This is a great piece. Baldwin makes many of the points those of us who actually studied Romney’s record have been making for years. It’s still a mystery to me why so many people who should have known better, such as Ann Coulter, ignored the mountain of evidence to the contrary and accepted Romney’s overnight transformation from "moderate with progressive views" to "severe conservative" … in his 60s. Baldwin also implies something that I’ve believed all along: Romney only wanted to be Governor of Massachusetts because he considered it a stepping stone to the presidency, and has in fact been running for president since at least 2004, likely earlier. Here are a few excerpts:
The GOP establishment and some conservative pundits, such as Ann Coulter, are in full defense mode, claiming that Romney is not responsible for losing to an incumbent responsible for perhaps the most damaging fiscal crises in our nation’s history. Don’t believe it. Romney IS responsible for wasting a billion dollars to carry out an issue-free campaign full of simple-minded platitudes. Indeed, Coulter is leading the charge with her recent column titled, Don’t Blame Romney. It’s sweet to watch Coulter defend her darling Romney, but let’s get real.
The reality is that Romney was one of the worst GOP presidential candidates in modern times. He was not the first choice of most conservative voters but he managed to rise through the ranks in the primary due to conservatives being split 4-5 ways, but also due to a slew of endorsements from conservative leaders and groups that had no business endorsing him – such as Ann Coulter. Repeatedly, Coulter assured conservatives that Romney was one of us and that he would be the “best possible candidate” to face Obama. But as any conservative from Massachusetts knew, Romney was a liberal at heart who, as Governor, led the nation in passing three of the left’s most sacred issues: Same sex marriage, Cap and Trade, and government control of health care.
But the Romney forces were clever. Beginning in 2004, they created a half dozen PACs to give money to conservative and GOP entities all over the country. I’ve reviewed these disclosures and hundreds of GOP and conservative entities benefitted from Romney’s largess. In other words, he bought the support of many “conservative leaders” and used that support to give himself “cred” among conservative voters. It was a phony image though and it’s shameful that so many conservative leaders went along with this ruse.
And why is that relevant? Well, Romney’s liberal record so compromised him that he was unable to attack Obama on a whole range of issues due to fear of Obama using his own positions from just a few years earlier to make him look like a hypocrite. Whether its Cap and Trade, ObamaCare, gun control, gays in the military, religious freedom or even illegal aliens, Romney took these issues off the table because his own record on these issues was not dissimilar to the Obama record.
Romney also ignored, for the most part, a whole pattern of Obama cronyism that permeated TARP, the stimulus program, and many government contracts. Similarly, Romney ignored the details of exactly how Obama was destroying the oil, gas and coal industries. He stuck to generalities instead of hammering on issues such as how Obama gave millions of tax dollars to Brazil to drill for oil while harassing our own oil companies to the point they ceased operations in the Gulf.
The Romney team also chose to ignore the lessons of 2010. Here we have a number of stunning congressional upsets inspired by issues such as ObamaCare and the deficit, but Romney’s campaign team acted like 2010 never occurred. The movement that drove the 2010 victories was, of course, the tea party movement, but Romney decided he wanted nothing to do with this powerful movement.
As someone who has networked with conservative activists for 35 years, I know for a fact that large segments of the tea party and Ron Paul movements did NOT vote for Romney and I also know that many evangelicals refused to support Romney as well. They knew that Romney was, deep down, a big government, socially liberal Republican and believed that electing Romney would set conservatives back decades. They believed that he would – under the mantle of “conservatism” – carry out a big government agenda instead of taking bold action to tame the deficit or get our economy growing again.
Those who’ve been reading my posts over the past three and a half years have heard most of this before, of course, but Baldwin does a great job of summarizing everything. Read his entire piece here.