Friday, December 2, 2011

Ramesh Ponnuru makes the conservative case for Mitt Romney.

In a long endorsement of Romney in National Review (which endorsed Romney in 2008), Ponnuru argues:

Governor Romney’s political career may not reflect the ideal balance between conviction and calculation. But a presidential primary offers a choice among imperfect alternatives, not embodied ideals. Weighed against the available alternatives, Romney comes out ahead — way ahead — because he is the only one of the primary candidates with a good shot at achieving a prerequisite for advancing a conservative agenda as president: namely, actually becoming president.

Huntsman is highly unlikely to win the nomination because Republican voters divine in him a disdain for them, and return it. The others, even if they got the nomination, would be almost-certain losers in a general election. They are either too out of sync with the electorate, too personally erratic, or both.

Representative Bachmann says that President Obama is certain to lose reelection, so Republicans should feel free to nominate the candidate of their dreams, without regard to electability. The president certainly looks beatable. But writing him off is unwise. His approval numbers are weak but not disastrous, the Republican party remains unpopular, incumbency almost always carries advantages, and the composition of the electorate is likely to be much more Democratic than it was in 2010. If the bottom drops out of the economy, perhaps as a result of Europe’s disorders, then maybe even Gingrich or Perry could win the race. But the stakes are too high for that kind of gamble.

Even if one of them did win the White House, what we have seen of their campaigns suggests that his presidency would be a bumpy ride. In Perry’s case, the problem would be an apparent unfamiliarity with national issues that looks good only in comparison with Herman Cain’s proud ignorance. Gingrich, meanwhile, is a constant reminder that political leaders can have too much, as well as too little, imagination. His recent proposals on immigration are classic Gingrich: innovative-sounding, accompanied by high-tech gadgetry, and wholly absurd. Local community boards will decide which illegal immigrants to expel! We will be “humane,” while denying temporary workers the vote and stripping their children of citizenship!

The last time Gingrich held office, he reached a depth of unpopularity that suggested that the public did not merely disagree with his policies but disliked him as a person. . . .

There is another issue with Gingrich, the broaching of which risks cruelty but cannot be avoided in the cold analysis Republicans have to perform. We don’t know whether Gingrich’s marital history will weigh heavily on voters, but we know it won’t help. The contrast to President Obama’s family will tell against him. Gingrich’s election would represent several firsts. He would be the first president with multiple ex-wives, and the first president with any ex-wives who speak negatively about him on the record. He would bring with him the first first lady who could be labeled a “home wrecker.” . . .

[Romney is] reasonable, articulate — phenomenally articulate, by the standards of recent Republican presidential candidates — and reassuring.

10 comments:

Jason (the commenter) said...

he is the only one of the primary candidates with a good shot at achieving a prerequisite for advancing a conservative agenda as president: namely, actually becoming president.

That's the only thing people ever seem to say as to why we should support Romney. It's a statement which doesn't get any truer the more people say it, but does get less convincing, to the point of being laughable.

It's no wonder so many are looking at other options.

John Althouse Cohen said...

So who do you think is the better option?

Jason (the commenter) said...

I've been for Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Romney, and now Newt.

I think Newt is a flip-flopper who has had liberal positions in the past, and is also a political insider. All of this makes him equal to Romney. But Newt has the advantage of being able to handle himself well in debates and produce sound bites, which puts him ahead. He has also demonstrated the ability to get people who dislike him to change their minds.

Romney's idea of running on how presidential he looks isn't going to work. Not when there are plenty of clips of him appearing unpresidential. Not when you can say "most presidential" means "most white". And not when he presents bumbling, out of touch ideas.

What's Romney's current slogan?

"I spent my career in the private sector."

That's not only unimpressive, it's a lie!

John Althouse Cohen said...

I am shocked, shocked that a presidential candidate would stretch the truth in the middle of a campaign.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I'm shocked that he does it so poorly. And he PLANS to say these things half the time. They get through all of his advisers and meet with his approval.

Canuck said...

I don't understand why Republicans are having such a problem with Romney.

At first I thought it was the primary election fun of flirting with multiple candidates. I still think there's a good chance the primary process will elect Romeny as the winner, but it's getting odd. Such a large portion of the base is dissatisfied with Romney.

I don't understand the flirtation with Gingrich. I can understand how people enjoy listening to him in the debates.

But don't people see that a lot of woman are not going to vote for him on the basis of his history? Men are much more inclined to forgive the 3 marriages. Women are much less forgiving. Stay-at-home moms risk their economic futures when they raise children rather then pursue their careers. A unspoken fear is the fear of the spouse leaving for a newer, younger version. Gingrich did this twice.

He not only divorced two wives, he cheated on them during the marriage. His new wife slept with him while he was married. His adultery is going to be talked about in the general and it will not help his electoral chances.

I understand he sees himself as undergoing a moral and spiritual conversion. But I don't think a large portion of American women will buy it. They will most likely see it as convenient, because he's with the blonder, younger, childless, newer wife. If he had gotten back together with his first or second wife, maybe this would fly.

Then again, it would be an interesting general election. Gingrich is fun in the debates. Canadian politics are boring in comparison to American elections!

Jason (the commenter) said...

Canuck: I don't understand why Republicans are having such a problem with Romney.

The feeling is mutual. Romney gives the impression he doesn't like lots of Republicans, in particular social conservatives and Tea Partiers. Even more than that, he purposefully tries distancing himself from them. It's no surprise they notice.

(Maybe he wants our votes, but he doesn't want to be seen with us afterwards.)

But don't people see that a lot of woman are not going to vote for him on the basis of his history?

All of the candidates have something which will make a lot of people not vote for them. This year family values haven't been a big topic, look at Santorum's poll numbers if you don't believe me.

Canuck said...

I hadn't realized that Romney was coming across as not liking Tea Partiers. That's very interesting, and the response makes more sense to me now.

"All of the candidates have something which will make a lot of people not vote for them. This year family values haven't been a big topic, look at Santorum's poll numbers if you don't believe me."

Oh, yeah - I agree. The next election about the US is going to be about the economy. But I'm not talking about social issues, or the judges Gingrich would appoint.

In the general a bunch of people will vote on whether they like the person. Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are going to be critical states. I'm thinking about the thousands of women who will tune in not during the primaries, but during the election. A lot of people are low information voters.

Many people need to like the man they vote for.

Due to the economy, anything is possible in the election. Gingrich could win. But I think the serial adultery would hurt Gingrich in the general. It might hurt enough that he could loose Ohio/ Pennsylvania/ Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

Canuck

Kay, that's kind of ironic-a Canadian might have trouble with that....

It's the health care.

Romney created a healthcare mandate in Massachusetts.

In the Brett Baier interview-he asserted that he did what was right for Massachusetts. And, he will stand by that -that he Romney did what was right even if it means losing the primary.

So he has now made that his own personal hill to die on.

Massachusetts now "enjoys" the highest state debt per capita in the nation.

Why?

RomneyCare.

That kind of arrogance is reminiscent of Obama.

And, finally when is that last time Conservatives and/or republicans protested en masse in D.C.?

What was that supposedly about?

Romney has decided to hang the albatross of mandated healthcare around everyone's neck if we go into the general with him-and it's because of Romney's sheer vanity.

He can't simply admit-he might have been wrong.

This kind of people are impossible to deal with-they don't see lying as a problem because they lie to themselves.

I think almost all of us here know a person like that...

Anonymous said...

*These* kind of people...