Brooks of the NYT suggests that Romney’s alledged conservatism is a facade to win the primaries

In a web log post titled Is David Brooks onto something? someone named PQuincy writes:

In his op-ed this Friday (behind the NYT firewall), Brooks swoons over Mitt Romney’s intelligence in private conversations, contrasting it with Romney’s public stance as a doctrinaire social conservative. He notes that the Republican primary electorate has in fact become both more conservative (self-described) and older, and suggests that Romney’s public stance is simply a matter of winning the primary. And then, Brooks slips in a aside that does make me wonder if, just maybe, he’s started to worry about the pony he’s hitched his cart to.

Here’s what he says:

“(Why do the Democratic candidates pretend to be smarter than they really are, while the Republicans pretend to be dumber?)”

Ummmm….David, maybe it’s because Democratic voters actually value intelligence in their elected leadership? … more

Aside: then why do Democrats nominate, and often elect, blithering idiots?

Quincy’s reading of Brooks is consonant with other readings; e.g. slavish Romney sycophant Jim Geraghty of the formerly conservative NRO quotes the same Brooks issuing paens to how Romney will “open up new “vista[s] of how government might operate.” See:

Romney abandons conservative line; reverts to previous line

E.J. Dionne Jr. concurs; he nearly swoons about what he describes as Romney resisting the “conservative orthodoxy.” See:

the Romney message in total flux—where is the real Romney amidst all the obfuscation and conflicting testimony?

Publicly Romney assumes the line of a doctrinaire conservative and bristles at questions about the convenient timing of his alleged “conversion.” Privately Romney confides to media figures that his conservative line is a front to win Republican primaries.

Now that the smoke of Ames has cleared and it is clear that the conservative and Evangelical base has balked at Romney’s claims and assertions (see here), what will happen next? Will Romney

(a) Dig in his heels, redouble his efforts to affect a conservative line?

or

(b) Rush to reclaim a center, center-left position?

or

(c) Are there other options?

History would predict (a). It has worked for Romney before when he shifted positions (see here). But will what worked for Romney in Massachusetts work for him in Florida or South Carolina?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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