I meant to start this when I awoke today. That turned out to be 2:30 AM. Only problem – I awoke to a second plugged drain flood disaster. I spent three vigorous hours mopping up. Now I’m moping. Analyzing Romney’s plusses is not something I have much energy for. But here goes:
I have little doubt that Mitt is a moderate at heart. I certainly welcomed his election as Governor of Massachusetts back when a few moderate Republicans were allowed to run in states that had no very serious GOP. His signature accomplishment was a very moderate Republican health care system, easily achieved with an overwhelming liberal democratic legislature with the aura of Teddy Kennedy back lighting the achievement.
It was a testament to his willingness to tackle a very tough issue and the eagerness of Democrats who controlled his state to run with their ball. It was genuine bipartisanship which is almost certainly impossible to imagine with Mitt as President.
Still, I give him high marks for pragmatism.
His entire 2012 presidential campaign has been marked by exceptional pragmatism. By that I mean Mitt has said whatever was necessary to stay in the race. He began by being “severely conservative” although no one believed him. He hung in through the entire nomination process by remaining the 2nd choice in state after state and waiting until his poorer and more ideological challengers faded from the scene when they could not match his deep pockets.
One major objection I have for this pragmatism is that it seemed unconnected to any real conviction. It is usual for candidates for national office to begin by appealing to the party then softening the sales pitch once nomination has been achieved. In this case Mitt Romney was given tremendous cover by his Party for an unprecedented disavowal of his early adherance to the party platform so eager are they to defeat the incumbent President.
The question this leads to is how much freedom from the platform will a President Romney be granted or how much independence from hard edged party planks will Romney display.
There are two possibilities here. Romney will be kept on a short tether or Romney will redifine what it is to be a Republican and bring the party to the center again.
The second possibility is intriguing. The party elders, the same ones Sarah Palin so harshly criticizes, would welcome a less extreme party the better to win future elections as the electorate changes. The Tea Party which took the GOP into a nose dive into extreme rhetoric has largely evaporated and a new GOP House of Representatives will be a less friendly place for ideologues like Michelle Bachman should she be reelected. A President Romney might very well prove to be another Ronald Reagan or George HW Bush.
It would be no picnic for Democrats to be sure but the way the election seems to be swinging the Senate will remain in Democratic hands denying Romney and the extreme Republicans the trifecta that could grind Democrats into the dust. For those like me who would like to see two more centrist national parties this would be most welcome.
It would come however with some drawbacks such as the ability of a new President to nominate one or two new very conservative Supreme Court Justices. This is one area that Romney would almost certainly defer to conservatives.
That’s pretty much it. Romney could be surprisingly moderate and could help move his party that direction. If he is elected that is what I would hope for. I don’t blame moderate Republicans for voting for Romney on this basis.
Unlike moderate Republicans, or whatever passes for moderate republicanism today, I’ve watched Romney change his stripes so often I don’t trust him. He won’t be as liberal as Barack Obama so Republicans have good reason to vote for him on that score alone. The trouble is that Obama has proven to be a very good moderate. Why he even implemented a moderate Republican health care plan – Mitt Romney’s.
Here are some of the best known pundits electoral guesses for today’s election.