"McCain is bad." "Therefore, Romney is good!"

If I could say anything about today's election in which I cannot vote, I would ask people simply to think before they vote. Regardless of what anyone says or thinks about McCain, I wish they would reconsider the logic of saying that because he is bad, his opponent must therefore be good.

The Anchoress (who is torn about how to vote) has the best post on the subject I have seen:

McCain is not my first or second choice, and there are some legitimate concerns about his temperament and his manner, but he also has some strengths and I am tired of opening my email to hysterics suggesting that America will end if McCain gets the nomination. I’m tired of turning on talk radio and hearing - nonstop, day after day - lecturing about what a terrible man McCain is, and why I should not vote for him.

It is significant to me that no one is telling me why I SHOULD vote for Romney. No one is telling me how great he is, and giving me a reason to want to vote for him. They’re just telling me “McCain is bad!”

So, I’m asking:

How is Romney “good?” Why should I vote for him?

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

As I've said before, I don't see much difference in the overall political positions of these two men (if we look at them over the years). But it should be remembered that issues change. Today's key issue might be forgotten tomorrow, and today's flipflop might be tomorrow's sea change in public opinion.

I think that by the standards of conservative ideologues today, both men are RINOs. The difference is that Romney "cleans up better."

This is not surprising. The fact is, Romney just looks better to begin with. As I said late last night, he looks like a gentleman. More presidential.

But I think McCain is tougher, and has a much thicker skin.

Sometimes core traits are more important than appearances.

I admit, right now I slightly prefer McCain. He wasn't my first choice, or my second choice. That could change between now and April 22, when I'm finally allowed to vote. But the anti-McCain clamor has done nothing to convince me of the merits of Romney.

Moreover, Romney himself has done little to convince me of the merits of Romney. Quite the opposite. The other day I heard Romney's interview on the Glenn and Helen podcast, and I was favorably impressed. I wanted to believe what he said, and I saw no reason not to. Then I learned that what Romney said about the assault weapons ban was a flat out lie, as it contradicted what he'd said two weeks earlier. It's one thing to change your mind on something years later, or even when you're running for office, but really.

One position for Meet the Press, and another for the blogosphere?

I know I can't read Mitt Romney's mind, but I want to ask, which of these contradictory Second Amendment positions should be given more weight? The one he gave Tim Russert, or the one he gave on the Glenn and Helen podcast? Considering that these were contemporaneous statements in terms of the campaign time frame, I suspect he would consider the statement given on national television to be more dispositive of his "true" position.

But then, why lie to Glenn and Helen? Might Romney think less of the podcast medium? Or might he think bloggers are just inherently less worthy of respect?

What does the real Mitt Romney think, and how am I to know? Bear in mind that I haven't run around and looked for Romney contradictions, prevarications, or flipflops, but I ran right into this purely by accident because I happened to hear the podcast, and naturally, I believed him, for why would he go out of his way to lie on one of the leading blog podcasts?

If I find something like this when I'm not even looking for it, naturally I'm wondering what else there might be.

I don't expect to hear about it from the people who are busily and obsessively faulting McCain, but I don't understand what that has to translate into uncritical acceptance of Romney.

MORE: Victor Davis Hanson (who prefers McCain but who would vote for Romney in the general election) is hearing from the McCain haters:

....so far today I have gotten the usual daily spam e-mail from various fringe and self-acclaimed conservative groups and personages -- variously alleging that McCain was not a real war hero, questioning his conduct during capture, commenting on his marital situation, and suggesting he was unhinged and identical to Ted Kennedy, Hillary (fill in the blanks). I think for most the level of vituperation is astounding and completely unforeseen.
This is the way to defeat McCain? Have they considered the possibility that it might backlash? Hanson worries that it's so bad that McCain supporters might sit it out:
I have no idea of whether the moderates that McCain would pick up will be outweighed by the conservatives who sit our or vote for the Democratic candidate. Nor do I have any notion of how many McCain supporters -- and this is never discussed- will be so turned off by the present assault on their candidate that they would likewise sit out if Romney won.
I think that any McCain supporters who do sit it out because of these tactics will show themselves to be RINOs.

Of course, the same can be said about Romney supporters who sit it out. If you are a member of any party and you don't vote for the party's candidate, in simple logic, you are a member of the party in name only.

What I can't figure out is what gives those who sit it out the moral right to accuse the ones who don't sit it out of being RINOs?

This Republican purity stuff sure is complicated.

But I'm so used to it that I guess I could easily go back to being an impure Democrat.

posted by Eric on 02.05.08 at 02:06 PM


What does the real Mitt Romney think

Nothing. "Make me President."

I can understand conservatives' preference for that over what McCain thinks, which appears to be something like "I hate you dumb hillbilly racist capitalist-tool white-trash stains on this great nation of mine with every inflamed red fiber of my superior being, and fuck you."

guy on internet   ·  February 5, 2008 4:38 PM

Uncritical acceptance? I have seen little of that. Anyway I prefer Romney simply because of my assumptions about how he works.

To chose an area where Romney is seen as weaker than McCain - what kind of commander-in-chief would Romney be? My guess: Romney will ask questions and be ready to revise a strategy if it doesn´t work. He will be respectful of professional opinion. He will delegate but not to the point where he loses control. He will probably tend to replace non-performing personnel and shake up non-performing institutions. Notice anything? This is exactly where Bush failed.

The war is not just fought by the military. It is vital that the next president gets the CIA and State Department under control. He must stop the leaks and get them to serve his administration and execute his policies instead of running their own foreign policy on the side. President Bush failed to do it. I would have trusted Rudy Giuliani to kick them into shape. I have no idea what McCain would do - he doesn´t have many differences with the foreign policy establishment. I think Romney would act. He would not let these bureaucracies threaten the success of his administration. This is definitely within his realm of experience. For example, he would ask why after 7 years we still have hardly any foreign language skills in the FBI and intelligence community.

With Romney we would not have wasted 2 years in Iraq just waiting for things to get better by themselves while our government departments quarrel among themselves. You get the picture. This is where Bush failed. McCain might not have failed, but I´m not ready to assume that Romney has real weaknesses here. And conservative ideology has nothing to do with it.

Then again, Romney would probably not have invaded Iraq. CEOs typically do not want to get into anything unless they can judge the outcome with some certainty. It´s not their job to take leaps of faith. This is usually a good thing. But there are war-type situations where you have to make decisons without enough data (or with bad data, as we have seen in the past) and then stick with your choice and make the best of it. My guess about Romney is that he will be a cautious and calculating decisionmaker when it comes to questions of war and diplomacy. If you very much want to have Iran bombed, you may be better off with McCain. Romney is perhaps not the type who digs in and says: This is the hill we´re ready to die on. Some will like that, some won´t.

wf   ·  February 5, 2008 5:21 PM

"I think that any McCain supporters who do sit it out because of these tactics will show themselves to be RINOs.
Of course, the same can be said about Romney supporters who sit it out. If you are a member of any party and you don't vote for the party's candidate, in simple logic, you are a member of the party in name only."

A silly statement. A RINO as used is an affront to the principles of one's party, saying one thing but doing another.

On the other-hand withholding a vote out of principle is the stuff of which this country was founded. Far better to stand on principle, than to run with the hoarding masses.

jack moss   ·  February 5, 2008 9:39 PM

Oh, Romney is not an attractive candidate.

The reason to vote for him -- the reason I'll vote for him anyway -- is to deprive John McCain of the Republican nomination.

If don't share the antipathy that I and others feel for McCain, I don't know why you would vote for Romney.

But Victor Davis Hanson is right. The die has been cast, and the damage the GOP is now sustaining is serious. No matter who the Republican nominee is, he can't win in November, because sections of the base will sit out.

Paul   ·  February 5, 2008 11:38 PM

It's simple Romney never called me bigot for wantting to control illeagal immagration.

bill   ·  February 6, 2008 8:56 AM

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