Romney continues negative attacks on Giuliani; other candidates focus their fire on Romney—Romney has yet to address the question “why do they hate us”
“Mitt Romney is amping up the argument that he — not Rudy — is the Republican who’s truly electable. His campaign just blasted out the following just moments ago,” writes Greg Sargent in a shamelessly pro-Romney TMP ElectionCentral post titled, preposterously, Romney: Forget Rudy — I’m The Real Electable Republican
Willard Milton Romney: STRATEGY FOR A STRONGER AMERICA: THE THREE-LEGGED REPUBLICAN STOOL
“I believe that to win the White House that our candidate has to be somebody who can represent and speak for all three legs of the conservative stool or conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan put together — social conservatives, economic conservatives and defense conservatives.” — Governor Romney
Of course, as Jonathan Martin points out, Rudy is presenting a three-legged stool of his own: National security conservatism, economic conservatism, and in place of social conservatism, Hillary-bashing, that is to say, Rudy’s claim that only he can slay her.
So what Romney’s doing with the above argument is to try to undercut not one, but two of Rudy’s campaign rationales. First, Romney’s trying to dilute the importance of national security issues as a primary driver of GOP Primary voters. And second, he’s simultaneously undercutting Rudy’s I’m-electable-against-Hillary claim by saying that only someone who meets all of these three conservative thresholds can assemble the coalition necessary to get elected President as a Republican … etc., etc.
Romney’s tired furniture metaphor aside, most agree that “conservatism has lots its coherence”; regard:
“But the base is not so happy right now,” writes eye in an eyeon2008.com post titled Just babies, guns, and taxes? Or more?
The party is angry because George Bush isn’t conservative enough. What does that mean? Taxes? Um, no. He cut those. A bunch. Babies? PBA. Judges. A huge number of executive orders. Probably not that. Guns? Well, he let the Assault Weapons Ban expire. Probably not the problem there. What are the problems? Spending. Immigration. Campaign finance reform. Etc.
When someone can count the conservative principles on one hand, I will know what it means to be conservative again. We aren’t there. We need new ideas. Some of that is a reorganization of our existing ideas. Some of it is new stuff. Time to start working … etc., etc.
This is especially true in light of the Romney Question—in light of a “suddenly conservative” super-rich person and his hireling dilettanti—a man who claims to have redefined conservatism in advance of any movement by the movement. See:
Rubens on Romney: “Beware Candidates Trying to Purchase a Conservative Label”—NH Republicans “ought to heed the attacks” by other GOPers on Romney “by remembering the the last time a wealthy businessman spent millions of his own money in a campaign to re-define himself as a conservative”
The other GOP candidates appear to have a plan of their own to address the Romney Question. Regard:
“On the trail in South Carolina last week, Giuliani said that ‘from California to New York . . . the things that hold us together as a party are a strong national defense and a strong national economy,'” reports Jonathan Martin in a Politico blog post titled Romney’s three legs vs Rudy’s two (and a half?)
So then how does Rudy keep the GOP stool upright?
It’s becoming more obvious that Rudy’s third-leg is no issue at all, but rather something more pragmatic: electability.
As Perry Bacon smartly observes in his piece from the Palmetto State, Rudy has made Hillary-bashing, and the I-can-beat-her narrative it connotes, “the third plank of his brand of conservatism in lieu of orthodoxy on social issues.”
And if McCain and Fred keep focusing their fire on Romney instead of Rudy, he may just get away with it … etc., etc.
Let us pray that he does, as this is probably the best we can hope for at the moment.
Aside: you sort of have to wonder—are the Romneys themselves asking why it is that everyone is against them?—or: do they have the presence of mind or critical self-awareness necessary to even pose such a question? We don’t know.