops the notion of the “negative recommendation,” which, if we read CKR correctly, is a gesture that allows the writer to position himself or herself without “promising anything” in a positive sense.
CKR’s notion of the negative recommendation underwrites a lot of the noise emitted by Romney and the Romney flaks and flatterers lately—the rhetorical turn toward criticisms of Bush management technique that can masquerade as criticisms of Bush policy, e.g.
- the critique of Homeland Security (Romney would streamline it, focus on prevention)
- acknowledging that Americans are angry about the conduct of the Iraq war (well, DUH!)
- acknowledging that the Katrina rescue and relief effort was botched (What profound moral courage!)
This allows Romney to equivocate his position with respect to the Bush presidency—to moderates and others who oppose it, he opposes it; to those who support it, he wants to correct it, extend it, improve it etc., etc. Note, for example, Romney’s studied equivocation on the Iraq War; he supports it, although he remains undecided about a pull-out; he supports the troops even as he damns the management of the operation etc.
Please note how Romney sycophant Jim Geraghty responds to Romney’s equivocal critiques: “If Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination, there’s no way he’ll let the Democrats tar him with this administration’s blunders and failures in managment.” The candidate’s alleged competence is the trope that governs these different lines of reasoning: Romney does not oppose Bush—no!—he opposes Bush’s ineffective management technique.
For our response to the competence argument please go here.
For more on Romney Rhetoric, please see
- 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