Too Late the Conservative
After a long, hard year of getting pummeled from all sides, Mitt Romney finally got what he truly wanted – a conservative homecoming from high-visibility media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham. I have listened carefully to all of these opinion-makers, and I must confess that, after watching Romney closely over the past year, I am still somewhat bewildered by his recent transformation into a conservative purist.
Spend a little time watching YouTube clips of Romney from his 1994 Senate run and 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and you will see him articulate views that are far afield from his current political orthodoxy. Given what political scientists have long known about how political worldviews are hardwired in fairly early in life, it is hard to believe that a smart, accomplished individual in his early 60s could still be so ideologically malleable, for reasons other than political expediency.
In an election year when voters seem preoccupied with candidate authenticity, Romney was unable to clear this significant hurdle to the nomination. The extremely late coalescing of conservative elites around Romney speaks more of desperation in the face of certain McCain victory, than it does of Romney’s campaign somehow finally hitting its stride. Romney has of course left the door open for a return in 2012, should John McCain lose in November. Perhaps he would return as a more moderate, pro-business Republican, but given his by-the-book withdrawal speech at CPAC yesterday, I wouldn’t bet on it.
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