National Review Backs Romney

The leading conservative magazine in the US endorsed Mitt Romney today. As has been apparent for several years now, Romney is the consensus candidate with "in the know" conservatives. As many as two years ago, it was rumored that Bush favored Romney. The leading Republican talk show host in the country wrote a book about his candidacy. And when it was time to raise money, Mitt tapped into a Who's Who of big money Republican businesspeople to get his candidacy out of the gate.

National Review does a service to conservatives by clearly describing the strengths and weaknesses of each Republican candidate. But more importantly, they describe the impact that candidates Giuliani and Huckabee could have on the traditional Republican coalition:

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

The Republican nomination race has been and will remain between Romney and Rudy, and about keeping the pro-life, low-tax, strong national defense coalition together. Along the way, several other candidates have arrived on the scene, the most recent being Mike Huckabee. But there are neither enough social conservatives nor is Governor Huckabee a complete enough candidate to have a lasting impact. So race remains a Rudy/Romney battle.

National Review is correct in noting that Mitt Romney's candidacy has the requisite foundation to hold together the conservative coalition. He also brings formidable personal talents, and a strong business and political executive resume. He is a much more formidable, and dare I say consistent, conservative than he is given credit for being. And as I have said many times before in this space, the flip flop charge goes away as soon as he starts running against a Democrat.

For all these reasons and more, I threw my support to Romney some three years ago. Since then he has rarely disappointed. Today's National Review endorsement is a big step toward the convincing a large portion of activist conservatives that Mitt is the right man for the presidency.


Terry Cowgill

6:59 AM

I understand your enthusiasm for Mitt, but media endorsements rarely have any impact, except perhaps in a very close race.

He still needs to worry about the Christian right, which (notwithstanding some endorsements for him there) remains wary of his Mormonism.

And let's face it: it a strange religion. But so, for that matter, is Catholicism. I thought Mitt did well in his JFK speech, even if he did not reach out to agnostics like me.

That begs the question: could any presidential candidate succeed if s/he professed no belief in God. No, I would venture to say. It would cause even more controversy than being a Mormon. Who says political correctness is confined to the left?


8:37 AM

Point by point...

Media endorsements are more important at this stage of the race and particularly in an open field primary from the leading conservative publication in the country. There is no similar magazine on the left. NR is important for Romney.

The left side of the media continues to be more bigoted than Evangelicals when it comes to Romney and his religion. It isn't even close. I give you Lawrence O'Donnell this past weekend. No Evangelical has come close to spewing that kind of bigotry at any point in this campaign.

That said, there are Christian conservatives you are not comfortable with voting for a Mormon, no doubt. But not enough to make a difference in the general election. And certainly their critiques of LDS don't come close to the hate speech the left offers. (If you think that is over the top, replace "Mormon" with "Jew" the next time you read O'Donnell or others of his ilk.)

If you think Catholicism is "strange", you are pretty much saying that "religion" is strange. That may be your way of thinking, but it really isn't relevant in country where 80% of the people believe in God.

And finally, Romney did directly address people who are not religious in the speech. Read it again. The claim that he didn't was made by people who either didn't listen to the speech, or don't seem to think that their judgments are based on "reason".

Terry Cowgill

2:39 PM

What do you make of this piece in today's WSJ eddy page attacking your man and his emphasis on process and pragmatism?

Terry Cowgill


2:55 PM

It is a concern... not doubt. I addressed it from a slightly different perspective here:

Money quote:

"Finally, there are lessons for the Republican Party in this election. The most important are that ideas matter, strong leadership matters, and passion matters. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a Romney guy. But my biggest concern about his candidacy is that it lacks passion. When asked why he is running Mitt sounds like a governor, not a president. Romney would do well to go to school on Sarko. It's not about "families", or "keeping us safe", or "jobs". It's about La Patrie."

So yes... both passion and principle are important. Though I would say that Lord sets a bit of a straw man so that he can then knock it down. Principle over process is necessary, but the two are not obviously not mutually exclusive.

(WSJ sometimes seems to be in the tank for Rudy. Good for them. But read it with that in mind.)

Terry Cowgill

7:47 PM

Ah yes ... sorry, I went directly back to this post before I saw your Sarko post.

Perhaps Mitt can make up with vision for what he lacks in passion. But if he wants to be something more than he wants to do something (e.g. Bush 41), then he is in trouble.

Terry Cowgill