A point that I’ve long wanted to touch upon, just haven’t had the chance to write it up: Mitt Romney is the embodiment of the conservative principles that the Tea Party so passionately advocates.
A few months ago I expressed the estrangement I felt as a ground-level activist in the Tea Party. Supposed leaders of the Tea Party were coming out against a former Governor I had long admired: Mitt Romney. I was befuddled by this because, knowing his record, I had always considered Mitt Romney a perfect example of what I would want in my leaders — a problem solver who has respect for taxpayer dinero and looks out for the interests of businesses, large and small; an advocate for free-market enterprise and capitalism.
At the rallies I attend, Mitt Romney’s name is often floated as the man with competence enough to take down the Obama machine. Why, then, are ‘leaders’ of this group disparaging a good man’s efforts to make this country great again? I say to them as a fellow Tea-partier: “you do not represent me, nor are you my leaders.” I joined the movement with the understanding that there was no single voice for the Tea Party — that as individuals, we had our own voices, which were to be heard loud and clear through the corridors of Capitol Hill.
The best write-up I’ve seen on this matter comes hot-off-the-press today from Braden at BlogCritics.org: Dear Tea Party, Mitt Romney is Your Friend
Braden dissects Mitt Romney’s record and explains why, in fact, Mitt Romney was a Tea-partier before the Tea Party was cool.
Based on issues alone, it would be logical to conclude that Mitt Romney is in agreement with the vast majority of Tea Party principles. He balanced the budget for four consecutive years in a blue state without raising taxes. Isn’t that what the TEA in Tea Party stands for, Taxed Enough Already? The very premise of the Tea Party movement is in accordance with Romney’s record.
On Massachusetts Health Care:
RomneyCare, signed into law by Romney in 2006, is a state-based healthcare plan with striking similarities to ObamaCare. However, unlike ObamaCare, RomneyCare did not raise taxes. But the bigger and more important difference is that RomneyCare was a state program and not a federal one. If states’ rights and federalism are truly important to the Tea Party, they would readily recognize this distinction. And on top of all this, Romney has consistently voiced his support for the repeal of ObamaCare.
On Abortion “Flip-Flop”:
Well, considering that he flipped (not flopped) his position to pro-life, wouldn’t that mean that the majority of the Tea Party should agree with him now? Changing positions on the issue of life isn’t uncommon in either party. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Gore became pro-choice after previously being pro-life. Republicans like George H.W. Bush, Henry Hyde, and some would even say Ronald Reagan each had somewhat pro-choice pasts before becoming pro-life. And besides, it would be difficult for the Tea Party to claim success with a pro-choice candidate like Scott Brown while pointing the finger at Romney.
On Mitt Romney’s Mormon Religion:
True, Romney’s Mormon faith may be outside of the mainstream and considered unusual at best by some evangelicals. But by and large, basic Mormon values and morality are essentially identical to those of evangelical voters. Aside from doctrinal differences, what legitimate political problem would they have with a Mormon president?
Summary: Mitt Romney’s Recent Efforts for the Conservative Movement
He has also written op-eds expressing dissatisfaction with Obama’s policies. These articles should naturally curry favor among conservatives of all stripes who would like to unseat Obama in 2012.
Furthermore, Romney consistently polls ahead of or in a dead heat with Obama. He also garners more support among independents than other Republicans; and in some cases, he fares better than Obama does among that demographic.
If the Tea Party is interested in winning against Obama in 2012, perhaps they should give Romney another look. A united coalition of conservatives behind a candidate like him would be devastating to Obama.
Frankly, there’s little reason for the Tea Party to find dissatisfaction with Romney. I suppose a fondness for candidates outside of the so-called “establishment” would cause the Tea Party to lean against Romney. But until a candidate of his stature rises outside of the establishment with comparable credentials, Romney deserves a chance among those in the Tea Party movement. So to those who are afraid of the big bad Romney, remember that he is an ally and not an enemy.