why Romney gets no pass; none, none at all
In an article Conservatives Give Rudy Giuliani a Free Pass (Divine Comedy) for TNR online,the estimable Michelle Cottle argues:
What exactly is going on here? Sure, Mitt Romney’s Latter Day Sainthood is creeping out some of the base and so makes for an irresistible target. But what of the heavy breathing over Thompson’s Jesus credentials or, weirder still, Brownback’s–a man so ostentatiously devout I feel the urge to genuflect every time I see him on C-SPAN. The answer to this puzzle lies in who most notably is not getting tarred in this religious war: Rudy Giuliani. I mean, if Thompson’s degree of protestant zeal is of concern to a single soul, one might reasonably expect the serially unfaithful, thrice-wed, pro-gay, proudly pro-choice New Yorker–quite possibly the shabbiest Catholic in the history of the modern church–to be burned in effigy daily by the party’s wingnuts.But for now, it seems the ideologically heretical Giuliani is regarded as an entirely different animal, and so the rest of the pack is busy jockeying to be the base-friendly non-Rudy in this race. I mean, why bother picking on Giuliani’s spiritual shortcomings when America’s Mayor is already taking a beating for the full range of his noxiously liberal views on conservative websites like Redstate.com and RightWingNews.com? Best to set yourself up as the conservative alternative and hope that eventually Rudy goes the way of the once formidable, now barely conscious McCain campaign.
Unfortunately for the competition, there just aren’t that many red meat issues by which to starkly distinguish oneself from the pack. Most everyone in this group (thanks to a few strategic adjustments by Mitt in recent years) opposes abortion and gay marriage, loves guns, and cannot wait to round up America’s 12 million illegal immigrants and send them home in cattle cars. As for the war on terrorism, it’s hard to get to the right of Rudy, whose entire candidacy is based on his swaggering machismo and endless reminders that he is the Big Dog who helped New York survive 9/11. Mitt Romney took a stab at out-toughing Rudy by sharing with us his presidential dream to “double” Gitmo. But since even George W. Bush is talking about disbanding the facility, Romney’s grand plan doesn’t make him look manly so much as confused … more [Emphasis ours]
We concur for the most part. But we have a slightly different take. Why is Giuliani a “different animal?” Because we know what he is, we know where he stands. Is he conservative?—not in the sense that we are conservative, no. He is more of a moderate. Yes: He attempts to reach out to conservatives, but without compromising himself or his own positions. We also have a lot of respect for him because of his achievements as mayor and because of 9.11
Romney, by way of contrast, does not reach out to conservatives; rather: he morphs himself into one. So much so that he now presumes to speak for conservatives.
Imagine that you are an African American. Would you vote for a man who wears blackface and claims to be not just black, but blacker than you?—and, further, claims always to have been black? Imagine that you are e.g. a woman. Would you vote for the man who wears woman’s clothes and claims to have always been a woman? This is precisely the impression that Romney has on many conservatives. We have known Romney for his many years in public life as a moderate, as a “social progressive,” because that is how he governed and that his how he described himself—now, suddenly, in advance of a national election he wants to be a conservative? How does that work?
We could easily imagine voting for Giuliani.
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