Saturday, January 28, 2012

David Frum Finds a Reason to Support Mitt Romney – It’s Because Mitt Doesn’t Believe What He Says

Making Real Gold Out of Fool’s Gold –  Sorry, It Cannot Be Done

Far in advance of the 2012 Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal is throwing in the towel for Republicans.  In truth, the 2012 election will be decided by events unknown, unforeseeable and yet to happen, but for Mr. Stephens the despair of the Republican campaign has taken its toll.  He has given up on Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich.

As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis. There may be an apparent range of treatments: conventional (Romney), experimental (Gingrich), homeopathic (Paul) or prayerful (Santorum). But none will avail you in the end.

[Yes he did say "homeopathic" with respect to Mr. Paul, hopefully Mr. Santorum doesn't see that.]

The dismal of Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum is close to dead on, amazing for a Conservative partisan like Mr. Stephens

They are owed some respect, especially for the contrast between their willingness to take a stand for principle against the front-runners' willingness to say anything. But Messrs. Santorum and Paul are two tedious men, deep in conversation with some country that's not quite America, appealing to a devoted base but not beyond it. Sorry, gentlemen: You're not going anywhere.

 And Mr. Stephens almost rises to eloquence on Mr. Gingrich.

Voters instinctively prefer the idea of an entertaining Newt-Obama contest—the aspiring Caesar versus the failed Redeemer—over a dreary Mitt-Obama one. The problem is that voters also know that Gaius Gingrich is liable to deliver his prime-time speeches in purple toga while holding tight to darling Messalina's—sorry, Callista's—bejeweled fingers. A primary ballot for Mr. Gingrich is a vote for an entertaining election, not a Republican in the White House.

And his complaint with Mr. Romney is this

The usual rap on Mr. Romney is that he's robotic, but the real reason he can't gain traction with voters is that they suspect he's concealing some unnameable private doubt. Al Gore and George Bush Sr. were like that, too, and not just because they were all to the proverbial manor born. It's that they were basically hollow men.

which seems like a fair assessment.

Now David Frum is a well known Conservative Republican, a person who served in the Bush Jr. White House and wrote editorials for the Wall Street Journal.  But Mr. Frum is a somewhat serious Conservative, that is, he is intelligent and has good ideas and rational positions many times.  The following is not one of them.

I sympathize with Bret Stephens' frustration with the Republican field, I truly do. I have been wrestling with many of these same midnight doubts for a long time myself.

Yet Stephens' specific complaint about Mitt Romney seems to me if not unfair, then misplaced — or more exactly, misplaced coming from a writer for the Wall Street Journal.

So Mr. Frum does not agree with the assessment of Mr. Romney, and is it because he thinks Mr. Romney is indeed a sincere person with deeply held beliefs.  NO!! It is just the opposite.

I think it's probably true that Mitt Romney is concealing a private doubt, and it is this: Mitt Romney simply does not believe the things that must be said to be a competitive candidate for the Republican nomination. He has zero interest in being a Jon Huntsman-style martyr, so he dutifully repeats them, but he cannot bring himself to repeat them with the conviction that a Republican audience . . .

This disconnect between what Romney must say and what he probably believes weakens him as a candidate, yes. But on the positive side, his disbelief in so many of the things that he is forced to say is exactly the thing that will make him a superior president

So there it is, Mr. Romney would be a superior President because he is so good at saying things he does not believe in just to get the nomination.  So all those flip flops, all that pandering, all the fluff of the Romney campaign, those aren’t detriments, those are attributes! 

As we said, Mr. Frum is an intelligent person,  think how strong one’s imagination must be to originate that argument and think how serious one must be to say it with a straight face.

No comments:

Post a Comment