Yes, Romney Was the Problem

Yes, Romney Was the Problem

By Steve Baldwin - November 27, 2012

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.

As a result, Romney’s liberal record on taxes (yes, he taxed the corporate world in Massachusetts), Cap and Trade (first in the nation!), gay marriage, gay rights, quotas, gun control, immigration, etc, etc. was little known outside of Massachusetts because many of America’s leading conservatives decided to portray him as someone he wasn’t. Even a number of prominent right to life and national pro-family groups and leaders made a decision to remake Romney as a conservative even though they knew he was not. I should know; I briefed many of them about Romney’s record. Had the conservative leadership told the truth about Romney’s record as Governor, it’s likely he wouldn’t have won the GOP nomination.

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.

Coulter goes even so far as to claim Romney lost because “he was too conservative” on immigration issues. What? Romney never even hit Obama on his unconstitutional action to grant amnesty to two million illegal aliens because, as governor, he endorsed McCain’s amnesty legislation. Indeed, despite his phony attacks on Gov. Rick Perry’s immigration record during the GOP primary, Romney’s actual record on immigration was quite liberal. 

The fact is liberal Republicans do not win presidential races. The obvious reason for this is that RINOs do not offer much of a contrast to a Democrat, or at least a contrast so weak it does not motivate voters to support them. You would think we would have learned this lesson from the McCain and Dole debacles. To make things worse, Romney even agreed with Obama on numerous occasions during the debates, missing great opportunities to instead attack the president. With the economy collapsing all around us, voters were simply not looking for Obama-light.

Moreover, Romney’s strategy of looking presidential but saying nothing controversial was an asinine strategy. All one has to do is watch the old Reagan/Carter debates to see how Reagan strived to showed contrast with Carter at every opportunity. While Reagan was always civil in the way he stated things, he tore Carter’s head off every chance he got.

The list of explosive issues ignored by Romney goes far beyond those that Romney himself was weak on. Take, for example, the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals, both of which involved the deaths of Americans and a subsequent cover-up by this administration. The latter scandal, especially, was ripe for Romney to exploit, given the new evidence that Obama refused to assist Americans under attack and then lied to the American public about the reason for the attack. This is an impeachable offense but Romney chose to ignore this issue altogether.

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. 

Ditto for the Ron Paul movement. It was outrageous how the Romney team refused to sit a number of pro-Ron Paul state delegations at the convention, all because they didn’t want Ron Paul to be nominated so that Romney could enjoy an unanimous nomination. The stupidity of this move was astounding. Romney already had the votes to win the nomination overwhelmingly but his team was so fixated on the appearance of a perfect nominating convention that they decided to disenfranchise the entire Ron Paul movement. Romney lost tens of thousands of Ron Paul supporters for that action alone.

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.

We can debate until we’re blue in the face about such a stance, but I believe their fears are legitimate and that their motives are sincere. They had many solid reasons to feel this way – Romney’s actual record being Exhibit #1.

This election was a turning point in American history and undecided voters were looking for new leadership but Romney’s history of flip-flopping on over 30 different issues didn’t give them the confidence they were looking for. Romney was a liberal Republican pretending to be a conservative and that phoniness was detected by the voters. So yes, Ms. Coulter, Romney does share much of the blame. And so do you. 

Steve Baldwin is a 35-year veteran of the conservative movement. He is the author of From Crayons to Condoms, the former executive director of Young Americans for Freedom, the former executive director of the Council for National Policy and a former California state legislator.

This piece first appeared on RightWingNews.

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