The Curious Case of Mitt Romney
If a candidate wins the most delegates in the Republican primary, and no one is excited about it, does he still get the nomination?
That is the question many conservative commentators keep asking themselves, because they don’t like the obvious answer: “Yes, of course he does.” They keep throwing it out there in the hopes someone will reply, “No, there is another. Bill Clinton has a secret, conservative son that is going to emerge a la Luke Skywalker and overthrow liberaldom!”
Conservatives pride themselves on seeing the world as it is, not as they wish it to be. It is what differentiates us from liberals. Conservatism is picking alternatives among available realities, not chasing a utopian impossibility.
Rick Perry was supposed to recite the Federalist Papers interspersed with promotions of his Texas jobs records as he stormed his way to the nomination. Instead, he couldn’t recite three cabinet agencies in between cynical criticisms of Romney’s wealth. Newt Gingrich was just so darn good at the debates that we all enthusiastically wished for him… not to be Newt Gingrich. We spent a few minutes trying to talk ourselves into Rick Santorum because… anyone but Mitt, right? We all wished Paul Ryan would run, but the man who supposedly understands better than anyone else the dire urgency of our country’s fiscal situation doesn’t have a real problem with Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate. Otherwise, he would’ve felt morally obligated to stop it from happening by entering himself. Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie likewise said no. And so on.
Then came the whispers of the supposed glory of a brokered convention. As if a few chaotic days in Tampa will do a better job of choosing a nominee than an arduous yearlong primary process. And even if this utopian nominee existed, to act on a brokered convention would be a concession to the central planning instinct of the liberal mindset. After mocking the superdelegate structure that helped push Obama to the nomination in 2008, will we also move to throw out the millions of primary votes cast and say, “we elites know better than you simpleton voters who should be our nominee!” The Republican party mirrors the Democrat party in too many ways as it is.
Heed the words of Milton Friedman:
It’s nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.
The Tea Party and this primary process have made it necessary for Mitt Romney to promise to do the right things. If Republicans gain majorities in both the House and Senate, then Paul Ryan will still be the one setting the legislative agenda, and all we’ll need from Mitt Romney is to be able to take directions from a ‘sign here’ stickie.
It’s time for us to get together and drag this stiff, out-of-touch square across the finish line. Besides, as the left keeps reminding us, the Bush dynasty really runs things, and Jeb has spoken. Need motivation? Then do what I do: Imagine the ‘thrill going up your leg’ when Obama delivers what is sure to be a graceless and condescending concession speech.
If Mitt Romney gets elected and breaks his promises by governing like the Massachusetts moderate he’s accused of being? Well, we always know we can count on at least one primary challenger in four years: Paul ’16!