What to expect from President Romney?

No, I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen, but at this point you’ve got to say there’s quite a reasonable chance we’ll be looking at a President Romney in 15 months.  Kevin Drum and David Frum have two very different takes on what we might expect from that.  First Drum:

Romney is a shameless panderer. He’ll do whatever you want him to do as long as you’ll promise to vote for him.

It’s not a pretty sight. But it also makes him the perfect tea party candidate. Don’t they see this? With a guy like Rick Perry, you never know. The right person whispers in his ear and suddenly he decides that he hates cancer so much that he doesn’t care about conservative principles. Cancer is more important. Do you think Mitt Romney would ever do that? No siree. He’d run that baby dispassionately through the Computron 9000 that passes for a brain and then he’d do exactly what you want him to do. Because he wants you to vote for him. So as long as you keep the pressure on, Romney will never disappoint you.

Short version: whatever Romney’s core beliefs actually are they don’t really matter as his pursuit of power will always override them.  Since power in today’s GOP means that you’ve got to have the Tea Party like you, Romney’s the perfect Tea Party candidate.  Sounds pretty logical to me.  In contrast, Frum’s take:

Of all those candidates who have run for the 2012 GOP nomination or contemplated running, Mitt Romney is the only one who has shown any degree of skepticism about the profoundly and dangerously mistaken Republican consensus…

Am I satisfied with Romney’s position on these issues? No. Do I worry that he’ll fear to deviate from party orthodoxy even after he is elected? Yes.

But I put my hope in three things: (1) Romney is not only very intelligent, but he also has demonstrated through his career a devotion to facts over ideology. (2) Romney has visibly not been caught up in the panic and rage against President Obama that has done so much to distort Republican thinking since 2009. (3) Romney has not signed up for the kind of ultra-deluded tax-cutting as solution to all ills program advocated by Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman. His unwillingness to over-commit himself during the Republican primaries signals an openness to future contingencies should he be elected president.

Slender hopes? Yes. But no other Republican offers any hope at all.

Actually, I suppose those takes aren’t that different at all.  They both agree that Romney is a shameless panderer who will do/say whatever it takes to win.  The difference is that Frum hopes that Romney will actually govern a little more reasonably than he’s been forced to do in the campaign, Drum doesn’t see that happening.  It’s all about the optimism.

I think I’m actually a little closer to Frum’s view.  I don’t actually think a President Romney would be all that much different from a President Perry, as they would both essentially be beholden to the modern Republican party that had elected them.  That said, at the margins, I think Romney has some pretty good instincts that would soften some of the worst impulses of his party.  But as Frum says, that’s “slender hopes.”  That’s why I’m hoping Perry hangs on to win the GOP primaries and alienates the general electorate with his “Fed Up” ideology.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to What to expect from President Romney?

  1. Romney is a RINO and Perry has been doing poorly in the debates. Romney is hated by the Tea Party. I see Cain rising to become the nominee.
    John Wilder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: