Everywhere I turn the news and media are calling Mitt Romney the “presumptive nominee” or the “de facto Republican presidential candidate”. They fail to recognize that even by the generous delegate estimates given by the AP and CBS Romney has to gain nearly 500 more delegates to get to the nomination. Add to this fact that the estimates these “journalist” organizations are touting are just that… estimates. Romney may not actually have the totals the news media is spewing across the airwaves and Internet. Conservatives are still unsatisfied with his candidacy and are fighting to keep him from the nomination. Look at the surprising results of Colorado where Paul and Santorum delegates came together on a “Conservative Unity Slate”. This slate actually gave Romney fewer delegates than his campaign and the media were expecting. I then ask, how many more of these state conventions will go the conservative way to fight against the Romney candidacy compromise.
Regardless of whether you are a Ron Paul, Santorum, or Gingrich fan, regardless of whether you’re an old republican or new, regardless of whether you want the tax rate at 15% or 30% there is a very important idea that we as republicans (and more importantly conservatives) need to consider. Giving up the fight to Romney in the 2012 GOP primary means one of two things for conservatives. If Romney loses (which is a real possibility) we will be stuck with Obama for four more years and the conservative movement will need to fight the big-government, socialist-leaning policies from the house and senate. This is an option that most republicans fear deeply and their fear has motivated what I call “the Romney compromise” moving the Republican Party away from conservative values and towards a moderate representative that supposedly “can beat Obama”. Don’t forget, there is a very real possibility that Romney cannot beat Obama and compromising our values in the primary will be all for not. However, for true conservatives and for the conservative movement, there just may be a worse scenario.
The second possibility is that Romney wins the nomination and republicans get what they’re asking for… a Romney victory against Obama in November. This result, in my estimation, could potentially be far worse for the cause of liberty and constitutional conservation. I know many of you may be gasping right about now… The fear that motivates us to hate an Obama administration clearly causes us to lose much of our rationality, but I would ask that you consider the twelve-year conservative compromise; a compromise that could easily turn into sixteen years (or more). Romney is president for 4 years, then 4 more years, then his vice president becomes the nominee as George H.W. Bush did in 1992, assuming a loss in 2024 to the democrats we’re looking at twelve very long years of “conservatives” governing not as conservatives but big-government advocates in republican garb.
What happens to the conservative movement if Romney beats Obama and governs like his moderate Republican record or he governs like the big-government republican George W. Bush? The part brand “republican” will again be pushed deeper into the new “conservative” definition of big-government, big-spending corporatism and the honestly conservative movement will be left with the faint memories of Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan. Romney is not a conservative and we need to swallow the coarse pill of reality that teaches us that regardless of his rhetoric now, he will move towards “the center” during the general election and will likely continue the big government ideas that have driven us to a $16.4 trillion dollar debt by years end. He is already throwing out ideas like eliminating the property tax deduction and second home mortgage interest deductions and is now changing his tune on immigration. Romney laid the blueprint for Obamacare and supported a personal mandate, he supported abortion, and he said in the debates that he would have signed the NDAA as written. In fact in recent national polls Romney loses to Obama by double digits on the issues of Healthcare and National Security two areas where republicans are supposed to be strong.
If Romney wins this primary and then the presidency, the conservative movement will be trapped for up to twelve years. Romney will represent republicans in November, he will represent republicans in 2016, and his VP selection will represent republicans in 2020 (three election cycles or twelve-years). For the long-term, the conservative movement will be in a holding pattern and the likelihood that we regain the capitalist, free America platform we “Reagan conservatives” firmly believe in at our core will be diminished greatly. The alternative to this holding pattern is another democrat administration of one form or another meaning this pattern could easily drag out to sixteen or even twenty years of anti-conservatism.
My point is not that republicans should support Obama in November, or that we should look to a third party alternative. However, conservative republicans do need to support a conservative alternative this primary season, regardless if we win or lose. Conservatives cannot give up the fight this early. We must continue to vote for conservative ideas to hold Romney to a truly conservative platform of smaller government, less spending, and individual freedom. Our best chance is a healthy debate within the party all the way up to and including the convention in August. From a Christian perspective I liken this debate process to the idea that judgment begins in the house of God, that we need to judge ourselves and look inward, and that a refining fire results in beautiful positive change.
As you vote in the remaining primaries, I ask you to consider the twelve-year conservative compromise. I ask you to not concede your values or principles, and I ask you to vote your conscience. Evaluate the candidates not on the assumptions of the media pundits, not on the candidate’s empty rhetoric, but on their records and platform.
For this republican primary if I had my druthers I’d ask you to take another long hard look at Dr. Ron Paul, but if you’re unwilling to do that, then I ask you to look anywhere but the Romney compromise.