This is an interesting look at a Romney Presidency. His logic makes a lot of sense to me......
Mitt Would Govern as Conservative
By: Keith Koffler
April 11, 2012 12:22 AM EDT
Conservatives shouldn’t fret about the politics of their nearly-presumptive nominee. Mitt Romney will most certainly govern as one of them. He’s guaranteed to — for the exact reason they think he won’t.
If Romney really is the political animal his detractors on the right suspect him to be, he’ll shape his presidency with a single goal: Winning a second term. To do that, he will need to make sure there is no running room on his right for someone to launch a primary challenge.
That means governing as a conservative and preempting the 2016 Rick Santorum “I Told You So Tour” or the “Ron Paul Revival.”
Because there is no worse sound for a president than the pitter-patter of a fratricide-minded opponent from the same party creeping up behind him. A primary challenge doesn’t just drain financial and emotional resources. It makes a president appear hapless and weak, unable to discipline even his own troops.
And a President Romney would not need merely to quell uprisings among his fellow Republicans. His reelection would require an enthusiastic and devoted base — excited enough to ring doorbells, amass cash and then get to the polls on his behalf.
It’s true that Romney would have to perform something of a balancing act: Stirring the imagination of conservatives, while retaining the support of the moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats he’ll need to win election in the first place.
But the recipe for this ensures that Romney will govern as a conservative.
Romney will have to appease centrists with some morsels of meat, cooked medium, to gnaw on. If he can do this while turning the economy around and reducing the deficit, he’ll probably see the moderates again on Election Day. Meanwhile, he can go about dishing raw meat to his hungry base.
The simplest way to foment rebellion within the ranks is to break promises. Just ask George H.W. Bush, who emphatically declared he wasn’t raising taxes and then went ahead and raised them anyway.
Romney has made lots of promises to conservatives. He’s doubly tethered to them because suspicions that he is a closet moderate are in his case accompanied by concern that he is a fungible flip flopper. And if he keeps his promises, as he must, his presidency will look very conservative.
To start with, Romney has promised to junk “Obamacare” if the Supreme Court doesn’t do it first — no matter that the law is modeled on the health reform measure that he crafted and signed in Massachusetts.
Reneging on this commitment would virtually guarantee a primary challenge by some conservative vowing to slay the measure — which is detested on the right and disliked by many centrists as well. Opposition to “Obamacare” is a defining issue for Republicans these days. Romney can no more fail to press for its repeal than he can suddenly express support for abortion rights.
Which brings us to Roe v. Wade. In a haunting echo of the senior Bush, Romney’s views on the issue have “evolved.” That is, he flipped.
But, again, Romney can’t flip back, without drawing observations that he has a spine of gelatin. There is no riper topic for enticing a single-issue primary opponent than abortion. Romney will likely pay an expensive price for appointing any judges who happen to find a right to privacy in the Constitution.
Romney has also said he would veto the DREAM Act, which would give permanent residency to illegal immigrants who had been in the country since childhood. He has declared that he plans on repealing the financial reform law, and would anger not only conservatives but lots of monied backers if he doesn’t try.
Romney has vowed to eliminate capital gains taxes and the estate tax. He has embraced the House Republican budget, written by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which vastly reduces spending while revamping Medicare.
Even if Romney is able to weasel out of one or two commitments, he’ll still be way over on the right.
And he’d better stay there.
The only two presidents since Herbert Hoover to lose their bid for reelection – Jimmy Carter and Bush – encountered a damaging primary challenge before confronting their general election opponent. Carter faced Sen. Edward Kennedy from the left, while Bush opened up space on his right for Patrick Buchanan.
Gerald R. Ford lost his bid to remain president following a bruising primary challenge by Ronald Reagan.
And a fourth president, Lyndon B. Johnson, announced he would not run for reelection, once it was clear he would first have to fight for the Democratic nomination against the anti-war candidate Sen. Eugene McCarthy after his strong showing in New Hampshire.
Romney’s history suggests he’s most comfortable on the right anyway.
He governed mainly as a conservative in Massachusetts. His great apostasy, the insurance purchase mandate, was viewed when he signed it in 2006 as a conservative, free-market initiative, sure to help him in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
It’s also worth noting that Romney is not just an observant congregant in a religion whose adherents generally lean conservative. He’s held local leadership positions and has contributed a great deal of money.
Romney’s instincts are conservative. Even if one of those instincts is for political self-preservation.