Romney in Seven Words
By Mark I Posted in 2008 | Fred Thompson | GOP Primaries | Mitt Romney | Principles | Republicans | South Carolina — Comments (26) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
On Wednesday, after his loss in the New Hampshire primary, Gov. Mitt Romney returned to Boston to lick his wounds and conduct a telephone fundraiser before heading off to his next must win state of Michigan. ABC Radio microphones were there and they featured an audio quote from Romney in their top of the hour news broadcasts. Romney was encouraging his phone bank volunteers with a little pep talk when he unintentionally summed up his entire campaign; ironically hitting upon the reason why he has failed to gain any traction with conservatives despite spending the most money of any Republican. ABC News Radio was contacted by telephone and confirmed the following quote from their report.
Hit the phones today make all the promises you have to, and…make sure that we get the funds that we need to keep on propelling this campaign forward with power and energy.
“Make all the promises you have to.”
That’s Romney in a nutshell. Of all the Republicans running, he alone has sought to clarify, cover, and indeed change past positions in an attempt to curry favor with conservatives. In the process, Romney has developed a reputation not as a principled conservative, but as a politician who will say almost anything and take almost any position to win votes.
This was underscored by the shift in his messaging following the Iowa caucuses, which Romney also lost. All of a sudden, after fashioning himself as the candidate of traditional conservative values, Romney became the agent of change. It was a poor attempt to model himself after a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama, and the "change" message that had carried him to victory in Iowa. Romney hoped to capture New Hampshire Republicans by emulating a liberal Illinois Democrat. “Make all the promises you have to.”
Romney has pulled out of South Carolina in order to focus on Michigan. He has pulled his television ads from the state and won’t be spending any time there until after January 15th, if at all. But Romney’s South Carolina supporters have no reason to worry. There is a principled conservative campaigning in the state all this week and next.
Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign is surging in South Carolina, helped on by his commanding performance in last night’s Republican debate. Thompson’s brand of common sense conservatism is well suited to South Carolina voters, arguably the most conservative Republicans to vote this January. Thompson knows that the way to win conservative votes is not by making promises or masking past positions. Their votes have to be earned. Thompson is doing so by issuing detailed positions rooted in conservative principles on issues South Carolinians care about; like illegal immigration, taxes, social security, and the war on terror.
Many of Romney’s supporters who are perplexed by his many positions or who feel abandoned by their candidate’s focusing on Michigan will feel right at home in Sen. Thompson’s campaign. After last night’s debate, South Carolina conservatives are taking a second look at Thompson, and many like what they see and hear. Romney’s supporters in the state should heed their candidate’s own message-of-the-week and change their allegiance to Thompson. Romney has gone home to Michigan. There is still plenty of time before the primary for South Carolina Republicans to come home to the one principled conservative candidate running.