Categorized | Opinion

George Will: Mitt Romney Could Cost Republicans the Senate

This is significant.  Even George Will, the dean of Washington’s establishment conservative punditocracy, is beginning to see Mitt Romney as the disaster he’d be should he be the Republican nominee in 2012. And for Will, this must be difficult since Romney, that most established of establishment candidates, is exactly the kind of guy Will would normally support: Ivy League education, the son of a former Governor, easily malleable on social issues, etc., etc.  And let’s not forget, last spring George Will decreed that Romney was only one of five potential GOP candidates worthy of consideration for the presidency:

Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

Hmmm.  With Huntsman an asterisk (at most) in recent polling, and Daniels, Barbour, and T-Paw out, that only leaves Mitt on Will’s approved candidate list.  This should be a no brainer for George Will, right?  Er…not so much anymore:

The Republican presidential dynamic — various candidates rise and recede; Mitt Romney remains at about 25 percent support — is peculiar because conservatives correctly believe that it is important to defeat Barack Obama but unimportant that Romney be president. This is not cognitive dissonance.

Obama, a floundering naif who thinks ATMs aggravate unemployment, is bewildered by a national tragedy of shattered dreams, decaying workforce skills and forgone wealth creation. Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy.


Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, from which they will receive, on average, $1 million of benefits ($550,000 from the former, $450,000 from the latter). Who expects difficult reforms from Romney, whose twists on ethanol make a policy pretzel?

A straddle is not a political philosophy; it is what you do when you do not have one. It is what Romney did when he said that using Troubled Assets Relief Program funds for the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts “was the wrong source for that funding.” Oh, so the source was the bailouts’ defect.

Will continues to outline some of Multiple Choice Mitt’s recent flip flops and androgynous ideology before making a point that I hadn’t thought of, and one that should strike fear into any conservative (myself included), who’s counting on a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate next year:

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.

I’ve made the point many times that a Romney nomination will guarantee an Obama second term, mainly for the reason Will cited: A complete lack of enthusiasm, even contempt, for Mitt Romney by those Republican activists whose energy and daily participation is essential for a Republican victory over Obama’s $1 billion campaign machine. But I always assumed that conservatives would still turn out and do everything they can to support conservative candidates in down-ballot races. While I certainly will, I’m not so sure all conservative voters share my commitment. There’s no doubt a Romney nomination will "deflate" many conservatives, some of whom will withdraw from the process.

Despite Obama’s disastrous tenure, he will be tough to beat when you take into account his enormous campaign war chest and the sycophantic mainstream media who will be there every step of the way to assist in his re-election efforts. This would be so even if the Republican base was energized, and with Romney they will be anything but. Put this all together and Will’s warning is impossible to ignore.  A Romney nomination will not only guarantee an Obama victory, but imperil Republican chances of retaking the Senate.  I don’t know about you, but the prospect of at least two more years of a Democrat Senate led by Dingy Harry is not a pleasant one.   Will closes with the following:

Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from “data” (although there is precious little to support Romney’s idea that in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is a powerful magnet for such immigrants) and who believes elections should be about (in Dukakis’s words) “competence,” not “ideology.” But what would President Romney competently do when not pondering ethanol subsidies that he forthrightly says should stop sometime before “forever”? Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?

I’d like to answer Will’s question in the negative, but that would be incorrect if Romney’s the nominee.  The fact that Will, an undeniably influential member of the Republican intelligentsia, has finally seen the light with regard to Mitt Romney is encouraging.  Better late than never, I guess. The question, though, is this: Will other members of the Republican establishment wake up in time and in sufficient numbers to prevent a Romney debacle in 2012?  At the moment, I see no reason for optimism.

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  • SonOfOriginalTed

    Duh, of course — and a lot more than that!

    If the only GOP choice is Romney (and Palin’s not goin inde), let it go to the Dems!

    • Vicki

      Romney is not the only choice. There are seven other people running. (I’m being generous, I counted Huntsman)
      SO PICK ONE!

      • JennyNoles

        Why do you people who have made your choice feel it your "duty" to come here and demand we vote for someone else.  If you have made up your mind, why are you here bothering us.  I will damn well take my time and you or noone else will tell me when or how I will vote.  Alot of people died and put up with alot of abuse for me as a woman to have the right to vote.  I am well over 21 years old, early 60’s so VICKI piss off.

    • lanahi

      No, please.  Not only would conservatives stay home on election day, allowing the liberals to take over not only the presidency, but also the House and Senate as well as state positions.  We’d be back in 2008 again, only a lot worse.

  • Rob Hart

    I’ve said it more than once here on C4P. I will not vote for Romney, period. I am done with the "hold your nose" mentality and so that is that. I will stand by Contitutional Conservative principles and vote for all other candidate offices and write in the one person who I believe can right the ship of America, Sarah Palin.

    • Ryan

      Right on, Rob! I’m sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Sarah Palin has spoiled me for the 2012 elections; no one measures up to her.

    • jack kass

      I disagree with much of what Palin says, but her supporters are really starting to make me respect her. You people actually believe in something, and you are unwilling to back down or compromise. You may disagree, but that means that you have more in common with some of us liberals than you think. I am confident that we can find a way to work together, even if we disagree.

      • John Norton

        Reply to jk …Compromise = Bending over… and yes I totally agree with your last part of your comment …that what the Gov. is all about working as a whole and Not divided…

      • exodus2011

        have you seen "The Undefeated" jack?

  • FromMinnesota

    Check out my latest Mitt cartoon at

    I posted this in the "Grizzly Fest" area as well–but it fits better here.  Sorry for the double posting.

  • AmsterdamExpat

    Very good of Will to notice. How late does one have to be to qualify for the position of pundit?

    • PhillyCon

      LOL, Am.  I was just about to post the same thing.  Yet, this guy is supposed to be some of the "smart ones" and ahead of the curve.  What a joke.

    • exodus2011


      but what is Georgie gonna advise GOP voters to do?

      Has he picked the winner? …. maybe he thinks that he can help boost

      Newt ‘$300,000 to stop FM getting investigated’ Gingrich? …. or

      Rick ‘state funds for illegals’ Perry, or

      Herman ‘I’ll tell ya once I have seen all the information’ Cain


      Keeping powder dry ….. waiting for Dec 4th …. and also other ‘unconventional events’ to transpire …..

      Still, expecting the unexpected ….

      • Kalena

        What is going on December 4th?

        • exodus2011

          Dec 4th is the day "exactly 30 days before the Iowa Caucuses" (currently scheduled Jan 3rd), and so is the day that Stephen Bannon said he would drop his ‘bombshell’ of a project

    • mark1955

      Will isn’t clueless, or late to the discussion as far as MITTEN’S is concerned.As a matter-of- fact,he might even be a little to early.Will and the rest of the establishment are conducting a little "theatre" and he is trying to make MITTEN’S seem inevitable,even though Romney hasn’t won a darn thing yet.He is simply "feigning" dissapointment.Will WANT’S MITTEN’S,as do the rest of the elitist, precisely because there is a good chance he’ll lose to Obama, so Jeb can be President in 2016.As i said above,Will might be a little to early,because he deliberately assumes Romney is going to be the nominee, even though not one vote has been cast yet.What these RINO’S don’t understand is,we’ve caught onto their game and are going to do everything in our power to make sure MITTEN’S isn’t the nominee!

  • polarfan

    This guy is a bigtime elite a..hole however, here he’s right on!

    With Romneycare as the nominee we’ll not win back the presidency nor the senate and probably will lose the house.

    Thank you GOP Elite.. 

  • HuntingMoose

    in 2008, pre-palin, I could not understand people who did not care to vote for RINO MCCain because of My opinion of ABO

    Fast forward to 2011. I joined them

    2012. Sarah Palin Write in, on top or on bottom,

    • JennyNoles

      HuntingMoose, I bemoaned and complained about the Repubs who elected to stay home or voted for Obama also in 2008 rather than vote for McCain.  Had it not been for Gov. Palin on the ticket, I would have been tempted.  This time though, I just can’t see myself gagging and voting for the choices we have.  Without her I don’t see any brightness or hope to help get out of the mess we are in.  At this point, I am just meandering, biding my time and being patient to see what happens next.  All my life, getting in a hurry has only brought me pain one way or another.   Hubby said that in our state, you can’t write in a name in the primaries but you can in the G.E. but that leaves it up to the electorate to choose for you so I am screwed either way because I really don’t know who my state is favoring.  It was Perry but Cain came yesterday to several cities so I don’t know if they have changed. 

      • HuntingMoose

        if you have a piece of paper to vote on, you can write-in whoever you want.

        bureaucrats may invalidate your vote but then they clearly violate voter-intend (heck, this is not a hanging chat and anyone with a 1-brain cell know what your voter intend was if you write it down (and not mark anyone else obviously).

        to me it is no longer a matter that ‘my vote count’ but my personal knowledge I voted for the right person.

        • lanahi

          If you void your ballot with a write-in, it wouldn’t do much good for the conservative down ticket from the top position.  Be certain to make sure a write-in will not void your ballot in your state; if it does, leave the top slot blank.  The down-ticket candidates need your vote!

          • HuntingMoose

            if you read any of my posts today, you should have noticed a little change, a little ‘a’

            the refinement of my voting pledge is

            ‘I will vote for ***a*** Sarah Palin, write-in, top or bottom’

            and also, I will apply it to everything I can vote for. State and local, whatever pseudonym she will be running under

  • BostonBruin

    Just got a letter in the mail today from Sen. Scott Brown asking for money. Where’s my red sharpie? Will write: "Endorse Romney = No Money".

    Sen. Brown is likely to be a GOP casualty if Romney is the nominee.


      Brown or a dem, what is the actual difference? 

      • BostonBruin

        Sen. Brown would be a lot better than the leading Dem candidate Elizabeth Warren who would do whatever Harry Reid says. Brown is not being challenged in the primary.

        I would certainly vote for Brown in the general election, but no money. He is somewhat more conservative than Snowe/Collins, but not by much.

      • $8196935

        I have heard the Democrat, Warrren who is running against Scott Brown.
        She is not just a Liberal Democrat but a neo Marxist..
        She makes Scott Brown look like a 100% Conservative.
        At least Scott votes a majority of the time correctly.

    • blueniner

      With Brown running its a fool me once fool me twice, or damned if you do damned if you dont, the man is running against" Madame Mayhem", I dont live in Mass. but I contributed to Brown several times on his last run, because that was the begining of trying to get back what Obama was taking away from us. Is there any REAL Conservatives running for that seat?

  • Vicki

    Well, this is a fantastic article. But my question would be "What is C4P doing to see that Romney doesn’t get the nomination?" The moderators could take this site in a direction of vetting the other candidates and getting behind the most Cuda Approved candidate, but NO, instead it will keep the flame burning that Gov Palin is either scheming some sort of behind the scenes coup or that if we all sit around and don’t coalesce, there will be a brokered convention.
    Seems like a recipe for disaster to me. The conservative movement is in disarray. They can’t settle on anyone.
    The cycle of these candidates has been about 4 weeks. I’d say if Cain is able to stay on top for the month of November, we’d better get behind him. My preference is Gingrich because I’m tired of amatures in the White House. But we’d better choose up a side and get on it.


      Sounds like a plan to me.

    • BrianT51

      So now we’re going to let polls determine who we vote for??  Experience, accomplishments,  a proven record mean nothing??

      I’m simply amazed that Conservatives are following the paths of Dems in ’08 when they supported a smooth talking candidate with no political accomplishments who will require on-the-job training.  Mr. Cain still can’t figure out his abortion position, has no substance on foreign policy, wants to impose a new Fed sales tax and people are still serious about supporting him for Pres?  Let’s be honest, I know everyone likes to be PC these days, but if Mr. Cain was white no one would take him seriously with his resume.



  • technopeasant

    As I suggested yesterday, I cannot understand why conservatives do NOT unite and use their electoral clout to boycott the GOP primary process which is "rigged" in Romney’s favor by the party hierarchy or at least draw a line in the sand and devote the resources of the entire conservative movement behind one conservative standard-bearer

    Instead conservatives appear hell-bent or on the brink of making two terrible decisions:

    a) Participating in the GOP primary process AND

    b) Splintering their votes over several different conservatives facilitating Romney coming up the middle and legitimizing his victory.

    • HuntingMoose

      my form of boycott is to write-in Sarah Palin. Not showing up is not as powerful since it may as well be you-are-one-of-the-other-50%-who-wont-vote-anyhow

      write-in won’t make a difference for them but it makes a difference for me.

    • Laddie_Blah_Blah

      I cannot understand why every conservative should not write in the name of Sarah Palin in both the primary and general elections. Boycotting a process is liable to be interpreted as disinterest or even tacit approval. Writing in Sarah’s name leaves no doubt as to the feelings of the voter casting that ballot.

      Send them a real message. Write in Sarah’s name.


    If the GOP establishment insures Mittens wins the nomination, then they can get him elected in the general without my vote, for I will be writing in one Sarah Palin.

    • Aitch748

      Indeed, if Mittens gets the nomination, why support him over Obama?

      I’ve long suspected that the GOP had grown comfortable with the Democrats being scary and crazy so they could scare us conservatives into supporting them. Well, we held our noses and supported the GOP in 2008, and too many in the "chattering class" portion of the GOP decided to support Obama. If they can do that, then they shouldn’t expect to be able to frighten us into supporting them anymore with "this is the most important vote in our lifetimes", i.e., "vote for us or the Commie gets elected."

      I like the idea of registering a protest vote by writing in Sarah Palin even if she’s not running.

      • concernedpatriot1

        While I do not like Romney and absolutely will not vote for him in the primary I cannot write someone in. There is too much to lose with four more years of Obama. I agree we should pick a conservative candidate though and not Mitt. Palin is awesome. Too bad she’s not running. I was getting excited about Cain, but this sexual harassment thing could derail him. I still think its Cain 2012.

  • Emerson_C

    Alexis De’Tocqueville envisaged the political trajectory of the Federal Government as growing inexorably into an ‘immense and tutoraly power’, ‘absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild’.
    I ask the question: what difference would the re-election of Obama or the election of Mitt Romney make to this trajectory of despotism.  in my opinion, Obama would hasten the process, while Romney would merely slow it down.  Neither would change that trajectory.  Obama knows what he is doing.  Romney just does not get it.  Neither does the GOP elite which is suffering from a collossal failure of imagination;( just listen to Karl Rove).
    So, if America really needs a conservative restoration, which outcome would be best–long-term–an Obama re-election or a Romney victory?  I know this might sound risky, but it might well be that, just as Obama’s first two year partially awakened the American people to their predicament, may it requires more of the same to bring them fully to their senses.  A defeat of the GOP establishment candiate would also administer a fatal blow to that establishment.  Focus then on 2016!

  • Bhconservative

    Election math: If everyone who wanted Obama out of the White House and everyone who was dissatisfied with the current GOP Presidential field wrote in  Gov.Sarah Palin…she would win in a landslide. I’m just saying. 

    Can you really vote one more time for the "least disgusting GOP candidate"? It looks like we may have to.

    Ok, now if its not Gov.Palin, we only have one good option. Go with what we see has worked, elect a Congress and a Senate like the Texas Legislature, Elect Perry as Potus and let the USA become more like the State of Texas (low taxes, business friendly, lawsuit unfriendly, drill for oil and natural gas, job creation) He’s not perfect, but he doesn’t have to be.

    Depressing, but far better than what we have now! 

    • f4planecapt

      You go ahead and vote for the RINO you love so much, And as you all hug your illegal alien student who goes to school for free, just remember how many AMERICAN kids won’t be able to get to college thanks to the invaders and their accomplace PERRY. Go ahead do it! Oh and if your going to vote for that lib perry, take the word consevative off your byline.

  • misterlogic0013

    I know call me crazy…..but…..I will not vote for the Mitt….I can’t do it….Sarah are you listening ? You have brought us this far..Get in…….Soon…….

  • Craig

    I’ve had it with these "conservative" columnists.  I used to respect Will and Krauthammer, but they are partly to blame for the mess we are in..  if they had only been slightly supportive of Gov Palin in 2008 we might not have the mess we have now.   And don’t get me started on Noonan or that witch K Parker (who actually had the gall to write about how brave P Ryan was to talk about crony capitalism this week).   These jerks (with the possible exception of Krauthammer) lost all credibility in 2008 with the fawning over how "smart" and wonderful Obama was…….   They aren’t conservative…… they are "smarter than thou" smug SOBs that just feed off the business as usual big government bureaucracy

    • johnfromcanada

      Right on!

    • Laddie_Blah_Blah

      They are as much of a problem as the apparatchiks at the RNC. Between them, they are alienating the grass roots for the sake of currying favor with the establishment incompetents who created the mess, but who can’t figure out how to get clean it up.

  • imo123

    I’m not voting for Romney.  Wouldn’t vote for him last time either and I know I’m not alone in that because he wasn’t the nominee last time!

    Why people think he’s a winner I really don’t know.


  • mainelysteve

    Since the best candidate is not in the race, this will be a case of hold your nose and pick someone and then support whoever gets nominated. Obama has to GO!

  • Laddie_Blah_Blah

    I think Will is wrong about the Senate. On the contrary, conservatives are so afraid of a 2nd term for Binkie, that they are more likely to do all they can to ensure a GOP Senate as well as a GOP House. And the Tea Party will vote for the most reliable conservative in the primary, and for the GOP candidate in the general.

    Those who are repelled by both Binkie and the human wind sock will write in the name of Sarah Palin. At least, I will.

    If that buffoon Will had the least concern for the nation, he would have come out four square for Sarah when it might have made a difference. So he finally woke up. Big deal. He remains as contemptible and as self-important as ever.

  • Guest

    I would no more vote for Romney than I would a Scientology person. Both worship a mortal man, not Jesus Christ our eternal Savior.

    • James Knauer

      Speak for yourself.  My savior is me.

  • mkp03

    George Will said that only Barack Obama, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels will be president in 2012….well, I hope he continues to be wrong.

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